Nature as Measure by Wes Jackson
The Selected Essays of Wes Jackson

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Synopsis

Wes Jackson can teach us many things about the land, soil, and conservation, but what most resonates is this: The ecosphere is self-regulating, and as often as we attempt to understand it, we are not its builders, and our manuals will often be faulty. The only responsible way to learn the nuances of the land is to study the soil and vegetation in their natural state and pass this knowledge on to future generations.

In Nature as Measure, a collection of Jackson’s essays from Altars of Unhewn Stone and Becoming Native to This Place, these ideas of land conservation and education are written from the point of view of a man who has practiced what he’s preached and proven that it is possible to partially restore much of the land that we’ve ravaged. Wes Jackson lays the foundation for a new farming economy, grounded in nature’s principles and located in dying small towns and rural communities. Exploding the tenets of industrial agriculture, Jackson seeks to integrate food production with nature in a way that sustains both.
 

About Wes Jackson

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Wes Jackson, the president of the Land Institute in Salinas, Kansas, has become an influential voice in arguing for an agriculture that is more conservative of land and water resources. Born in 1936 on a farm in Topeka, Kansas, Jackson was subsequently trained as a biologist and botanist at Kansas Wesleyan and the University of Kansas, respectively. He was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy for his work in genetics by North Carolina State University in 1967. After completing his education, Jackson established an Environmental Studies program at California State University in Sacramento, where he served as a professor until 1976. In that year, he resigned from his professorship to establish the Land Institute, where he has since applied his scientific training to the breeding of a perennial wheat and to developing sustainable agricultural techniques. Through his writing, Jackson has articulated a vision of agriculture that is not only environmentally sound, but also provides a basis for the reinvigoration of rural communities. The late Jo Berry was a popular speaker and seminar leader. Her books include How to Live with an Unbeliever, Making Your Life a Ministry, and Managing Your Life and Time. Wendell Berry The prolific poet, novelist, and essayist Wendell Berry is a fifth-generation native of north central Kentucky. Berry taught at Stanford University; traveled to Italy and France on a Guggenheim Fellowship; and taught at New York University and the University of Kentucky, Lexington, before moving to Henry County. Berry owns and operates Lanes Landing Farm, a small, hilly piece of property on the Kentucky River. He embraced full-time farming as a career, using horses and organic methods to tend the land. Harmony with nature in general, and the farming tradition in particular, is a central theme of Berry's diverse work. As a poet, Berry gained popularity within the literary community. Collected Poems, 1957-1982, was particularly well-received. Novels and short stories set in Port William, a fictional town paralleling his real-life home town of Port Royal further established his literary reputation. The Memory of Old Jack, Berry's third novel, received Chicago's Friends of American Writers Award for 1975. Berry reached his broadest audience and attained his greatest popular acclaim through his essays. The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture is a springboard for contemporary environmental concerns. In his life as well as his art, Berry has advocated a responsible, contextual relationship with individuals in a local, agrarian economy.
 
Published September 1, 2011 by Counterpoint. 248 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Sports & Outdoors, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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His sentences are simple and yet express profound thoughts: “Soil is a living organism which is larger than the life it supports…But it is itself now dying.” Very little is out of bounds in his essays, including reworking the tenets of Judo-Christian religion in “The Religious Dimension.â...

Nov 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Nature as Measure: The Select...

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