From Values to Practice

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0043603/00001

Material Information

Title: From Values to Practice Sustainable Agriculture and the Return of Place in North American Religious Agrarianism
Physical Description: 1 online resource (314 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Levasseur, Todd J
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2011


Subjects / Keywords: agrarianism -- agriculture -- american -- berry -- ecophenomenology -- environmental -- ethics -- hazon -- history -- koinonia -- north -- religions -- religious -- sustainable -- wendell
Religion -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Religion thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: This dissertation investigates the emerging phenomenon of North American religious agrarianism. My argument is based upon both literature review and fieldwork that explores the religious, ethical, scientific, environmental, and ideological motivations that two religious communities use to justify their participation in ecological farming practices. The communities are Hazon, a national progressive Jewish food group, and Koinonia Partners, a Protestant lay monastic community founded by Clarence Jordan located in Americus, Georgia. By combining lived religion and network theory into what I term a "lived network" approach to religion, I analyze how individuals within these respective religious communities put environmental ethics and values based on both contemporary science and traditional religious practices and texts into embodied action, especially as these relate with various agrarian ideals, including the practice of organic/ecological farming. My research methodologies include semi-structured interviews with community members and leaders, participant observation, and archival research. The argument I offer is that the distinct North American lineage of ecological agrarianism begun by Wendell Berry is merging with a religious environmentalist concern for the health of the planet. This mix is resulting in a religious agrarian worldview where religious identity and values around three interrelated concerns-for locality, health, and justice-are motivating segments of North American religions to practice sustainable agriculture. This embodied practice signals a growing concern for place in subsets of North American religions, where place is believed to be a Divine creation and its care is seen to be a duty or obligation. Caring for place via sustainable agriculture allows ecological agrarian and religious environmentalist concerns to be adumbrated and put into practice, as seen in the beliefs, values, and actions of members of Hazon and Koinonia, respectively. How the values and practices of both Jewish and Christian North American religious agrarians in regards to the local, health, and justice are similar and different constitute the key thematic chapters of the dissertation.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Todd J Levasseur.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2011.
Local: Adviser: Peterson, Anna L.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2011
System ID: UFE0043603:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0043603/00001

Material Information

Title: From Values to Practice Sustainable Agriculture and the Return of Place in North American Religious Agrarianism
Physical Description: 1 online resource (314 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Levasseur, Todd J
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2011


Subjects / Keywords: agrarianism -- agriculture -- american -- berry -- ecophenomenology -- environmental -- ethics -- hazon -- history -- koinonia -- north -- religions -- religious -- sustainable -- wendell
Religion -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Religion thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: This dissertation investigates the emerging phenomenon of North American religious agrarianism. My argument is based upon both literature review and fieldwork that explores the religious, ethical, scientific, environmental, and ideological motivations that two religious communities use to justify their participation in ecological farming practices. The communities are Hazon, a national progressive Jewish food group, and Koinonia Partners, a Protestant lay monastic community founded by Clarence Jordan located in Americus, Georgia. By combining lived religion and network theory into what I term a "lived network" approach to religion, I analyze how individuals within these respective religious communities put environmental ethics and values based on both contemporary science and traditional religious practices and texts into embodied action, especially as these relate with various agrarian ideals, including the practice of organic/ecological farming. My research methodologies include semi-structured interviews with community members and leaders, participant observation, and archival research. The argument I offer is that the distinct North American lineage of ecological agrarianism begun by Wendell Berry is merging with a religious environmentalist concern for the health of the planet. This mix is resulting in a religious agrarian worldview where religious identity and values around three interrelated concerns-for locality, health, and justice-are motivating segments of North American religions to practice sustainable agriculture. This embodied practice signals a growing concern for place in subsets of North American religions, where place is believed to be a Divine creation and its care is seen to be a duty or obligation. Caring for place via sustainable agriculture allows ecological agrarian and religious environmentalist concerns to be adumbrated and put into practice, as seen in the beliefs, values, and actions of members of Hazon and Koinonia, respectively. How the values and practices of both Jewish and Christian North American religious agrarians in regards to the local, health, and justice are similar and different constitute the key thematic chapters of the dissertation.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Todd J Levasseur.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2011.
Local: Adviser: Peterson, Anna L.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2011
System ID: UFE0043603:00001

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2 2011 Todd Jared LeVasseur


3 To my Mother, who passed; my Daughter, who joined; and my Wife, who sustained


4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank my committee, and especially my chair, Anna Peterson, for her guidance and deft editing skills. I thank the people I researched for their time and willingness to share their dreams and experiences with me. I thank the University of Florida, and especially the faculty, staff, and graduate students in the Department of Religion for helping me realize a dream. Thanks also go to the Religion Department at the College of Charleston where I found a place to teach while finishing writing. Lastly, I extend a heartfelt thanks to all my teachers, friends, and family members, who are too many to list, and include high on this list the organic farmers who have let me pull weeds and harvest crops on their farms.


5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 8 CHAPTER 1 SUSTAINABLE RELIGION, SUSTAINABLE ETHICS? ................................ .......... 10 Introduction Taking Stock ................................ ................................ ..................... 10 Re ligion, the Environment, and the United States ................................ .................. 11 Religious Agrarian Communities ................................ ................................ ............. 16 Whither Agrarianism? ................................ ................................ ............................. 19 Chapter Outline ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 23 2 PREPARING THE BED ................................ ................................ .......................... 26 The Big Picture ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 26 Why Food? ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 26 Why Farming? ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 30 Industrial Agriculture/Farming ................................ ................................ ........... 30 Sustainable Agriculture/Farming ................................ ................................ ...... 33 Sustainable Agriculture: Land Health ................................ ............................... 34 Sustainable Worldview: Community Health and the Local ............................... 37 Sustainable Worldview: Spiritual Health ................................ ........................... 40 Sustainable Worldview: Ecology/Natural Systems ................................ ........... 43 ................................ ................................ ....................... 45 Why Re ligious Values? ................................ ................................ ........................... 52 Theory and Method: Lived Religion ................................ ................................ ........ 67 Theory and Method: Network Theory ................................ ................................ ..... 73 Theory and Method: Grounded Theory ................................ ................................ ... 75 Agrarianism ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 80 Religious Agrari anism ................................ ................................ ............................. 90 3 KOINONIA AND CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS AGRARIANISM ................................ ... 96 Lay of the Land ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 96 A Demonstration Plot for God ................................ ................................ ................. 96 Clarence Jordan ................................ ................................ ............................... 98 Koinonia in the 1960s ................................ ................................ ..................... 101 Koinonia from the 1970s through the 1980s ................................ ................... 102 Koinonia in the 1990s ................................ ................................ ..................... 105 Koinonia in the 2000s through Today ................................ ............................. 107 ................................ ......................... 109 New Monasticism and Schools for Conversion ................................ .............. 1 12


6 The Agrarian Example of Koinonia ................................ ................................ ....... 119 A Brief History of Christian Farming ................................ ................................ ...... 129 Ecological Ethics, Sustainability, and Christianity ................................ ................. 133 4 HAZON AND JEWISH RELIGIOUS AGRARIANISM ................................ ............ 139 The Spirit of Adamah ................................ ................................ ............................ 139 North American Politics and Judaism ................................ ................................ ... 140 Judaism, Ecology, and Relationships with the Land ................................ ............. 144 Jewish Agrarianism in North America ................................ ................................ ... 147 Jewish Environmental Thought ................................ ................................ ............. 149 A North American Jewish Vision of Transformation ................................ ....... 155 Shearith Israel ................................ ................................ ................................ 160 Lived Jewish Farming Networks ................................ ................................ ..... 163 5 THE LOCAL ([FARM] LAND) ................................ ................................ ................ 168 Localizing Agrarianism ................................ ................................ .......................... 168 Religion, Ethics, and Land ................................ ................................ .............. 172 Bioregional Thought about the Land ................................ .............................. 176 Taking a Stand in, on, and of the Land ................................ ........................... 180 Jewish Values and Practices about the Land ................................ ....................... 183 Fresh and Local ................................ ................................ .............................. 184 Local Health ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 186 Hazon and the Loca l ................................ ................................ ...................... 193 Christian Values and Practices about the Land ................................ .................... 197 The Sacrality of Local Creation ................................ ................................ ...... 198 Designing Locality ................................ ................................ .......................... 203 Demonstr ating Permaculture on a Local Scale ................................ .............. 204 Farming Practices that Benefit the Local ................................ .............................. 208 Hazon ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 209 Koinonia ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 212 The Local: Coda ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 215 6 CONCEP TS OF HEALTH ................................ ................................ ..................... 217 From Soil to Bodies, Health Matters ................................ ................................ ..... 217 Human Health ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 217 Spiritual Health ................................ ................................ ............................... 218 Physical H ealth ................................ ................................ ............................... 222 Farm Health ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 227 Societal Health ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 231 Animal and S oil Health ................................ ................................ .......................... 234 Planetary Health ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 245


