Landlabs: An Integrated Approach to Creating Agricultural Enterprises That Meet the Triple Botom Line

Nicholas Jordan, Lisa A Schulte, Carol Williams, dava Mulla, David Pitt, Carissa Shively Slotterback, Randall Jackson, Douglas Landis, Bruce Dale, Dennis Becker, Mark Rickenbach, Matt Helmers, Bobby Bringi


Global demand is increasing for food, feed, and fiber; for additional agricultural outputs, such as biofuels; and for ecosystem services, such as clean water and outdoor recreation. In response, new agricultural enterprises are needed that produce more outputs from existing lands while meeting the "triple bottom line" of high performance in economic, environmental, and social terms. Establishing such enterprises requires coordination and development within three critical domains: landscape configurations (i.e., types and arrangements of land uses), supply/value chains (i.e., processing and utilization), and policy and governance. In this essay, we describe our efforts, as land-grant university scientists, to support coordinated innovation and enterprise development in integrated place-based institutions, which we term landlabs. We describe our experiences in three prototyping efforts and outline key features of landlabs that are emerging from these efforts. Land-grant universities have a central and crucial role to play in organizing and operating landlabs.

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