Natural Systems Agriculture from The Land Institute uses mutually beneficial relationships to create self‑sustaining crop production.


  • Sustainable
  • Cost‑effective
  • Reduced soil erosion
  • Decreased dependence on petroleum and natural gas
  • Decreased dependence on fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides


  • Industrial agriculture

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 2: Zero Hunger

  • Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing


  • Native plants and microbes

The Challenge

Traditional industrial agriculture cultivates a few crops in isolation, which rely on industrial intervention to sustain production. Industrial agriculture also uses large amounts of irrigated water, as well as petrochemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides, which can be damaging to the environment and wildlife.

Innovation Details

Perennial grain cropping, or permaculture, is a form of agriculture developed to mimic natural systems. Natural Systems Agriculture is an industrial agriculture system that uses perennial polycultures and mutually beneficial relationships to increase the health and productivity of crops.This strategy takes advantage of benefits found in natural systems, such as pest control, fertility and nutrient cycling, erosion control, drought resistance and water management, and carbon sequestration.

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Biomimicry Story

The diversity of a prairie ecosystem allows plants to utilize water and nutrients efficiently. Natural systems also have increased resilience to most perturbations, are able to self-regulate, have more stable soils, and have increased carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling, food production, and .