7 7 JUSTICE FOR ALL: FROM SOIL TO WORKER, FROM INDIVIDUAL TO COMMUNITY ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 251 A Concern for Justice ................................ ................................ ............................ 251 Politics and Food ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 251 8 CONCLUSION: A HARVEST OF IDEAS ................................ .............................. 273 A Changing Landscape (of Farmlands and Religious Studies) ............................. 273 ................................ ................ 274 Place/s, Boundaries, Resilience, and EcoPhenomenology New Futures for Religion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 283 Closing Arguments ................................ ................................ ............................... 292 REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 295 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 314


8 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy FROM VALUES TO PRACTICE: SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND THE RETURN OF PLACE IN NORTH AMERICAN RELIGIOUS AGRARIANISM By Todd LeVasseur December 2011 Chair: Anna Peterson Major: Religion This dissertation investigates the emerging phenomenon of North American religious agrarianism. My argument is based upon both literature review and fieldwork that explores the religious, ethical, scientific, environmental, and ideological motiva tions that two religious communities use to justify their participation in ecological farming practices The communities are Hazon, a national progressive Jewish food group, and Koinonia Partners, a Protestant lay monastic community founded by Clarence Jo rdan located in Americus, Georgia. approach to religion, I analyze how individuals within these respective religious communities put environmental ethics and values based on both contemporary science and traditional religious practices and texts into embodied action, especially as these relate with various agrarian ideals, including the practice of organic/ecological farming. My research m ethodologies include semi structured interviews with community members and leaders, participant observation, and archival research.


9 The argument I offer is that the distinct North American lineage of ecological agrarianism begun by Wendell Berry is merging with a religious environmentalist concern for the health of the planet. This mix is resulting in a religious agrarian worldview where religious identity and values around three interrelated concerns for locality, health, and justice are motivating segments of North American religions to p ractice sustainable agriculture. This embodied practice signals a growing concern for place in subsets of North American religions, where place is believed to be a Divine creation and its care is seen to be a duty or obligation. Caring for place via sus tainable agriculture allows ecological agrarian and religious environmentalist concerns to be adumbrated and put into practice, as seen in the beliefs, values, and actions of members of Hazon and Koinonia, respectively. How the values and practices of bot h Jewish and Christian North American religious agrarians in regards to the local, health, and justice are similar and different constitute the key thematic chapters of the dissertation.


10 CHAPTER 1 SUSTAINABLE RELIGION SUSTAINABLE ETHICS ? Introdu ction Taking Stock takes as its starting point that religious values are present in the philosophies and practices of agrarian exemplars writing and farming in the Unite d States. In this task, I draw on several fields, including religion and nature theory, environmental ethics, and North American religious history, which together allow me to study, delineate, and understand this growing religious phenomenon. My disserta tion focuses on two religious communities, Koinonia Partners in Americus, Georgia, and Hazon, a national Jewish food group with statewide chapters, including in Atlanta, Georgia and Gainesville, Florida, where I carried out research (see below). These com munities embody many agrarian practices and values, including three constellations of such values and practices that I explore in chapters five, six, and seven, respectively. These are fidelity to the local, health, and justice. My research project investigates if, how, and if so, which agrarian values and S. I use a case study approach which allows for comparisons and contrasts to be made between religious practitioners from two faiths investigating what agrarian values are present in their own lives, how these arose, and how these influence communities of faith and the lifestyle choices of practitioners within the respective communities. A case study approach also allows for a more n uanced understanding to emerge about how these people use their beliefs to support agrarian values and practices, but who do so from an understanding and perspective that is unique to their religious tradition and own life histories. This


11 intersection of both agrarian and religious belief and teaching, coupled with the interaction of their respective values and practices, is an understudied phenomenon of a rapidly greening American religious landscape. This dissertation thus takes as its starting point th is interaction and intersection and proceeds to analyze and investigate specifically how agrarianism is combining with and influencing religious beliefs and practices to create an emergent U.S. religious agrarianism. Religion, the Environment, and the Unit ed States Global religions, and especially within various subtraditions, are undergoing what climate destabilization to changing to more efficient, eco friendly light bulb s in places of worship and practice, religion is rapidly getting involved in sustainability initiatives and projects. An increasing number of religionists are claiming that the future landscape of ape being shaped equally by post Darwinian insights about evolution and increasing findings from environmental sciences (Taylor 2004). 1 understanding of the environment is adequate without a grasp of the religious life that xiii). While in part an essentialist normative claim, this scholar like many other s, ral environment within which humans are embedded. 2 1 The philosopher Roger Gottlieb also argues t his same conclusion (2006), and he passionately analysis and criticism of such a religious environmentalist turn, see Tomalin (2002, 2004). 2 A claim with a long history within anthropology as seen in the groundbreaking work of both Roy Rappaport (1979) and Victor Turner (1967), to name just two.


12 I take as another central starting point that humans are indeed embedded metabolizing bodies that need calories in ord er to survive. 3 How we grow, harvest, and consume our needed calories thus becomes an activity that can potentially take on religious overtones and even religious attributes of its own. It is also an activity that can be influenced by religious beliefs, customs, and practices. Therefore, the role of farming, and specifically the worldview/s behind agricultural technologies and types of farming methods, becomes a topic about which religious environmentalist values, beliefs, and practices are inherently co ncerned. This dissertation accepts the growing consensus that future religions ( and in my case, those in the United States acceptance with the recognition that to understand our environments, we must underst and our religions. Given that the most recent and emergent U.S. version of agrarianism is in large part about the human relationship and interaction with the environment (see bel ow), then it is important to understand what religious attributes attend to t his relationship. It is also important to investigate if and how these religious greening of U.S. religions. Lastly, it is important to analyze if and how religious agrarian beliefs and practices are influencing the beliefs and practices of more mainstream religions in the U.S. 3 t without the peculiar transformations that (2007: 1).


13 I will now briefly touch on why my study examines religions in the U.S. From the standpoint of biological materialism and the quest for susta inability, the United States country consumes twenty 4 From the perspectives of both environmental justice and the need for h umans as biological organisms to live within sustainable limits, this is clearly a problematic figure. 5 Furthermore, there is an articulate, sustained, and active environmental history and contemporary environmental movement, or rather movements, within th e U.S. 6 The books and articles devoted to this aspect of the American gestalt are legion and growing, as is the consciousness within the American populace of environmental issues ranging from climate destabilization to sus tainable agriculture issues (van Wormer, et al 2007). It is foolhardy for scholars of American religion to disregard this history and the growing impact such environmentalist beliefs and values play in American religious production: past, present, and int o the foreseeable future. As I write this in December of 2009, the international community is meeting at Copenhagen, Denmark to update the Kyoto treaty and generate a new international agreement about climate change. Citizens and the media of the U.S., on both left and right, are weighing in on the pros and cons of committing to such an agreement. 4 Based on various measuremen ts and studies, the Vitous ek et al estimate that on a species level, Homo sapiens globally consume 40% of the total net prim ary productivity of the planet (1986) 5 Regarding living within biological limits, see Har din (1993) and Ehrlich (2008). For literature criticizing the U.S. (and the Global North in general), and Washington, D.C. consensus neo liberal economics in particular, see, Mander and Goldsmith (1996) and Conca and Dabelko (1998). For a rebuttal of som e of these arguments, see the work of the economist Jagdish Bhagwati (2004). 6 For an accessible introduction to this environmental history, see Merchant (2007). See also Roderick Wilderness and the American Mind (2001), and Kirkpatrick Sal


