University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Organic Farming Leader to speak at University of MN Nov. 10

November 3, 2011Patrick NunnallyProgram & AnnouncementsComments Off on Organic Farming Leader to speak at University of MN Nov. 10

Most people who work on water issues in the United States know that the connections between what happens on the ground, particularly in agricultural regions, and what’s in the water are important, complex, and controversial.  Often the last factor, controversy, impedes our understanding of the first two.

Minnesota’s Freshwater Society is a leader in developing innovative, powerful programming that helps the public understand the many factors threatening water quality and quantity.  The Society’s work continues next week, as an internationally-known writer, farmer, and advocate speaks at 7 pm Thursday November 10, at the St. Paul Campus Student Center Theater.  The talk is co-sponsored by the University’s College of Biological Sciences.

The full press release, with more details, follows.  For further information, contact:

Media Contact:

Patrick Sweeney

Freshwater Society


Organic farming leader Fred Kirschenmann to speak Nov. 10 on ‘Water and the Challenges Facing U.S. and World Agriculture in the 21st Century.’


Fred Kirschenmann, a national leader in the organic food and farming movement, will deliver the next free public lecture sponsored by the Freshwater Society and the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences.

Kirschenmann is a distinguished fellow at Iowa State University’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. He will speak on “Water and the Challenges Facing U.S. and World Agriculture in the 21st Century.”

The lecture, the sixth in a series, will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, in the theater of the Student Center on the university’s St. Paul campus. Seating is limited. Please register to reserve your place.

There are lots of ways to describe Kirschenmann: philosopher, farmer, author and advocate. In addition to his work at the Leopold Center, he is president of the board of directors of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, N.Y. He wrote Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: Essays from a Farmer Philosopher, published in 2010 by the University Press of Kentucky. This year, he was honored by the James Beard Foundation for “lifelong work on sustainable food and farming systems.”

The message of his lecture, Kirschenmann says, will be that serious changes must be made in the way America and the world grow food.

A series of crises — the drawing down of groundwater reserves around the world; depletion of fossil fuels; looming shortages in two basic agricultural fertilizers, phosphorus and potassium; and a changing climate — are occurring at the same time that population growth and changing diets around the world are increasing demand for food.

Organic agriculture, the kind Kirschenmann long has advocated and practiced on his own 2,400-acre farm in North Dakota, is not enough of an answer, he says. Nor is any single technological fix.

For the past century, he says, agriculture has been designed as an industrial operation, assuming that the natural resources to fuel that industry and the sinks in nature to absorb its wastes would always be in sufficient supply. Tomorrow’s agriculture has to be designed to mimic nature, with the intention to make it more resilient and largely self-renewing.

Kirschenmann’s lecture is part of the Moos Family Speaker Series, which honors the late Malcolm Moos, president of the University of Minnesota from 1967 to 1974.

About the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences
The College of Biological Sciences provides education and conducts research in all areas of biology, from molecules to ecosystems, supporting applications in medicine, renewable energy, ecosystem management, agriculture and biotechnology. For more information about research and degree programs, go to


About the Freshwater Society
The Freshwater Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring people to value, conserve and protect all water resources. Located in Excelsior, Minn., adjacent to Lake Minnetonka, it has a long history of association with the University of Minnesota. Learn more at


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