In a recent article in the NY Times, Kathryn Shattuck described a festival that took place on “600 acres of pasture and test plots at the Land Institute on the outskirts of Salina, Kansas. …
“Each autumn for 34 years, during its annual Prairie Festival, this nonprofit research organization has become a Mecca of sorts for those whose passions run to sustainability, farming and feeding the world.
“For two days, Friday evening through Sunday afternoon, lectures and walking tours, interspersed with art installations and musical performances, focused on climate change, agricultural practices and what the institute’s president, Wes Jackson, called ‘getting over the hump’ in the use of carbon-based energy sources. …
“Jackson, a plant geneticist who co-founded the institute in 1976, calls the festival ‘an intellectual hootenanny,’ where ideas collide with music, art, food like bison chili, and bread and beer made from Kernza, the institute’s trademarked perennial wheatgrass.
“But the democratic casualness of the environment — listeners sprawled on hay bales, children frolicking on the hillside — belied the seriousness of purpose as college hipsters and wizened hippies shared space with revered scientists and conservationists like David Orr, an environmental studies professor at Oberlin; Fred Kirschenmann, a distinguished fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University who is also the president of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, N.Y.; and Douglas Tompkins, who has preserved more than two million acres of wilderness in Chile and Argentina.”
Read all about it here.
Photograph: Steve Hebert for the New York Times
Sleeping under the stars at the Prairie Festival
600 acres of pasture and test plots at the Land Institute on the outskirts of Salina, Kansas