14 Religious leaders in the U.S. are actively adding their voice and perspective to this debate. One conclusion that can be drawn from this is that environmental issues, both local and global, are actively entering into the concerns and teachings of various national and regional religious bodies. As religions are reified social constructs that have fluid, changing, and contested concepts of what qualifies as sacre d, holy, and legally obligatory relationships and duties, then it becomes the job of religion scholars to study how and why these concepts and categories are changing, including those religious concepts and categories that relate to nature and environmenta l issues. 7 One area of human/nature relations is the human (and thus religious) relationship to food and how food is produced and consumed. Given the material environmental dimension of food production; the value laden social, political, and ecological g oals and normative claims of agrarianism; and how these relate to sustainable food issues (which are part of a larger sustainability milieu) that some religions/religious bodies are becoming cognizant of, then the study of this emerging environmental dimen sion of U.S. religions becomes an area of concern and study that religion scholars are beholden to engage. A further reason to study religions in the U.S. is because of the lengthy historical role U.S. religions have played in U.S. politics. Citizens from within U.S. religions have actively lobbied their fellow believers, their neighbors, those from other religious bodies, and the government -from local to federal levels -on everything from abolition of slavery to temperance to engaging with Native America ns to abortion and to same sex marriages. What does this history contribute, if anything, to the emerging religious 7 Regarding the social construction of religion, see both McCutcheon (1997) and Burton Mack, who the other systems of signs and changing concepts and the power laden social construction of what counts as sacred, see Chidester and Linenthal (1995), and Anttonen (2000).


15 agrarian concern of sustainable (culturally and environmentally) food production? More specifically, what advocacy networks, if any, do my case studies belong to that help shape and influence their religious agrarianism? Given the active role religion in the surprise that religions and religious networks are beginning to actively comment upon and lobby about environmental issues, includ ing those related to sustainable agriculture My research in part explores this legacy of U.S. religious history. Lastly, compared to other Western nations, religious identity and beliefs still constitute a large part of the identity of the vast majority of the American public. Various polls report that nine out of ten Americans believe in God or a higher power while others suggest that over 70% of Americans identify with some variety of Christianity. Coupled with the aforementioned polls about environmental values and concerns within the American public, it behooves scholars to investigate the interaction of religious belief and environmental behavior in the U.S. This does no t necessarily mean there is a causation between religious belief and environmental practice, but rather such study should be undertaken to help the community of scholars understand if such links exist, and if so, how pervasive and effective they actually a re. For example, religion and nature scholar Anna Peterson comments that, little if any empirical and historical evidence. The paradox of modern environmentalism is that while pro environmental values have become mainstream in the U.S. and many other parts of the world, anti 2006: 376).


16 inde ed the way many people think about important moral and intellectual issues, and an expansion of environmental ethics to address religious traditions and ideologies is an 2006: 378) if true, then this is a step to which religi ous scholars must pay attention. Of course, such debates about religious belief and action blamed western Christian beliefs, and thus actions based on those beliefs, for th e body of knowledge about religious belief and practice regarding environmentally centered behaviors. Religious Agrarian Communities Within this context of United States agrarianism (outlined below) and especially North American and U.S. religious history, I have chosen two religious communities fo r my case studies. Chapters three and four respectively, give greater detail about these communities. Here I will give a br ief introduction to each. One is a Protestant lay monastic community called Koinonia Partners. Koinonia is a 501c3 profit sharing intentional community that is located on an approximately 600 acre campus. The community consists of about twenty full time members, as well as others who live on site as interns or as guests in residence to see if they would like to become members. Clarence Jordan (1912 1969) founded Koinonia outside of Americus, Georgia in 1942 when Jim Crow racism was still rampant through out the region. Dallas Lee, biographer an began Koinonia as an experiment in interracial living, inspired in large part by his doctorate in Greek New Testament from


17 the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also had received a degree at the Georgia State College of Agriculture at the Unive vision was to unite the races in a voluntary life of simplicity; in effect, a religious experiment (drawing especially on Acts 8 ) based on shared farming responsibilities and voluntary simplicity. Jordan, along with his wife, named the community Koinonia, with the Greek term koinonia summer of 2009 I spent two weeks living in residence at Koinonia, conducting interviews and participating in farm duties with the me mbers and interns of the community. Along with repeated follow up phone and e mail interviews and return trips, argue is in part a continued experiment in intentional Chri stian agrarian living. The other religious community I study is Congregation Shearith Israel, an egalitarian Conservative Jewish synagogue in Atlanta, Georgia. Shearith Israel is partnered with Hazon, a recently formed North American progressive Jewish f ood group with offices in New York City and San Francisco. Hazon works with various Jewish temples and synagogues around the country and helps them find local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms that synagogue members then join (see below and also chapter two for more information on CSAs). My research for this case study consists of repeated visits to the Congregation, visits to Riverview Farms (the CSA that the Congregation partners with), interviews with the Rabbi and various members of the 8 those who believed were of one hear t and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles gave in Lee 1971: 25).


18 syna gogue and those responsible for organizing the CSA Congregation partnership, a synagogue in Gainesvi lle, Florida that began a partnership with Hazon in late 2009. Taken together, this fieldwork allows me to speak about Hazon broadly, and the two Jewish communities in particular. I chose Jewish and Christian communities because these are the two predomi nant religious groups in the U.S. This especially holds in terms of membership for Christianity, but also in terms of the social and financial networking both religions contain. Followers of certain branches in both religions are also extremely active in lobbying the U.S. government and this political capital is a potential resource for religiously motivated political concerns pertaining to U.S. agrarianism. This religion government interaction is built upon a unique U.S. history where both Judaism and C hristianity (and especially appeals to both the Hebrew Bible and New Testament made by citizens within these faiths) have contr ibuted more than any other religions found in the U.S. in advocating for progressive social change. As my project investigates, parts of this legacy are now advocating for progressive agrarian and environmental change via modern religiously based agrarian and religious environmentalist values. However this agrarianism is both similar across Jewish and Christian religious identit ies, yet at the same time distinct for members of both traditions. I maintain that understanding such similarities and differences will help scholars understand emerging concerns and motivations that attend to American religions and how these religions in teract with and are shaped by environmental issues. My case study approach also allows for a regional


19 perspective on religious agrarianism and provides an entryway into issues of politics, environmental justice, and religious production with regards to ag rarian environmental issues in the South. Whither Agrarianism? I will fully explore agrarianism in chapter two so will only briefly introduce some key concepts in this introduction. Agrarianism is a response to industrial agriculture and governmental poli cies that support this type of farming. Given this, contemporary agrarianism in the United States privileges sustainable farming as a hallmark of a responsible culture. The values that imbue contemporary agrarianism include fidelity to farming lifeways, thrift, ecological literacy, concern for local economies, and the belief that sound, sustainable farming is an art form. These hallmarks of agrarianism highlight the need for scholars of religion to connect the values expressed in agrarianism and those ex pressed in religiously based agricultural communities and/or religious communities that support agrarian values, as these synergies often overlap and can be mutually reinforcing. For example, t he Christian theologian Norman Wirzba writes that: Agrarianis takes seriously the failures and successes of the past as they have been realized in our engagement with the earth and with each other. Authentic agrarianism, which should not be confused w the sustained attempt to live faithfully and responsibly in a world of limits and possibilities. As such it takes seriously what we know (and still need to learn) about the earth the scientific ecological principles that gove rn all life forms and what we know about each other the social scientific and humanistic disciplines that enrich human self understanding (2003: 4). For members of the religious communities I study, these concepts of limits and responsibilities, coupled wi th deliberate and intentional living centered around their faith and the teachings of their faith, help to form a guiding vision and ideal that dictates their


20 lived behavior. This behavior is reflected in and practiced by the members as they attempt to em body agrarian ideals of food sustainability by supporting local food production and engaging in eco friendly and environmentally responsible farming methods. Such behavior, enforced, inspired, and reaffirmed as it is by religious teachings and beliefs, is a phenomenon worthy of study. In my research I categorize three phenomena (of many) that are compatible with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) In the United Stat es, organic farming has grown exponentially over the past ten years. This growth is both financial, with sales of organic produce numbering in the billions of dollars, and applied, with the number of farmers seeking organic certification numbering in the thousands and the amount of acreage certified organic by the U S Government numbering in the millions. 9 Various studies show that this increase in consumer demand for organic products is a result of health, labor, epicurean, and environmental reasons (Yi ridoe, Bonti Ankomah and Martin 2005). In response to this growing consumer market, some farmers have shifted to organic agriculture for economic and soil health reasons; some, however, choose to farm organically because of ethical and spiritual reasons (Ableman 2005; Bolduc 2008). Besides this increase in organic food sales, there has also been an exponential craft products are sold. These products need not be organic, but most markets do have 9 http://www.organicnewsroom.com/2006/05/organic_sales_continue_to_grow.html On certified ac reage, see the US Department of Agriculture: http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/organic/


