FREDERICK L. KIRSCHENMANN
Sustainability in Agriculture - Become More Profitable Today
Frederick L. Kirschenmann, a longtime national and international leader in sustainable agriculture, shares an appointment as Distinguished Fellow for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and as President of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York. He also continues to manage his family's 1,800-acre certified organic farm in south central North Dakota.
He is a professor in the ISU Department of Religion and Philosophy and holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Chicago. He has held numerous appointments, including the USDA’s National organic Standards Board and the National Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production operated by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and funded by Pew Charitable Trusts.
He served as the Leopold Center's second director from July 2000 to November 2005, when he was named a Distinguished Fellow. He joined the board of the Stone Barns Center in 2004 and was elected president in 2007. In January 2008, he assumed a half-time appointment at Stone Barns, dividing his time between Iowa and New York, to explore ways that rural and urban communities can work together to develop a more resilient, sustainable agriculture and food system.
In April 2010, the University Press of Kentucky published a book of Kirschenmann’s essays, Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: Essays from a Farmer Philosopher, that trace the evolution of his ecological and farming philosophy over the past 30 years. He has written extensively about ethics and agriculture, with articles published in a number of books and professional journals.
Kirschenmann also serves on several boards and chairs the Whiterock Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that manages a 5,000-acre conservation area in west-central Iowa. Kirschenmann helped convene and continues to be active on Agriculture of the Middle, a multi-state task force that focuses on research and markets for midsize American farms.
On his own farm he developed a diverse crop rotation that has enabled him to farm productively without synthetic inputs (fertilizers or pesticides) while simultaneously improving the health of the soil. He converted the farm to a certified organic operation in 1976, when he returned to North Dakota after his father became ill. Previously he had taught several years and was academic dean at Curry College in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1978, he helped organize North Dakota Natural Farmers that later became the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society. He helped found and for 10 years was president of Farm Verified Organic, Inc., an international private certification agency.
Kirschenmann’s farm has been featured in numerous publications including National Geographic, Business Week, Audubon, the LA Times and Gourmet magazine. In 1995 it was profiled in an award-winning video, My Father’s Garden by Miranda Smith Productions, and is still widely used as a teaching tool. Kirschenmann also has been advisor for several documentaries including American Meat and Symphony of the Soil.
Kirschenmann has been recognized widely for his work. He was one of the first 10 recipients of the James F. Beard Foundation Leadership awards in 2011 and received the 2012 Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award from Practical Farmers of Iowa. Other awards include Leader of the Year in Agriculture by Progressive Farmer, the Seventh Generation Research Award from the Center for Rural Affairs, the first Medal for Distinguished Leadership in Sustainable Agriculture from the Glynwood Center in New York, one of Plenty magazine’s Top 20 People Dedicated to Sustainability, and the National Resources Defense Council Thought Leader award.
In this Ted Talk, Dr. Kirschenmann talks briefly about sustainability.
If you want to learn from Dr. Kirschenmann and all his experience, you need to hear this interview!