Hogs Are Up
Stories of the Land, with Digressions
Sales Date: March 12, 2021
192 Pages, 5.50 x 8.50 in
- Published: March 2021
- Published: March 2021
Hogs Are Up: Stories of the Land, with Digressions reveals what makes Wes Jackson tick. What kind of lessons does he draw from his unique life experiences, and how do they shape his profoundly revolutionary worldview? Sometimes funny, sometimes wistful, always insightful, this volume demonstrates that when telling a good story, digressions can be the main point. Born during the Great Depression, Jackson tells stories of his youth on a diversified farm in the Kansas River Valley near Topeka, Kansas, culminating in more than forty years of leadership to radically transform agriculture, literally at its very roots. Wes Jackson draws deeply from the lessons learned from his experience dating from World War II to his work at The Land Institute to establish a new Natural Systems Agriculture. But this book is more than that. It includes an eclectic mix of thinkers and doers he’s met along the way.
Wes Jackson is heavily influenced by the cultural legacy of his grandparents, all four of whom were born before the Civil War began, and from his parents, who were born before 1900. He was born into a culture of crop diversity where animals and people were out in the fields and around. He saw the tractor arrive and the horses leave. After you read Hogs Are Up: Stories of the Land, with Digressions you may share his misgivings about what conventional thinkers see as “progress.”
Jackson is constantly exploring the world around him and will engage anyone who can help him think about a discovery, an experiment, or recent insight. Jackson believes that our insights must go beyond the latest scholarly study and government report if we are to get the necessary interest for people to change. The stories and digressions he shares in Hogs Are Up are the fruit of a longtime effort to lay the agricultural and cultural foundation for a new worldview grounded in nature’s principles and located in rural communities able to survive through a new relationship of humanity to the ecosphere.
"Laced within and around his stories (and digressions. . . in fact, mostly in the digressions), Jackson is continuously throwing out pithy pearls of wisdom. These tiny and imple gems must be heard, then internalized, and after a good deal of introspection you discover that you have encountered the profound."—Resilience
"Through selected anecdotes the author presents a glimpse of his own life experiences. The narrative serves to explain how and why Jackson came to the inspiration for creating The Land Institute as a nonprofit agrarian research facility. Highly recommended."—Choice
“Essays on people, farming, and the environment, all in the unmistakable voice of a Kansas original and one of the country’s foremost environmentalists. Pull up a chair, crack open this book, and soak up these stories. You’ll hear Wes in every word.”—Rex Buchanan, editor of Kansas Geology: An Introduction to Landscapes, Rocks, Minerals, and Fossils and coauthor of Petroglyphs of the Kansas Smoky Hills
“This personal memoir comes from one of Kansas’s most remarkable and important sons—Wes Jackson, an original prairie visionary. It is rich in stories of growing up, failing, and succeeding—a funny, insightful, and vivid account of the changes we have been through since the Great Depression. Above all, learn here how a prophet of change emerged from a small family farm and went on to shake the agricultural establishment to its core.”—Donald Worster, Hall Distinguished Professor of American History, emeritus, University of Kansas
“Hogs Are Up provides the reader with a savory buffet of Wes Jackson writing in the first person: potato picker, football player, handyman, student, professor, and, ultimately, one of the world’s most influential thinkers about the shared fates of humans and ecosystems. This is a book that spins yarns, observes closely, and reports on some significant developments in his life’s quest to marry ecology and agriculture.”—Conn Nugent, former president, Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment
“Wes Jackson’s Hogs Are Up is a rich delight, abounding with stories that made me laugh, sigh, and share with the person sitting next to me. I had expected this iconic doer—a so-called turncoat to industrial farming and one who helped lead the way to an agriculture that respects and supports nature—to have much of interest to say about his life, but I didn’t expect that he would be such a fine and appreciative observer of the people around him. Jackson’s optimism for the promise of science and the efforts of humble people as well as his belief in ‘fierce egalitarianism’ and ‘reasonable restraint,’ bolsters our courage for the challenges to come.”—Kristin Ohlson, author of The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies Are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet
“Hogs Are Up offers life stories from a rare sort of intellectual in our urbanized, specialized, class-tiered society—one who puts his hands to earth and hammer, considers poetry and science in the same thought, and conducts his work from the homeland he refuses to abandon. Wes Jackson’s wisdom will make you think, and his voice will make you smile.”—Sarah Smarsh, author of Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth and She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs
Foreword: “Tell about it,” by Robert Jensen
Where to Begin and End?
Getting the story right can be complicated. Perspective matters. Sometimes the truth sneaks up on you.
Year of Decision 1976: The Rest of the Story
Down from the College
One Thing Leads to Another
Some stories have to wander, and that's just fine.
Over the Fence is Out: Softball Rules at West Indianola, District
Sharon Stays at Home, Mostly
Why Can’t I Pick Up Dug Potatoes Fast?
A Private’s Supper on the Oregon Trail near Topeka
My Rural Life
Living with less cultivates virtues, though a bit of vice is inevitable wherever one lives.
The Matfield Green Women’s Club
My Life with Plants and Their Ecosystems: 1936-1952
How Knowing the FFA Creed Came in Handy
Brother Harley at the European Union Parliament
Schooling, Formal and Informal
We often learn the most from the most unusual people.
My Start in Botany: Earning a C, the Hard Way
I eventually learned that science isn’t a set of facts, theories, or methods, but rather is a way*#8212;though not the only way—of being in theworld.
A Field Trip with Three Great Scientists
An Appeal to the Russians
The Lilac Tree Is in Near-Full Bloom This Morning, but So What?
Ideas I’ve Run into along the Way
It can be dangerous to think too much. but it’s even more dangerous to think too little.
The Danger of Nuance without News
Wondering about the Origin of fire
How Lothar Convinced Me that Dinosaurs Did Not Exist until Humans Discovered Them
David Defeats Goliath
Living in the Industrial World
We have a love/hate relationship with the world we have made. We might as well get used to it.
Satan Is on the Other End
E. F. Schumacher Visits the Land, March 1977
The Shard and My Chevy Silverado
Thoughts on the Natural History of Eden
What is to Become of Us?
What do we need to be if there is to be a future? Who do we need to be?
The Day I Discovered that I Am a Groupie
The Necessity of Insulting the Meat: Ferocious Egalitarianism
Conclusion: Hardening Off