21 organic products present. 10 The third recent phenomenon within a larger agrarian rubric is the bourgeoning CSA movement. into an advance contr act with a farmer, paying up front for a share of the produce the farm will produce over the coming growing season. Such arrangements help farmers secure capital overhead at the beginning of the season when they most need it, and customers are willing to take risks with what the farmer is able to grow in exchange for receiving local produce on a weekly basis once the produce is ready for harvest. CSAs can be organic or non organic; can include animal products; shares can be picked up on site or can be del ivered (for example, some CSAs in New York state deliver to customers in New York City); and some have contracts where members must put in a certain amount of labor on markets represent one of the majo r goals and ideals of agrarianism: developing and supporting local food systems that recognize and operate within the limits of local sustainable and which contribute to ecosy stem health; this is where organic/sustainable agriculture methods of farming explicitly enter into the agrarian worldview. As noted earlier, during this same period of time, U S religious communities, organizations, and institutions have demonstrated an increased environmental concern (Oelschl aeger 1994; Tucker 2003). This increase in environmental concern among some U S religious bodies does not necessarily correlate with the growth of organics as an industry and as farming practice, or with the growth 10 one third of all vendors offer certified organic produce (Fromartz 2006).


22 that support sustainable farming practices. H owever, some religious communities in the U S have chosen to express their burgeoning environmental concern by participating in or supporting organic and/or local farming practice s. Given this developing phenomenon, my research project seeks to explain why U S religious communities from diverse sub traditions are involved in organic farming and the consumption of organic produce, and how such involvement both contributes to and ex emplifies a maturing U.S. religious agrarianism. The scholarly literature on the interaction between religious belief and agrarianism, especially sustainable agriculture, is sparse. One reason behind this dearth of literature is because social scientists tend either to study why individuals chose to farm organically or they analyze the growth of organics as a whole industry. Furthermore, studies about the motivations of organic farmers usually emphasize market forces and/or environmental concerns held by either farmers or consumers (Willer, Yussefi Menzler and Sorensen 2008) rather than religious, ethical, and value based motivations. Within the field of religious studies, the few completed studies on sustainable agriculture have focused on individuals or monastic communities (Gould 2005; McFarland Taylor 2007), but not a comparison of two or more religious communities. There are theological treatises about organic farming (Fick 2008) but these are written from a position of faith by members of a faith tradition and are not objective, comparative scholarly studies. Equally, a few scholars in the fields of both religious studies and sociology are beginning to theorize about the influence contemporary environmental science has exerted on religious belie fs and practices (Taylor 2 002: 49;


23 Proctor and Berry 2005 ); in general, however, this is still an underdeveloped field, and as a whole, the discipline of religious studies has tended to marginalize religion and agriculture issues. 11 My research thus serves to help fill this lacuna in scholarship and analysis of religious agrarianism and religion agrarian interactions within the U.S. Overall, this dissertation helps fill this above gap in current understanding by providing knowledge about why some people of faith are motivated to practice and support the agrarian practice of organic farming, especially in a U.S. context. It also briefly analyzes the tension that can exist in communities of faith among secular environmental science, environmental ethics, and religious faith and how this tension impacts the practices and beliefs of religious practitioners (Harrison 2006). Lastly, it looks at the inverse of this, analyzing the reinforcing synergies between secular environmental science, environmental ethics [an d especially emerging food issues, seen for example in Pollan (2006, 2008) and Salatin (2007)], and religious faith and how their interaction influences the practices and beliefs of religious practitioners (Chapman 2000). Chapter Outline This work is divid ed into the following chapters: Chapter two explores agrarianism and lays the groundwork for what I am calling religious agrarianism. This chapter looks at the goals, motivations, p ractices, and ideologies of United States agrarianism as it has developed over the last century. The 11 Norman Wirzba and Ellen Davis are active in agrarian scholarship but their work is largely written from a theological perspective and uses as an exemplar Wendell Berry and his Christian (Pr otestant) based agrarianism. Scholars focusing on Global South agrarianism deal with religion ( Parajuli 2001 ), but they do not focus on Global North agrarianism and/or religion. Lastly, rural studies undertaken in departments of geography (mainly in Euro pe and Canada) tend to elide religion from their research programs (see Cloke and Little [1997] and Haartssen, et al [2000]).


24 groundwork for understanding agrarianism as a movement with implicit and explicit religious attributes will also be laid out for the reader. By drawing on theoretical perspectives from religion and nature lived religion conne ctions and concerns with American religions in general, and my case studies in particular, an argument about religious agrarianism and its synergies with greening mainstream religions will begin to take shape. Chapter three builds upon this argument and of fers an in depth analysis of Koinonia: its history, current structure, and contemporary environmental vision and agrarian practices. Key quotes taken from interviews with community members and community literature will be used to argue that Koinonia is in dicative of both a larger trend within Christianity in the U.S. to become more green, and also that Koinonia itself is an exemplar of a bourgeoning U.S. religious agrarianism. A brief history of farming -and especially sustainable farming -and Christianit y is provided in this chapter to help give added context. Chapter four in turn offers an in depth analysis of Congregation Shearith Israel and Hazon. I analyze the history of both the Congregation and Hazon, describing their relationship with one another, where and how Hazon fits within a larger Jewish tradition of advocating justice issues, and how both the Congregation and Hazon taken together evidence an emerging re articulation and re formulation of what it means to be Jewish l and political realities. This chapter also provides a brief overview of the history of Jewish, and especially sustainable, farming. Chapter five is the first of three chapters that compares and contrasts various themes that arose from my research. This chapter explores the theme of the local: of


25 locality and place and the environment and what these mean and how they contribute to subjects at Koinonia and Shearith Israel /Hazon. This chapter weaves in environmental philosophy outlines how a religious agrarian turn towards the local is indicative of a lived religious environmentalism, and looks at how values and practices relating to environmentalist ideals are both forme d and performed. Chapter six analyzes the theme of the health of land, community, and the body. I compare and contrast the role religious beliefs and practices play in both the idealized construct of health (of the land and the body) and the embodied prac tices my research subjects put in place to create this perceived understanding of health of the body and land. Chapter seven investigates the understanding and goal of justice (social and environmental) and how religious beliefs shape this idea and motivat e my subjects to work towards creating and achieving this ideal. Chapter eight offers a conclusion to my research, a summary and recapitulation of my arguments, and outlines the significance of an emerging religious agrarianism on the U.S. religious la ndscape. It also comments on potential avenues for future research so the field of religion and nature can continue to investigate how various U.S. religions


26 CHAPTER 2 PREPARING THE BED The Big Picture This chapter covers a variety of interrelated topics, all of which are central to the argument that I am making throughout this dissertation. Briefly, in this chapter I Argue that bringing food as both trope and actual unit of analysis into a study of religion in North America is important explain why farming is a valuable focus for exploring food issues dis cuss ways how the study of values surrounding food, farming, and the environment can influence our understanding of religion in North America outline my theoretical framework, including exploring methods and theories germane to both lived religion and netw ork theory give a short history of agrarianism as it has developed in the United States concept is central to my argument. With these central concepts in place, I move to an introduction of my two case studies in chapters three and four Why Food? Mammalian bodies need calories in order to survive. As mammals, humans consume and imbibe liquid and food items, which are then metabolized so that our cells, muscles, tissues, org ans, and blood all receive nourishment in order that we can move, work, play, pray, reproduce, think, and contribute to society. Given that eating food is a central act in which all humans everywhere participate, coupled with another pan human universal, r eligion (Atran 2002 ; Boyer 2001; King 2007; Counihan and Van Esterik 2008) then current trends suggest that the interplay between the two is growing


27 leading website for the fast foo d industry e ased in May [2011] by the International Food Informat ion Council found that nearly 60 percent of Americans are now familiar with food sustainability issues. From best selling books like Michael articles and editorials in the New York Times, TIME magazine, and USA Today [sic], 1 This revolution is an amalgamation of environmental concern, a concern for animal and farm worker welfare, artisan sensibil ity, and, lastly, religious sensibilities. In regards to American religion -and in particular its historical relation with food -foodstuff is not only good or bad for your body but also can be good or bad for your soul. Whether based on popular culture or on scientific studies, personal food choice food indeed carries a moral valu e for my research subjects; it also carries an explicit religious value and reflects ethical deliberations that are environmental in calculation. This religious ethical turn means that how we get our calories becomes an exercise in value reasoning and d eliberation, with our menus and plates becoming loci of meaning making. As Jeremy Benstein, founder of the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning, states www.qrsmagazine.com/outside insights/case humane?utm_campaign=20110606&utm_source=jolt&utm_medium=email Accessed June 6th, 2011.


