Writings by Fred Kirschenmann

Fred Kirschenmann, Leopold Center Distinguished Fellow, has received international recognition for his writing
on sustainable agriculture and land ethics. Check your local library for his book of essays, Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: Essays from a Farmer Philosopher (2010)
and his contribution to the essay collection Farm Aid: A Song For America (2005).


'Toward a Sustainable Future' columns from the Leopold Letter

Fall 2016: Energy transformation: A key component of systainability's future
Summer 2016: The most dangerous world view
Spring 2016: Farmer-led pathways to our climate future

Winter 2015: Rethinking soil, economics and health
Fall 2015: Sustainability-as-flourishing
Summer 2015: Our 'collision course'
Spring 2015: From instant gratification to need for connection

Winter 2014: What's an education for, 2.0
Fall 2014: Is optimization the answer?
Summer 2014: Practical strategies for a hotter, scarcer, more open world
Spring 2014: Redefining wealth

Winter 2013: Rethinking evolution: From competition to cooperation
Fall 2013: What really drives science?
Summer 2013: Leopold's ongoing dilemma
Spring 2013: What's an education for?

Winter 2012:  The challenge of ending hunger
Fall 2012: Anticipating the future?
Summer 2012: On 'being there'
Spring 2012: From commodities to communities

Winter 2011: Backcasting to resilience
Fall 2011: Two wake-up calls
Summer 2011: Getting to resilience - reordering our priorities
Spring 2011: The debate on feeding the world

Winter 2010: The food and agriculture landscape of our future
Fall 2010: Imagining resilience
Summer 2010: Anticipating changes
Spring 2010: Some things are priceless

Winter 2009: Rethinking the politics of food
Fall 2009: Can we afford the future?
Summer 2009: The dangers of too much certainty
Spring 2009: The foundation of any farm's success

Winter 2008: On the propagation of bad ideas
Fall 2008: Redefining sustainability: 'Greening' to self-renewal
Summer 2008: By itself, free market will not lead to sustainability
Spring 2008: Feeding the world, creating more problems?

Winter 2007: Rethinking soil
Fall 2007: Thinking like a community
Summer 2007: How long will we continue to fiddle while Rome burns?
Spring 2007: Managing with less Part II: Reinventing the human

Winter 2006-07: It's all about market power, stupid
Fall 2006: Managing with less energy
Summer 2006: Agriculture needs a new ethic
Spring 2006: Aldo Leopold and 21st century agriculture 


'From the Director' columns in the Leopold Letter 2000-2005

Winter 2005: Adapting to changes
Fall 2005: Expanding the scientific mission
Summer 2005: The death and rebirth of everything
Spring 2005: Meeting the challenges ahead

Winter 2004: Overcoming the Great Divide
Fall 2004: Challenges come home to roost
Spring 2004: Our food system: 'Supersize' vs. 'Have it your way'

Winter 2003: It's time for another Country Life Commission
Fall 2003: Getting beyond 'scratch and sniff'
Summer 2003Second open letter to Iowa's citizens
Spring 2003: Can we save 'agriculture of the middle'?

Winter 2002: Getting a head start on the next 10 years
Fall 2002: An Iowa View from the North Dakota Plains
Summer 2002: Farming: '... an industry like any other'?
Summer 2002: An open letter to Iowa's citizens
Spring 2002: Farmers are not 'insignificant'!

Winter 2001: Observations after a year on the job
Fall 2001: What should we do about Rural America?
Summer 2001: Balancing ecology and technology
Spring 2001: Taking a long look at short supplies

Winter 2000: How many farmers will we 'need'?
Fall 2000: It's time to continue our journey

Speeches and presentations

Designing a  Resilient Agriculture for a Changing World: How Land Grant Universities Can Help  Speech at a national conference in 2013 celebrating 150 years after passage of the Morrill Act that created the land grant university system.

It Starts with the Soil and Organic Agriculture Can Help  Presentation and paper for the 16th International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements Organic World Conferene, Modena, Italy, June 2008.

Meeting the Agricultural Challenges of the 21st Century with a Little Help from Liberty Hyde Bailey  Presentation and paper for the Ag History Society Conference, Ames, Iowa, June 2007.

Revitalizing Rural Communities: How Churches Can Help  Speech for the Northern Plains Conference of the United Church of Christ, Bismark, North Dakota, June 2006.

The Pleasure of Good Eating  Keynote address for Food Alliance annual meeting, Portland, Oregon, February 2006.

The Future of Agrarianism: Where Are We Now? Written for the 25th anniversary of the publication of Wendell Berry's The Unsettling of America, April 25-27, 2002, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

A Revolution in Agriculture  Presentation at the Glynwood Center's "Connecting Communities, Farmers and Food" conference, May 3, 2002, Cold Spring, New York.

Other media

Soil: From Dirt to Lifeline       January 2012 Tedx talk


Rootstalk: From Soil to Sustainability, Volume II, Fall 2015

Ames Progressive.org column: Rethinking Sustainability After the Drought  Sept. 10, 2012

The Center for a Livable Future YouTube channel has recorded a number of interviews with Fred Kirschenmann on a variety of topics.

Putting Meat on The Table: Industrial Farm Animal Production in America, final report of the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, 2008

Food, Farming and Health - Essay published in the Summer 2006 Gleanings newsletter of Glynwood Center, Cold Spring, New York, August 2006.

Pleasure and process: A recipe for good eating - Essay published in the Center for Ecoliteracy's "Thinking Outside the Lunchbox" program, April 2006.

Potential for a New Generation of Biodiversity in Agro-ecosystems of the Future - Paper prepared for the 2005 Trisocieties (ASA-CSSA-SSSA) International Annual Meetings, Salt Lake City, Utah, November 2005.

Spirtuality in Agriculture - This paper, prepared for the Concord School of Philosophy, considers how the scientific revolution has resulted in a fragmented approach to agriculture, and the need to refocus one ecological relationships. October 2005

Why worry about the agriculture of the middle? - Fred Kirschenmann, Mike Duffy and others prepared this paper for the Agriculture of the Middle project. June 2004.

Download his full bio [PDF] or read more from when he joined the Leopold Center [PDF]