Paul Andrews /

With his silvery hair, his sun-and-wind-weathered skin, formidable stature and a booming, resonant voice, Wes Jackson steps out of his pickup truck in a blazer, radiating confidence. But 40 years ago, when he'd just given up a tenured professorship in California to set up shop in rural Kansas with the goal of transforming not just agriculture but the way humans live, he was appropriately daunted by the scale of his own ambition.

"I did it with a lot of doubt," he says with a laugh. "Especially in the middle of the night."

Paul Andrews /

Meet a prominent thinker who's a Kansas farm boy and "prairiebilly" turned geneticist, and hear the story of how and why he became a leader in the sustainable agriculture movement back in the 1970s. Jackson is retiring as president of the organization he started: The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas. 


Andrea Tudhope / KCUR

According to environmental journalist Simran Sethi, indulging in the sensual side of food can be revolutionary. How taste and sustainability go hand-in-hand, including extended discussions about karah prasad (holy bread in the Sikh tradition) and chocolate.


Rendering courtesy of BNIM

The Kansas City council has approved tax breaks for a proposed building renovation in the Crossroads Arts District that has become a focal issue for groups that oppose incentives that the school district cannot afford. 

Ironically, the same project is being hailed as breaking new ground in the sustainability and green architecture movement.

The $13.2 million project would transform an old warehouse building into a headquarters and green architecture showcase for local architecture firm BNIM. 

Photo by Kartaka Shiva, courtesy Cultivate KC

Dr. Vandana Shiva sees issues of diversity playing out in our societies as well as in our grocery stores and on our dinner plates. Central Standard visits with this prolific author and global environmental activist about her unique blend of science and philosophy in which feminism, economic theory, quantum physics and agricultural history combine to create a compelling world view.

Dr. Shiva stops by the studio to explain her perspective and to tell her personal story. 

Better Off When Off The Grid

Dec 5, 2012
Mr. Brende's book

As you wonder at what gifts you might be getting this holiday season, have you ever consider what you could live without?  What modern conveniences would you be willing to give up?  How far "off the grid" do you think you could live?  We're joined by Eric Brende, a man who dropped out of an MIT graduate program and moved with his wife to a remote community that lives entirely off the grid.  He shares his 18 month experience on Central Standard.


As thousands of students make their way through an academic day at the University of Missouri - Kansas City, a dedicated group steadfastly works to make environmental improvements to the campus.