28 T he meaning making of food choices has led one advocate of sustainable farming to claim that Holthaus 2009: 258). For example, t he fascinating (Ayers and Durning1994) expertly highlights the value laden ethical complexities that accrue to one of the most common consumer product s that is sold from every gas station to every restaurant 2 Such complexity is one reason some criticize grounding conte mporary environmental ethics within religious frameworks: the legal and textual traditions (at least for Abrahamic religions) which have determined orthodox practices in regards to ethics were developed in pre modern times well before the Industrial Revolu tion and current post Bretton Woods, neoliberal, Washington Consensus policies. Those who hold this view argue we need totally new ethical frameworks using current political parlance and legal mechanisms (Nash 1989). However, others cogently argue the o pposite and advocate for explicitly grounding environmental ethics within religious cosmologies (Gustafson 1996) The atheist and famous Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson comes down on the side of religious environmentalism, in that he accepts more people are religious than are atheist/agnostic, and he recognizes that religious beliefs motivate ethics. Therefore, Wilson hopes to build bridges between secular scientists and religious environmentalists, including especially environmentally concerned evange lical s (2006). 2 For an articulate exploration of ethical conundrums that highlight the need for equity in food politics and economies of scale and the political structures set up that compound rather than facilitate just purchasing decisions see eds. Agyeman, Bullard, and Evans (2003).


29 Given the above debate about religious environmentalism, the starting point of my dissertation rests in this realm of the meaning making, value laden power of food choices, and the role religion plays in these choices. I argue that religious bas ed values and ethics do indeed motivate people to put into practice sustainable, environmentally friendly behaviors (itself a problematic concept, especially given that entropy exists). For religious agrarianism, food is an important marker of value, iden tity, and custom as it has been in almost all human cultures, past and present. Furthermore, food is a point of contention in our current American consumer culture as well as in our socially constructed religious systems. Although food can be fiber that is sweet, bitter, salty, and sour, it can also be a polysemous material item that becomes a site of contested reli gious meaning making (McDannell 1995; Chidester and L inenthal 1995; Tweed 1997). Lastly, via food aid and governmental subsidies, food is a contested political object, and via genetic engineering, it is a contested scientific object (Kent 2005; Bello 2009; Ntzenadel and Trentmann 2008). Given the production of religious, ethnic, political, and material meanings that entail to food, and given our physical need to consume it, it makes sense to use food as a lens with which to analyze issues related to both religion and nature and American religion. W history, o r those li ke Shortridge (1998) look at food in a religious context and how it acts as a boundary and/or marker of ethnicity, my study looks at food in an American context of heightening environmental awareness. In this context, food is not only an environmental iss ue, but also a religious environmental concern. Given the ecological footprint of food items, and the growing concern about environmental issues in both


30 food. It also m akes sense to develop an analysis of agrarian and environmental ethics, and of the emergent religion food environment phenomenon now occurring on the American religious landscape. Why F arming? The evidence for this turn towards food as a social and environment al issue in contemporary American religions become s clearer once we look at the material actions, implications, and goals of both conventional (i.e. industrial) and sustainable farming. To help articulate these goals, I give a brief history of what the term industrial agriculture/farming means, and then contrast this with sustainable agriculture/farming. This history helps highlight how the farming and growing of food becomes a central ingredient in understanding religion and food issues in mo dern America. Industrial Agriculture/Farming Over history humans have adopted various approaches to procuring food calories, ranging from foraging, gathering and hunting, nomadicism, fishing, pastoralism, swidden agriculture, and settled industrial agric ulture. Most humans today in the United States obtain their food f rom the modern industrial farm the agrarian Eric Freyfogle descriptively visualizes in the following passage: Imagine a typical high tech farm field, American style. Massive graders have f lattened the field, making it accessible by the biggest industrial machines. Fencerows are long gone. So are the old farm creeks and ponds. The land manager begins the new year by killing every living thing on the land except microscopic organisms. A s ingle species of life is then introduced, perhaps a bioengineered wonder quite different from any wild plant. The species probably cannot survive without constant human for ap about nutrition or ecological effects. Chemicals are deployed to keep other


31 noisy machines. Key decisio ns are made in offices far away. If a human hand touches the resulting produce, it is likely that of a low paid worker on an assembly line that washes, sorts, and packs. Her building may have no windows. She has probably never seen the field that produc es the crop. The people who buy the produce will know nothing more. We can think of this farm scene as a contemporary counterpoint to a medieval cathedral. More than a place and human construct, the field is a cultural emblem of who we are and of how we understand our place. It is as value laden as any stone edifice. That the values embedded in the field now enjoy influence we must readily admit (2007: 8). The purchase and consumption of the vast majority of farmed (and processed) industrial food items grown by the methods described by Freyfogle takes place in supermarkets that dot the American landscape. Furthermore, almost one quarter of all Americans daily consume at least one meal from a fast food restaurant; such consumption makes these restaurant s some of the largest purchasers of industrially farmed food. It is also important to note that the food items purchased in these restaurants and supermarkets are grown both domestically and internationally, as the modern agricultural system is now global in its reach and impact. For example, s ome studies suggest that the average food item on an American plate has traveled approximately 1,500 miles, with an average of ten calories of energy going into the production, distribution, and purchase of what bec omes just one calorie of energy in our bodies. In large part the ability to purchase and consume the wide variety of food items available on supermarket shelves and on restaurant menus is the result of cheap, abundant oil and fossil fuel energy; refrigera tion and shipping technologies; the invention of new, larger, and more powerful tractors and combines; a centralized government and energy grid; fossil fuel based weapons developed during WW II which then became the basis of modern synthetic agricultural c hemicals; the development of the land grant University system; international trade and shipping; and both corporate


32 and University sponsored research into improving and creating new hybrid strains of seeds, including especially the w ork of Norman Borlaug ( Kunstler 2005; Pollan 2006; Conkin 2008; LeVasseur 2010a). The development of hybrid seeds, coupled with developments in new technologies for irrigation, refrigeration, and distribution of the products grown by these seeds (and policies and subsidies that favored the adoption and use of these technologies), is common ly referred to as the Green Revolution. Over the past seventy years, this Revolution has allowed Homo sapiens to bring the most land in the history of agriculture into cultivation; has created an abundance and surplus of calories never before seen; and ha s helped contribute to the exponential growth of human numbers. This r evolution has not been without sustained, articulate, and impassioned criticisms. For example, Rachel Carson (1962), Vandana Shiva (2000), Raj Patel (2007), Andrew Kimbrell (2002), and Wendell Berry (1977) have all made strong criticisms of the industrial agricultural system that emerged out of the Green Revolu tion They, along with others (Jansen and Vellem a 2004; Clapp and Fuchs 2009), lambast the centralized control of such farming; claim there are deleterious environmental impacts that the rampant use of agro chemicals has on birds and other flora and f auna of the American landscape; and argue that transnational agribusiness corporations undertake biopiracy and colonization of food i tems seeds, and agricultural lands. The gestalt of emerging critique s against industrial farming includes arguments against food aid policies, global trade agreements (targeting especially the World Trade Organization [WTO]), criticisms of genetically mo dified organisms (GMOs), and criticisms of the modern supermarket system that has developed around selling cheap food (in both


