When I lived in Tennessee, I traveled to a lot of events selling the baskets that I made. This gave me the opportunity to meet lots of interesting people. At one event I met the band director of a local school, his students were performing at the street event. The conversation turned to neither baskets nor music but rather gardening. He said he grew some of his own grain in his backyard garden. It grew across one end of the garden and he harvested it by hand. I had never heard of anyone doing such a thing. In this century at least. I was fascinated.
When you watch a field of wheat turn from green to golden and wave lightly in the wind, see the shocks lined up in rows as you pass by on the road, watch a load of grain auger into the grain wagon, and then see the cycle begin again. It is beautiful and worth it all.
As a young boy, Wes Jackson could be found hoeing rows of vegetables — as a teen-ager he rode the untamed prairies of South Dakota, and in school he played football. Sounds like a typical Kansas farm boy — but Jackson is anything but typical. Tanned from the Kansas sun, Jackson’s broad-shouldered husky frame stands tall, and sports a smile the size of his 370 acres. From appearance one might assume that his comfort level may well be mending a fence, harvesting wheat or breaking a horse — but appearances are often deceiving. Wes Jackson is a scientist — a McArthur ‘genius award’ recipient, and alternative Nobel Prize winner.