We envision a regenerative agricultural system grounded in relationships. Those who grow, work with, and consume food must lead the direction. The Leopold Center can and should support diversified land use, diversified rural economies, and diverse communities grounded in social values including care and justice. Community-led agriculture depends on collaboration, creativity, innovation, transparency, and science-based approaches. Nowhere else in Iowa is taking such a comprehensive approach to agricultural research. This is why, now more than ever, we need a fully-funded Leopold Center strengthened by a supportive public and a welcoming institutional home.
Background: During the fall of 2017, a group of farmers, current and former students of the Iowa State University Sustainable Agriculture program, retired faculty, community members worked together to craft a vision for the work we know a re-imagined, re-funded, and re-staffed Leopold Center should lead. With support from the Union of Concerned Scientists Public Science for Public Good fund, we created a series of advocacy videos sharing this vision.