This Perennial Land - third crops, blue earth and the road to a restorative agriculture
By Paula Westmoreland and Lansing Shepard
Restorative Agriculture...a quiet revolution on the land.
If you look at the greater Blue Earth watershed in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, you see traditional commodity agriculture…or do you?
Look more closely. Along the rivers and streams, among the nooks and crannies, a new model is emerging, one where a variety of perennial “third” crops are adding value to the two-crop system of corn and soybeans—and returning the land to ecological health.
This Perennial Land is the story of a beautiful and intensely farmed land that has been written off as a “sacrificial landscape”—a natural place ceded entirely to industrial use—even by many concerned about the environment. Through essays and photographs, the authors trace the natural and cultural history of the land, share stories of a new breed of pioneer farming with nature in mind, and a future vision of a restorative agriculture. They make a compelling case for changing what we grow in this working landscape and how and where we grow it in order to restore historic function at a landscape scale. Accompanied by a remarkable “opportunity map” it offers a rough blueprint—a conceptual starting point—for landowners, policymakers, and citizen who want a part in forging a new vision for returning health, beauty, and economic stability to corn and soybean country.