33 terms of cost and nutrition) in carefully controlled retail environments. These and other scholars further argue that industria l farming uses toxic chemicals that poison our bodies and landscapes and lead to the saliniz ation of soil; rapidly draw s down aquifers; and contribute s to climate destabilization. A shared concern is held about the impacts that mechanized, corporat e contr olled farming in the United States has had on rural America, so that today less than two percent of all Americans are involved in farming. Taken together, t hese various criticisms of industrial farming have entered into domestic and global environmental discourses and are a motivating factor behind what I am calling religious agrarianism. I will expound upon these critiques during this dissertation, and they will be further encountered in the narratives of my research subjects Sustainable Agriculture/ Farming Critiques of industrial agriculture presume that there is an alternative that is less destructive, a For a gro wing number of Americans this perceived better alternative re. Sustainable Agriculture is more popularly known as organic agriculture, while some supporters use the term eco 3 P ractitioners and supporters of such agriculture express a wide range of worldviews and engage in a diverse set of practices which are united by a belief that industrial agriculture is destructive socially and ecologically. They also share the belief that there is a better 3 This reflects not only the role of the United States Depart ment of Agriculture (USDA) in codifying national organic standards, but also to the polysemous and contested nature of terms and tropes such as For example, Wes Jackson argues that organic agriculture is a subset of sustainabl e agriculture, where the latter also includes natural systems agriculture, perennial polyculture, permaculture, biodynamics, and other sustainable farming systems.


34 way to feed people and to treat nature, and many believe that regiona l communities and economies are both strengthened by supporting local, sustainable agriculture. To begin, the goals of sustainable agriculture are to feed humans by adopting farming practices that are healthy for the soil, the crops and animals being grow n, the larger environment in which these flora and fauna reside, and for human bodies and human societies. Some of these farming practices include building soil nutrients and humus by making and applying compost; using GMO free seeds and, when possible, h eirloom and organic seeds; the disavowed use of almost all petroleum based and synthetic chemicals that are seen as being toxic and polluting to soil microbes and human bodies; the humane treatment of animals grown for human consumption; the humane treatme nt of farm workers; and the development and maintenance of on farm biodiversity, through both planting polycultures and creating on site habitat for life forms that are not directly part of the farm economy but nonetheless are seen as beneficial. 4 It is a lso acknowledged that some supporters and practitioners of sustainable agriculture are involved solely for economic reasons, while others are motivated in part by economic concerns but also subscribe to the worldview that is commonly associated with sustai nable agriculture. Sustainable Agriculture: Land Health One aspect of t his worldview is offered by t he environmental philosopher Paul Thompson, whose 1995 book The Spirit of the Soil: Agriculture and Environmental Ethics is one of the earliest sustained an alyses of the ethics of sustainable agriculture. 4 For more in depth analysis and introduction to these concepts and practices, see LeVasseur 2010b, c, and d. It must be noted that some chemicals (pesticid es, fungicides, and herbicides ) are legally permitted and actively used by sustainable/organic farmers and this is another point of contention within organic subcultures. Another point of c ontention is the creation of organic monocrops that are planted for increased yields in order to both meet and shape market demands.


35 the key production activities of agriculture are easily the most spatially extensive human activities havin g : 1). H land, but this does not mean that they can be trusted to safeguard environmental 1995: 14) 1995: 15). He outlines the philosophical par adigm of s ustained and increased yields and argues that this is the 1995: 47). For Thompson, this normative productionist ethic and paradigm contrasts with that of agricultural and agrarian stewardship, wh 1995: 75 6). Of direct import to my d issertation is his point that Agriculture described in Judeo Christian [sic] religious teachings is not typical of farming during the post feudal era of conc ern here. Nineteenth century farmers could not have learned much about farming from the Bible. What is more probable is that folklore has provided the substance of agrarian stewardship values, and that religion has been selectively applied to sanction co mmon wisdom. Religious teachings supporting stewardship allowed rural people a warrant for accepting common wisdom in the form of a moral and religious obligation. The religious sanction for stewardship was undoubtedly important for rural people who base d their value systems on faith, but the folkloric roots of agrarian stewardship reveal a philosophical dimension that might be missed in a purely theological interpretation. As stewards of their land, farmers were thought to be acting in their own interes t. Stewardship is not something that farmers undertake altruistically, nor is it a religious duty that farmers perform at the expense of their agricultural land use. Stewardship duties do not oppose use, but are components of wise use. Stewardship does not arise as a constraint on the virtue, that all farmers would hope to realize in service to the self interests


36 created by ownership of the land. So agricultural stewardship is entirely compatible with self interested, anthropocentric use of n ature ( 1995: 74). has tended to dominat e the majority of United States environmental thinking over the is arguing, rather, that farmers directly engage with and utilize farming landscapes for self interest ed reasons that can nonetheless also be environmentally sustainable, and that this practical tradition of stewardship has folkloric, ethical, and religious dimensions. Thompson continues by categorizing ecologically based knowledge of ecology relating soil, water, plant, and animal life. These relations are understo od as at least partially regenerative, and the good steward develops a working knowledge of how to enhance, rather than degrade, the regenerative capacity of soils 1995: 77). Thompson sites Wendell Berry as being an exemplar of agrarian stewardship, thus providing one of the key figures who provides a link between environmental and religious agrarianism that I will explore later in this hallmark of sustainable systems sustainable agriculture attempts to regenerate and build the fecundity and health of agricultural soils and farm systems, holding that this leads to healthier, more nutritious foods, human bodies, and ecosystems ( compared to produc tioni st, industrial agriculture which is seen as being degenerative). Thompson does recognize that society and farmlands are better served by a holistic approach to agriculture. Such a holistic approach sees agriculture as a self


37 contained ecosystem, as well ( 1995: 119). Rather than privileging holism, however, he instead argues for a systems theory approach to sustainable agriculture ( 1995: 136). He argues that by adopting the latter approach we are bette r equipped to talk about sustainable systems, and can thus attempt to model and create sustainable farm systems that have minimal internal threats to their stability. Thompson thus takes a fairly anthropocentric, human use approach to creating resilient s ustainable farm systems, but one that advocates wise stewardship and concern for human and non human ecosystems (as compared to his characterization of linear, input and energy intensive industrial farming that has as its sole goal increased yields in orde r to capture market shares). Sustainable Worldview: Community Health and the Local Thompson includes in his argument about stewardship a concern for the health of local landscapes, bodies, and communities. Another leading advocate of sustainable agricultu re is Wes Jackson, founder and director of the Land Institute in Salinas, Kansas Agriculture 5 Jackson is a trained botanist and plant geneticist whose 1985 book New Roots for Agr iculture is an early and emblematic call for sustainable agriculture that more fully expresses a concern about local health. As with Thompson, Jackson begins with a critique of industrial farming, writing n been that, geologically speaking, it surely stands as the most significant and explosive event to appear on the face of the 5 fix a bio tech technical fix would be based on mixed perennial seed producing (1985: 3). See www.landinstitute.org


38 agriculture is a global disease, which in a few places has been well managed, but overall has 2). 6 He also lambasts the productionist increased yield on less land] are measured 1985: 16) so that 1985: 21). ( 1985: res, but they seldom err on 1985: 28). Jackson offers a vision of sustainable farming practices and ethics in contradistinction to this error filled chemotherapy of modern industrial farming. To dependent and more self renewing, then the new agriculture, based more on the principles of nature, can afford us a greater opportunity to take without thought for the morrow and still be sustained. As we look to a new agriculture, we cannot nor should we separate our agriculture from necessar 1985: 64). Two points stand 6 than the life it supports, a is itself now dying. It is a death that is utterly senseless, and portends our own. In nature the wounded placenta heals through plant succession; enterprising species cover wounds quickly. The human 1985: 10). These sentiments about the soil being alive, of it being its own matri x imbued with lifeforce, is a central tenet of sustainable agriculture and of contemporary agrarian philosophies. This premise (the soil is alive and its health equals the health of human bodies and societies) thus motivates farm practices (such as applyi ng compost or planting green manure, or applying only chemicals that are seen as being non toxic to soil microbes and organisms) that attempt to sustain and build the fertility and life of the soil.


