For the first half of his career, Wes Jackson was an academic. At 41, he was a tenured professor at California State University, establishing one of the first environmental studies programs in the country. And at 41, Wes Jackson decided to begin the other half of his career. He returned to his native Kansas and became a pioneer in the sustainable agriculture movement. Wes founded The Land Institute, which works to breed perennial grains that mimic the way grasses grow naturally – next to other species, and without tilling or replanting. Wes tells Majora Carter how to bring the processes of the wild to the farm.

Photo by Jety. Additional photo courtesy of


Wes directs The Land Insitute 

The Land Institute


Full-length Transcript

Majora:  You have one quote that, I swear, kind of left me a little cold: “Farming is humanities original sin.”  What do you mean by that?  

Wes: Well, let’s think what those ecosystems were like 10,000 years ago...