Sustainability Research Institute
A New Vision for Iowa Food and Agriculture, Sustainable Agriculture for the 21st Century -- Francis Thicke, PhD Mulberry Knoll book publishing

A New Vision for Iowa Food and Agriculture: Sustainable Agriculture for the 21st Century Released by Award Winning Ecological Farmer Francis Thicke, PhD

Fairfield, IA, August 31, 2010 — In his new book A New Vision for Iowa Food and Agriculture: Sustainable Agriculture for the 21st Century, Francis Thicke, PhD provides a comprehensive, rational, and economically energizing vision of a North American agriculture that produces quality food and fiber, is energy self-sufficient, ecologically sound, profitable for farmers, and enriching to rural communities. Why should such a vision be new? Why, with all the advances in technology and biological sciences isn't this today's reality?

Thicke's prime insight is that the corporate-industrial model of agriculture that developed in the mid-20th century is not the end of agricultural development for the modern world; rather, it is an entrenched model that, while productive, is simultaneously destructive of local economies, ecosystems and the general health of Americans. Thicke brings an intelligent and integrated vision of food and agriculture that promises healthier foods, wealthier family farmers, and wiser land and energy policies.

Thicke convincingly demonstrates the obsolescence of the prevailing model of corporate-industrial agriculture and, simultaneously challenges clich├ęs of organic agriculture as a retro agriculture harking back to grandpa's day. Instead, Thicke presents a model that integrates the best of traditional sustainable agriculture with new knowledge and practices derived from advanced scientific research and the broad perspectives of ecological science.

Thicke writes, "The greatest advancement for today's organic farmers has been an increased understanding of biology and ecology, and how to design and manage organic farms to efficiently utilize the energy and organizing power of nature's ecology". While this sounds good in theory - it is even more inspiring to see the enormous jump in efficiency and productivity demonstrated on his own organic dairy when he compares today's cultural practices with those of the family farm of his youth.

Thicke defines the profitable next generation of energy systems for agriculture — both ecologically sound and lucrative for farmers by keeping biofuel and wind energy profits in farmers' pockets. His new vision for agriculture includes the development of local farm economies that reduce expensive transportation costs while providing a greater diversity of fresh healthy foods everywhere.

Thicke envisions Iowa as a "shining jewel", leading the nation in "the transformation of agriculture so it will thrive in a new economy".

The creation of A New Vision for Iowa Food and Agriculture was sponsored by Sustainability Research Institute (SRI) and is available for download at

About the Author
Along with his wife Susan, Francis Thicke owns and operates Radiance Dairy in southeastern Iowa, an example of an organic, sustainable farm designed and managed according to sound ecological principles.

About SRI
Sustainability Research Institute, Inc. (SRI) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to initiate and support the development, research and implementation of sustainable systems that are locally and globally relevant. SRI, founded by The Sky Factory, LC in 2008, supports individual and public education programs that further its mission.

The activities of SRI are to advance scientific research into the many aspects of sustainable living and, on the basis of the practical knowledge thereby gained, to provide ongoing educational programs for the general public for the purpose of widely promoting life-supporting practices in all areas of life.

The background photograph for this page is by Carl Kurtz, a renowned Iowa photographer and prairie cultivator. For information about his prairie photos and prairie seed resources, contact him at