The Essential Agrarian Reader: The Future of Culture, Community, and the Land [NOOK Book]

Overview

The twenty-first century offers a host of daunting cultural and environmental problems facing a booming world population: community disintegration, social anxiety, international terrorism, voter disenchantment, a growing gap between rich and poor, habitat destruction, biopatenting/biotechnology, global warming, and resource depletion. Standing as an alternative to the modern paradigms in industry, technology, and economics, agrarianism is not a throwback to a mythical rural past but a sustained and coherent ...
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The Essential Agrarian Reader: The Future of Culture, Community, and the Land

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Overview

The twenty-first century offers a host of daunting cultural and environmental problems facing a booming world population: community disintegration, social anxiety, international terrorism, voter disenchantment, a growing gap between rich and poor, habitat destruction, biopatenting/biotechnology, global warming, and resource depletion. Standing as an alternative to the modern paradigms in industry, technology, and economics, agrarianism is not a throwback to a mythical rural past but a sustained and coherent attempt to live faithfully and responsibly in a world of limited resources. With advocates from around the globe, agrarianism is a compelling worldview that challenges the shortcomings of the new global and industrial/technological order. Not simply focused on farming, the agrarian outlook encourages the development of practices and policies that promote the health of land and culture, emphasizing that responsible action occurs most readily when citizens live within local economies where the distance between production and consumption is as small as possible.

Agrarian issues and concerns take on a new urgency in an age of unprecedented urbanization; there are now more prisoners than farmers in the U.S. Fewer people than ever before appreciate, understand, and care for the sources of all life: healthy soil, clean water, vibrant natural habitats, and nutritious food. In developing nations, food and food production have become major health and security issues as industrialized agriculture and globalized trade force small farmers into debt and dispossession. We are beginning to see that belief in a post-agricultural society is false -- even dangerous. Offering fresh insights from the disciplines of education, law, history, urban and regional planning, economics, philosophy, religion, ecology, politics, and agriculture, the original essays in The Essential Agrarian Reader develop a sophisticated critique of our culture's current relationship to the land while offering practical alternatives. Leading agrarians, including Wendell Berry, Vandana Shiva, Wes Jackson, Gene Logsdon, Brian Donahue, Eric Freyfogle, and David Orr, explain how to create genuinely sustainable communities. While lamenting the shortsightedness of recent economic and political ambitions, these writers call for an honest accounting and correction of destructive ways of life. They suggest how our society can take practical steps toward integrating soils, watersheds, forests, wildlife, urban areas, and human populations into one great system -- a responsible flourishing of our world and culture and a celebration manifested in honest work and respect for the land.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In this collection of eminently quotable and passionately argued essays, farmers, philosophers, scientists, and environmentalists look at the ways in which industrial agriculture, unchecked consumerism, and the squandering of natural resources have caused great harm." -- Library Journal (starred review)

"Here is a primer on real 'homeland security' -- on preserving the sources of clean air, pure water, nutritious food, caring communities, and good work. In essays charged with logic and passion, these new agrarians show what we must do to assure our own well-being and that of future generations. If you wish to understand what's wrong with our present way of life, and if you wish to envision a more decent, sustainable, and joyful alternative, then read on." -- Scott Russell Sanders, author of Hunting for Hope

"Each [essay] contains its own valuable lesson -- and more importantly, each one offers hope." -- Snail

Library Journal
Agrarianism, a set of values rooted in place and soil, is diametrically opposed to global industrialization and devastation. Instead, it strives to appreciate, understand, and care for the earth and its inhabitants. It also realizes that a sound food economy is based on sound farming practices. In this collection of eminently quotable and passionately argued essays, farmers, philosophers, scientists, and environmentalists look at the ways in which industrial agriculture, unchecked consumerism, and the squandering of natural resources have caused great harm. "I cannot imagine," writes David Orr, "a system built on exploitation, consumption, growth, and uniformity-however cleverly managed-as anything other than a prelude to ruin." Particularly inspiring in its celebration of existence is "Placing the Soul: An Agrarian Philosophy," by editor Wirzba (philosophy, Georgetown Coll.). Several of the pieces were originally speeches delivered at a 2002 conference celebrating the 25th anniversary of the publication of Wendell Berry's groundbreaking The Unsettling of America. Berry, of course, is represented here. While similar to the equally informative and thought-provoking The New Agrarianism, edited by Eric Freyfogle, The Essential Agrarian Reader is preferred for libraries with limited budgets as the contributors cover a wider range of topics, are leaders in their fields, and have lucid, expressive writing styles. Highly recommended.-Ilse Heidmann, Washington State Lib., Olympia Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813138312
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 9/29/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 296
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Norman Wirzba, associate professor and chair of the philosophy department at Georgetown College, is the author of The Paradise of God: Renewing Religion in an Ecological Age and editor of The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Introduction: Why Agrarianism Matters - Even to Urbanites 1
Pt. 1 Agrarian Principles and Priorities
1 The Agrarian Standard 23
2 The Resettling of America 34
3 The Mind-Set of Agrarianism ... New and Old 52
4 Sustainable Economic Development: Definitions, Principles, Policies 62
5 Placing the Soul: An Agrarian Philosophical Principle 80
Pt. 2 Assessing Our Situation
6 The Current State of Agriculture: Does It Have a Future? 101
7 Globalization and the War against Farmers and the Land 121
8 The Agrarian Mind: Mere Nostalgia or a Practical Necessity? 140
9 All Flesh Is Grass: A Hopeful Look at the Future of Agrarianism 154
10 The Uses of Prophecy 171
Pt. 3 Putting Agrarianism to Work
11 Country and City: The Common Vision of Agrarians and New Urbanists 191
12 New Agrarians: Local Innovators 212
13 The Legal and Legislative Front: The Fight Against Industrial Agriculture 222
14 Private Property Rights in Land: An Agrarian View 237
15 Going to Work 259
Further Reading 267
Contributors 271
Index 273
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