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February 1, 2012
Contact: Kevin Coburn, Director of Communications

Scholar in Residence Fred Kirschenmann Speaks at GMC

Fred Kirschenmann, 2012 scholar in residence for Green Mountain College’s new Master’s of Sustainable Food Systems degree , will speak at the Gorge (Withey Hall) at 7 p.m. on Monday, February 13. He will address issues involving the challenges in “greening up the green revolution.” “The industrial model is now bankrupt, and there is a need to fundamentally redesign the U.S. food system using ecological principles.

He converted his family’s farm in North Dakota to a certified organic operation in 1976. 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.

Today Kirschenmann is recognized as an internationally-known advocate for land ethics and sustainable agriculture. His writing has appeared in publications such as National Geographic, Business Week, Audubon, the LA Times and Gourmet magazine. He shares an appointment as president of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York. At the same time, he continues to manage his family's 2,600-acre certified organic farm in south central North Dakota.

Kirschenmann is also a professor in the ISU Department of Religion and Philosophy. 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 has completed a five-year term on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Standards Board, and has chaired the administrative council for the USDA's North Central Region's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. He recently completed work for the North Dakota Commission on the Future of Agriculture, and was a charter member of the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society in 1979. He has been a member of the board of directors for the Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture since 1994, and was president in 1997.

Kirschenmann also has been advisor for several environmental documentaries including American Meat and Symphony of the Soil, and was one of the first 10 recipients of the James F. Beard Foundation Leadership awards in 2011. In 2012, he will receive the Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award from Practical Farmers of Iowa.

He earned degrees from Yankton College in South Dakota, Hartford Theological Seminary in Connecticut, and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Chicago, where he earned numerous awards including a Rockefeller Fellowship. He was the first chair of the Department of Religion at Yankton College, and was Dean of the College at Curry College in Boston. He has authored or co-authored numerous articles and book chapters dealing with ethics and agriculture.
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