39 out here. The first is that Jackson is arguing what Thompson argued ten years later that our agriculture should be based on understandings of sustainable systems, includin g their abilities to be resilient and to regenerate; and that our modern industrial agriculture is perceived to be antithetical to these abilities. The other is that Jackson is arguing that sustainable agriculture requires a religious ethics of sustainabi lity. 7 privileges perennial fruits and seeds. Jackson claims that the benefits of an agriculture based on herbaceous perennial seed production are that it reduces soil loss; reduc es energy consumption; reduces pesticide dependency; builds healthier soil and food; reduces dependency on commercial fertilizers; and halts the decline of domestic genetic germplasm. Lastly, this system of agriculture is decentralized, mirroring the dece ntralization of photosynthetic plants that capture solar energy ( 1985: 111). 8 For Jackson, such a sustainable system of low input perennial fruits and seeds will be part 1985: 1 22) and which will entail a shift in ethics and values towards our farms and systems of farming. This shift will tender a recognition that locality is important. It is important for land stewardship, a localized land ethic (the implications of which are investigated in Becoming Native to this Place [1996]), and for concepts of robu st health. This health will include a focus on local economies, farmland, farm culture, 7 ant as an ethic cannot be written but must evolve own argument: communities of practice enable sustainable agricultural values to be embodied and put in to place. Religious communities are on the vanguard of such embodiment, as I explore throughout this dissertation. 8 On biomimicry, see Benyus (2002).


40 human bodies, and the bodies of plants and animals. Similar concerns permeate the writings of other advocates for sustainable farming, from Wendell Berry to Michael P ollan, and are found in literature on bioregionalism, which will be further explored in chapter five. Sustainable Worldview: Spiritual Health Although presented as separate sub headings, it is important to note that in the sustainable worldview, concerns a bout stewardship, the local, ecology, and individual health are all interrelated. To explore the concern about individual spiritual health (which includes the health of those in religious communities), I provide a vision of sustainable agri culture seen in the work of the Protestant agronomist Gary Fick. His 2008 book Food, Farming, and Faith New Testament, where an appeal to scripture is used to evidence the need for contemporary sustainable agricultural practices. change to more sustainable patterns of living, they must be knowledgeable and motivated. Faith or worldview is a g xvi). See here the privileging of faith and religion, or ideas and worldview, in the need to move towards s ustainability (a move in the l ineage of Lynn White, Jr. with sustainability in general. 9 Fick then positions agriculture as a human activity that is 10 This echoe s Jackson and 9 2008: 2). 10 the way we think about eating is a cultural phenomenon. It is a part of the culture of agri culture. At the same time, biological and physical conditions limit what is possible for agriculture to produce. We need to


41 Wendell Berry, who challenge farmers to place their work within the context of localized limits. Therefore, Fick appeal s to holism and underlines the crucial place of ethics and religion in analyses of food and agricultural issues. reading of scripture leads him to claim that stewardship is the foundation of the biblical view of agriculture ( 2008: 17). Part of stewardship is local knowledge ( 2008: 2008: 55). Fick concludes in a vein that is s imilar to both Jackson and Thompson: that systems thinking should inform our agricultural decisions and practices. Furthermore, religious and ethical beliefs, as well as farm labor issues and farm economics, are part of systems -and thus of a farm system as much as tillage machinery and crop and animal breeds ( 2008: 127). Fick concludes his call for religiously informed sustainable agriculture with a list of what he 2008: 179 80). These tenets of sustainable agricu holisti 2008: 179 80). Scripture, Culture and Agriculture (2009) is another recent publi cation that approaches agrarianism from a religious (in her case, theological) perspective belonged to a culture that recognized land care as the life and death matter it be aware of both culture and nature if we are to understand the basic parts of o 2008: 5).


42 unquestionab ly is. Thus, they can provide a vantage point from which to view and develop a nuanced critique of our current cultural practices regarding land use and food 2). She also maintains that the Bible has a theological land ethic ( 2009: 25 6) and this is especially found in Deuteronomy ( 2009: 27). Just as Emma Tomalin writes that a religious environmentalist view brings with it a reinterpretation of tradition, rather than a traditional interpretation, I argue that both Fick and Davis take a n environmental agrarian view towards Scripture. Therefore, they both offer a reinterpretation of tradition, in large part because environmental agrarian discourses and critiques of industrial agriculture are by definition only possible in a post Green Re volution world. 11 We see that influential advocates of sustainable agriculture, including Thompson, Jackson, and Fick, underline the moral and religious dimensions of alternatives to industrial agriculture. My dissertation further explores this dimension by explicitly focusing on the religious dimension of religious agrarianism. As we will see, this aspect of the sustainable worldview is gaining adherents throughout North American religions, with Koinonia and Hazon providing vanguard examples of how relig ious ethics influence sustainable farming practices. 11 more than twenty years, I have Christian tradition, is not obviously green and has certainly not been read by Christians whether scholars or laity as a work that immediately connects us personally with nature. In the past, the Bible has generally not made Christians green in their attitude to creation scripture to find evidence of how Biblical peoples dealt with the challenges of agriculture, it must be pointed out that if these challenge s (pests, drought, blights, and others ) were present back then, then as Jackson writes there might be an inherent problem with till agriculture itself. A critique of the general historical ent erprise of agriculture is addressed later in this chapter.


43 Sustainable Worldview: Ecology/Natural Systems Besides the focus on ethics and religion by the above sustainable farming advocates, all equally point to the need to understand how eco systems work; point out that farms are managed ecosystems; and two explicitly point toward the need for a holistic worldview within which sustainable farming is but one component. As with any activity that is managed and is part of a system, the values and ethics system man agers bring into their decision maki ng will affect the management and structure of the system. Thus, values and ethics shape systems, and thus impact, create, and shape the even larger systems (environmental, social, reli gious, political, economic, and ot hers ) within which these are embedded. Almost every critic of industrial farming, and thus almost every proponent of sustainable farming, claims that the former is anthropocentric, mechanistic, reductionist, productionist, linear, polluting, and unsustain able. In contrast, they claim that sustainable farming is cyclical, regenerative, holistic, organic (in worldview), adaptive, and harmonious. 12 Thus the ethics and values of both systems are constantly seen to be at odds with one another, and critics of t he first inform their criticisms by the holistic values and ethics they hold. Their worldview, and thus their idealized version of a sustainable planet, is directly threatened by the actions and values of the industrial system and worldview. Furthermore, for religious agrarians a theistic understanding of Creation provides motivation both to criticize industrial agriculture, and to support the goals and ethics of sustainable agriculture. This cleavage of worldviews, ethics, and values, and thus the practices they lead to, can be grouped into two sets of competing views and ideals about agriculture ( Beus 12 For an in depth look at holism, organicism, and the rise of a Western ecological worldview (and how this impacts the current understanding and quest for sustainability), see Worster (1996).


44 and Dunlap 1990). They explain that the worldview of conventional agriculture is based upon seeing humans as being independent from nature so that w e are able to dominate it; advocates for centralization in farming politics and markets; believes in exploitation of farm lands, seeds, and now even the genome; and is premised upon competition, both in markets and with anything in agricultural fields that gets in the way of production. In comparison, they explain that the worldview of alternative agriculture is based upon seeing humans as being dependent on nature so that the goal becomes living in harmony with nature; advocates for decentralization in fa rming politics and markets; believes in showing restraint when working with farm lands, seeds, and the genome; and is premised upon community, both in the market and in fields. Many, if not all, of these attributes of alternative agriculture represent ke y goals and ideals of broader environmental philosophies and movements. Themes such as diversity, community, and restraints are of central import in foundational works in environmental ethics, including A Sand County Almanac and especially ). Silent Spring also underlines these themes, and her concern about the impacts of agrochemicals on bird populations helped create the ferment for environmental ethics to influence the ethics and worldview s of those in the sustainable agriculture movement. A growing number of religion scholars argue that this turn towards environmental sustainability is rapidly spreading through and influencing religious institutions, churches, and people of faith. I doc ument and analyze the way these themes are evident in alternative agricultural practices and movements


45 However, farming practices can tell us more not only about ecological themes, but also about place. Farming practices and philo sophies both reflect and reinforce the connection between religion and ecology, and also another connection, between ecology and place. Many people write about this, including Jackson, Berry, and Wirzba. The philosopher Edward Casey, in his 1998 book The Fate of Place gives an Western w orld since antiquity. He adds to this dialogue about ecology and place by noting that place as a philosophical concept has been giv en short shrift, as the West has fix ated upon Space and Time (1998: x). nt about p lace analyzes ancient myths and religious narratives; Hellenistic and Neoplatonic thought; early modern theories of place and space; and concludes with modern thinkers who are on the vanguard of the reemergence of Place over Space and Time in late modernity and postmodernity. Casey writes in this Leibniz is a disdain for the g enius loci : indifference to the specialness of place, above all 1998: 133 4). 13 This indifference to the parameters, boundaries, and uniqueness of place is one of the criticisms of industrial farming: the same farming technologies an d methods are used to grow the same strain of seeds for the same international markets the world over, irregardless to local social and environmental 13 Reg God is Red (1994), and what this might mean for indigenous sustainable agriculture in a North American context. The author Nigel Pennick shares a st suffer from what John Steele calls effect upon [an] st ate of mind or well : 7).


