Born on a North Dakota farm during the Great Depression and in the grips of the worst drought in U.S. history, Fred Kirschenmann has spent most of his life working to change how we farm, as well as our relationship to the land.
For more than four decades, Fred has been a champion of agricultural resilience, an articulate advocate for soil health and a pioneer of organic farming. His work has helped transform what was once obscure and marginal work—resilient, sustainable agriculture focused on the health and restoration of the soil—into an international movement.
A longtime national and international leader in sustainable agriculture, Fred is Distinguished Fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and a professor in the Department of Religion and Philosophy. He also continues to manage his family’s 1,800-acre certified-organic farm in south-central North Dakota.
Fred holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Chicago. He has held numerous appointments, including the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board and the National Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, operated by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.