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Annual Prairie Festival at Land Institute is September 20-22

(Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2002 -- CropChoice news) --

The Land Institute press release: SALINA, Kan. - The new book "Fatal Harvest The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture" sets the theme for the Land Institute's Prairie Festival, September 20-22.

The book focuses on the problems created by modern large-scale farming and solutions. Three of the book's contributors will speak at the festival: Catherine Badgley, of the University of Michigan; Monica Moore, of the Pesticide Action Network North America; and Wes Jackson, president and co-founder of the Land Institute.

A highlight of the festival will be "A Sense of Wonder," a one-woman two-act play Saturday evening about the life and work of Rachel Carson, written and performed by Kaiulani Lee. Forty years ago Carson wrote "Silent Spring," which launched the modern environmental movement by sounding an eloquent alarm about the hazards of pesticides.

Lee, who has more than 20 years of acting experience, wrote the play with help from Carson's friends and colleagues. It focuses on Carson's battle with breast cancer and the public outcry sparked by "Silent Spring."

Another festival highlight is speaker Margaret Mellon, director of the food and environment program of the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington D.C. Mellon directs programs that promote sustainable agriculture by evaluating the role of biotechnology and the use of antibiotics in livestock. Her festival talk Saturday morning is titled "Pharmaceutical Plants and the Threat They Represent."

The festival, at the Land Institute, 2440 Water Well Road, southeast of Salina, is open to the public. The ticket price for Saturday is $20 ($16 for pre-registering) and includes a Friday night barn dance and Saturday night's performance of "A Sense of Wonder." Sunday is $15 ($8 for pre-registering) and also includes the dance and play. Tickets can be purchased separately for the Friday barn dance only ($5) or Saturday's "A Sense of Wonder" ($5). Those wanting a dinner Saturday evening can purchase a meal ticket for $10.

To pre-register, call the Land Institute at 785-823-5376.

The Land Institute is a non-profit research organization whose work falls under the name Natural Systems Agriculture. The institute works to develop a perennials-based agricultural system with the ecological stability of the prairie and a grain yield comparable to that of annual crops.