World-renowned philosopher farmer Fred Kirschenmann will visit Virginia Tech on March 24. The event, “Cultivating an Ecological Conscience,” begins at 7 p.m. in the Fralin Auditorium.

Kirschenmann’s experience as an organic farmer along with his education in philosophy combine to make him a leader in sustainable agriculture. He oversees his family’s 3,500-acre, certified-organic farm in North Dakota and is also a professor in the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Iowa State University. Kirschenmann holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Chicago and has written extensively about ethics and agriculture.

Kirschenmann travels extensively both nationally and abroad, discussing the importance of maintaining soil health, developing small- and medium-sized farms, and incorporating biodynamic techniques into farms. He explores ways that rural and urban communities can work together to develop a more resilient, sustainable agriculture and food system. “We can craft new food production systems that are less dependent on cheap energy, huge amounts of water, and unusually stable climates,” Kirschenmann said.

Matthew Benson of Blacksburg, Va., a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics who helped organize the event, thinks that local farmers would benefit from Kirschenmann’s presentation. “He will share his thoughts and information about how local and sustainable agricultural producers can scale-up local food systems to reach larger institutional markets, which could potentially allow for increased profitability, improved access to healthier food, and greater connectedness to the region and its culture.”

Students, staff, and the public are encouraged to attend the seminar. For more information please contact Matthew Benson at (540) 231-7422.

The event is hosted by Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural and Extension Education, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ minor in civic agriculture and food systems, and the Virginia Food System Council. It is sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture, Innovation and Rural Sustainability.

Free parking is available in Wallace, Hillcrest, and Litton Reaves Lots which can be accessed from Washington Street or Duck Pond Rd. Parking is also available in the Engel lot, located off of West Campus Drive, after 5:30 p.m. Find more parking information online or call (540) 231-3200.



Written by Parker Welch of Chestertown, Md., a senior majoring in dairy science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
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