The New Agrarianism: Land, Culture, and the Community of Life

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<p>The engaging writings gathered in this new book explore an important but little-publicized movement in American culture - the marked resurgence of agrarian practices and values in rural areas, suburbs, and even cities. It is a movement that in widely varied ways is attempting to strengthen society's roots in the land while bringing greater health to families, neighborhoods, and communities. The New Agrarianism vividly displays the movement's breadth and vigor, with selections by such award-winning writers as Wendell Berry, William
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Overview

<p>The engaging writings gathered in this new book explore an important but little-publicized movement in American culture - the marked resurgence of agrarian practices and values in rural areas, suburbs, and even cities. It is a movement that in widely varied ways is attempting to strengthen society's roots in the land while bringing greater health to families, neighborhoods, and communities. The New Agrarianism vividly displays the movement's breadth and vigor, with selections by such award-winning writers as Wendell Berry, William Kittredge, Stephanie Mills, David Orr, Scott Russell Sanders, and Donald Worster.<p>As editor Eric Freyfogle observes in his stimulating and original introduction, agrarianism is properly conceived in broad terms, as reaching beyond food production to include a wide constellation of ideals, loyalties, sentiments, and hopes. It is a temperament and a moral orientation, he explains, as well as a suite of diverse economic practices - all based on the insistent truth that people everywhere are part of the land community, as dependent as other life on its fertility and just as shaped by its mysteries and possibilities.<p>The writings included here have been chosen for their engaging narratives as well as their depiction of the New Agrarianism's broad scope. Many of the selections illustrate agrarian practitioners in action - restoring prairies, promoting community forests and farms, reducing resource consumption, reshaping the built environment. Other selections offer pointed critiques of contemporary American culture and its market-driven, resource-depleting competitiveness. Together, they reveal what Freyfogle identifies as the heart and soul of the New Agrarianism: its yearning to regain society's connections to the land and its quest to help craft a more land-based and enduring set of shared values.<p>The New Agrarianism offers a compelling vision of this hopeful new way of living. It is an essential book for social critics, community activists, organic gardeners, conservationists, and all those seeking to forge sustaining ties with the entire community of life.
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Editorial Reviews

director of the NAU Center for Sustainable Environments and author - Gary Nabhan

"The New Agrarianism is a manifesto for the next generation of back-to-the-landers—one which doesn't want Monsanto, ConAgra, or Sysco to dictate what is in our diets or our gardens. Let it help make a thousand fields bloom again."
author of <i>The Experience of Place</i> - Tony Hiss

"Here is a book to savor—flavorful and nutritious, it sticks to the mind's ribs. The 'New Agrarianism' is about Americans re-learning how to care for the land, and Eric Freyfogle has thoughtfully assembled a banquet of eloquent voices."
Library Journal
In response to an ever-increasing degradation of nature and a despoiling of the land, individuals nationwide have sought to find ways to restore the health of the land and maintain the crucial bonds between people and place. This excellent collection of fiction and nonfiction explores both the far-ranging problems arising from a capitalist industrial society and the restorative practices that "can stimulate hope for more joyful living, healthier families, and more contented, centered lives." In his introduction, editor Freyfogle (natural resources and property law, Univ. of Illinois) points out that the new agrarianism is not an escape to a pristine place but rather many local and varied attempts to achieve effective, enduring land use. All the selections are worthwhile, and several are outstanding. Farmer/poet Wendell Berry's essay focuses on the differences between a manipulative global economy and a caring local one, while Brian Donahue concludes that community ownership and management of much local land is essential to prevent its destruction. All authors agree that a radical change in social values is the key to bringing about a new understanding of our role on Earth. This thoughtful collection is highly recommended for all types of libraries. Ilse Heidmann, San Marcos, TX Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559639200
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2001
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric T. Freyfogle is the author of Bounded People, Boundless Lands (Island Press, 1998), winner of the 1999 Adult Nonfiction Award of the Society of Midland Authors, and co-editor of For the Health of the Land (Island Press, 1999). He teaches natural-resources, property, and land-use law at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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Table of Contents


Introduction: A Durable Scale 
PART I. New Prospects
Chapter 1. Learning from the Prairie \ Scott Russell Sanders
Chapter 2. Linking Tables to Farms \ Dan Imhoff
Chapter 3. Substance Abuse \ Alan Thein Durning
Chapter 4. Prairie University \ Stephanie Mills
Chapter 5. The Whole Horse \ Wendell Berry
Chapter 6. What Comes Around \ Gene Logsdon
Chapter 7. The Urban-Agrarian Mind \ David W. Orr
PART II. The Sirens of Conquest
Chapter 8. The Decline of the Apple \ Anne Mendelson
Chapter 9. The Competitive Edge \ Don Kurtz
Chapter 10. Owning It All \ William Kittredge
Chapter 11. The Wealth of Nature \ Donald Worster
PART III. Sharing Life
Chapter 12. Great Possessions \ David Kline
Chapter 13. Reclaiming the Commons \ Brian Donahue
Chapter 14. The Common Life \ Scott Russell Sanders
Chapter 15. The Boundary \ Wendell Berry
Notes
Acknowledgments 
About the Contributors 
Index
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