March 17, 2004
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.-Wes Jackson, president of the Land Institute, will speak on "A False Hypothesis: Implications for Culture and Agriculture," on Wednesday, March 24, at 4:30 p.m. in Lecture Room 4 in the Merrill Science Center at Amherst College. Jackson's talk, sponsored by the Transdisciplinary Fund and Five-College Environmental Studies Seminar, is free and open to the public.
Born on the Kansas prairie, Jackson studied biology, botany and genetics. Formerly a professor of biology at Kansas Wesleyan University, Jackson established one of the nation's first environmental studies programs at California State University, Sacramento, where he became a tenured full professor. In 1976 he returned to Kansas to found the Land Institute, which is dedicated to "natural systems agriculture," an ecological model that combines the remarkable stability of the tallgrass prairie with a grain yield comparable to annual crops.
Jackson's writings include Rooted in the Land: Essays on Community and Place (edited with William Vitek, 1996), Becoming Native to this Place (1994), and Altars of Unhewn Stone (1987). Meeting the Expectations of the Land (1984) was edited with Wendell Berry and Bruce Colman. New Roots for Agriculture (1980) outlines the basis for agricultural research at the Land Institute.
The work of the Land Institute has been featured extensively in the popular media, including The Atlantic Monthly, Audubon, "The NewsHour" on PBS and "All Things Considered" on NPR. Life magazine named Jackson one of 18 individuals it predicts will be among the 100 "most important Americans of the 20th century." Jackson is a recipient of the Pew Conservation Scholars award (1990) and a MacArthur Fellowship (1992).