RJ: OK, so organic alone isn’t the answer. Isn’t that where no-till or minimum-till farming comes in?
WJ: Those methods help deal with erosion, but as practiced today they require unacceptable levels of chemical inputs and end up eliminating biodiversity. Once again, it doesn’t offer a way out of the extractive economy and the problem of contamination.
RJ: So, where does that leave us?
WJ: Let’s go back to basics: The core of this idea is the marriage of agriculture and ecology. As Wendell [Berry] says, we need to take nature as the measure. We need to look to nature for models of how to manage ecosystems in a sustainable fashion. At the Land Institute, we think that leads to perennial polycultures. Instead of annual crops grown in monocultures on an industrial model, we are looking at perennials in mixtures, which we think can solve a number of problems regarding erosion and contamination.