46 consequences. 14 Critics argue that this process is inherently destructive to farm land, farmers, farm econ omies, and human and non human bodies. For example, Vandana and Time) as interchangeable components of inert matter to be manipulated and traded as commodities leads to monocultures in the mind generate monocultures of culture and landscapes that are damaging to women, ecosystems, and sustainable regimes of traditional subsistence agriculture (1993 ). Casey continues, as rediscover the special no 1998: 201). His answer is by way of the body. In this answer he points towards the phenomenological tradition found in Whi tehead, Husserl, and Merleau Ponty the seduction of endless space (and the allure of serial time), place is beginning to escape form its entombment in the cultural and philosophical underworld of the modern 1998: 339). inherent worth and va lue of pl ace is one of the major goals driving sus tainable agriculture. This concern is seen in the emergence of the Slow Food movement; of et ing lo cal produce; of Terroir (Trubek 14 For another perspective on this process of privileging a univers al and uniform space over a particular, culture bound place, see both Harvey (1990) and Hornborg (1996). For an in depth exploration of what this does to us on both individual and cultural levels, and also to the unique places of the planet, see Berry (20 0 0 ).


47 d of finding and using local and heirloom seeds, as seen for example in the work of Seed Savers Exchange. All of these sub movements within the sustainable agriculture milieu advocate for the importance of a es soils; what is grown on the soils; a reduction in distancing from the places where our food is grown; to even a specific, place based taste that imbues locally grown food and value added items. It also includes movements towards place appropriate, loca lly adapted varieties of flora and varieties of flora and fauna produced by industrial agriculture. It is also seen in the experience of sustainable farmers themselves, a s many argue that farming is an embodied act. In one sense, sustainable farming requires paying attention to local conditions and variables; and in another, it requires the actual use of the body and its senses and limbs and muscles to dig a trench, turn a compost pile, run a tractor, harvest a crop, prepare a booth at a farmer s market, shear sheep, and to physically perform countless other farm related tasks One weakness in work is that it focuses on the voice and ideas of Caucasian male phil osophers. In part this is a reflection on the Western philosophical tradition, which is defined largely by those thinkers. However, there also exist other strains in modern and postmodern philosophy that also point towards the reemergence of place. One of these strains is the feminist care tradition, especially as it relates to animal ethics and embodiment, and thus by extension, how diet and ethical care can impact human place practices (see synergies with the rise in concern of how farm animals are tre


48 subcultures for example, Kadhigar fa rm in Maine) (Donovan and Adams 2007). Another strain is ecofeminism, with its call for intersubjectivity and a r eturn of the erotic (Glazebrook 2004). Further strains advocating for a return to e mbodiment and the need for this return in order to move towards sustainable ethics and lifestyles are seen in ecowomanism, deep ecology, and the bioregional movement. A correlate of embodiment is a re attunement to place, as many in these traditions are motivated by the devaluing of embodiment and care based intersubjectivity. When people make an effort towards dwelling in embodiment, and this is coupled with the goal of ecological justice and the worl dview of sustainable agriculture, then it becomes possible for a re attunement to place to also occur, as place underlies embodiment (or vice versa: embodiment can only occur in a given place). Given the above aspects of and trends within a sustainable ag riculture worldview, it is no surprise that many within this worldview have a strident critique of industrial agriculture. These include critiques that industrial agriculture relies on toxic chemicals and petroleum products; is inherently brittle due to o ver reliance on a few hybrid strains of food items; it disregards the welfare of animals and workers; and it produces food items devoid of flavor and nutrients (Norberg Hodge, et al 2001) Meanwhile, advocates of mainstream, industrial agriculture claim that sustainable farming is unrealistic in its assessment of industrial farming and criticize it for a variety of reasons. These include claims that sustainable farming is nostalgic and unreflectively opposed to progress ; is unable to produce enough yield to feed 6.5 billion humans ; its crops are susceptible to ro t, blight, pests, and drought because of its


49 reliance on organic farming techniques ; and lastly that it is flawed in its overall c laims of superiority because there is minimal to no scientific pro of b ehind its varied claims about its own benefits and its claims about the ills of industrial farming. The difference in worldviews between these two types of farming, including the views one side holds about the other, influence values, emplaced bodie s, and farm landscapes. They also can make for contentious political lobbying and uncomfortable neighbors, especially when both views and thus practices occur within a bordered com munity. And, just as sustainable farmers are involved in the production of place, so involved in the construction of places, only their places are quite different from those constructed by organic growers. And so we have two landscapes, two visions of community and two understandings of the world in scribed in the same geographical space. Therein lies the major site of friction between Hetherington 2005: 30). There are other criticisms against sustainable agriculture Many of these criticisms are directed at USD A certified organic products and the production and consumption of such products. For example, much of the organic produce on U.S. grocery store shelves are actually grown in Global South countries, especially during the North American winter, so that the se are export crops with a large eco logical footprint. Furthermore, by growing for export, local farmers in poorer countries do not grow enough food to meet their own caloric needs (Fair Trade products are one response to this criticism). Another common criticism of organic produce is that it is too expensive and elite, catering to a bourgeoisie foodie upper class. Such arguments point out that health food stores and other shops where organic produce is sold tend to


50 be located in areas of affluence. As where fresh produce (organic or industrial) is hard to come by. Issues of class and race tend to underlie this strain of argument. Another criticism of sustainable agriculture is that not enough people are interested in becoming organic farmers. This means there will be a lack of willing farmers and people to train and thus supply will never meet demand. Coupled with this is a charge that a reliance on smaller scale polyculture acreage demands more wor kers and farmers and there are not enough of either to meet the needs of organic ideals. farming. These critics point to the large monocultures of current organic farms while others maintain that organics have been taken over by corporate agri business interests. 15 Given this exploration of agriculture, it must be noted that there is another view that criticizes both industrial and sustainable agriculture, especially if either forms are practiced at increasingly larger scales. This third view of agriculture, with a broadly conceived understanding of agriculture as being dependent on settled communities of farmers who are engaged in domesticating a variety of plant specie s, is proposed by a minority of scholars, agronomists, and cultural critics. As already seen, Wes Jackson criticizes the reliance on till agriculture (as compared to no till agriculture) and how this method of plowing soil leads to soil loss (a similar ar gument was originally made by Edward Faulkner in 1944). Another critique of human agriculture and the domestication of plants and animals and how this domestication reflects an urge to dominate nature 15 For one example of a fairly nuanced and balanced perspective on these criticisms, see Fromartz (2006).


51 can be seen in the wor k of Kirkpatrick Sale (2006). M eanwhile, b oth Richard Manning (2006) and Paul Shepard (1998) criticize the human practice of agriculture, with each author sharing a similar argument about how human genes and societies evolved in small scale gatherer hunter enclaves so that with the onse t of settled agriculture past. Another critic is Weston Price, who traveled the globe researching and reporting on indigenous diets and nutrition. He found that once food items from modern agric ulture beg an to be consumed, never before seen tooth decay and other physical deformities entered into indigenous communities (2006). Lastly, one of the most popular and widely read criticisms of agriculture comes from the neo animist and communitarian Daniel Quin n. His books Ishmael (1992) and The Story of B 10,000 years ago when humans ceased to be members of an evolutionary community 16 Quinn argues that this shift to settled, large scale, domesticated agriculture has lead to exponential population growth and our current ecocrisis (and should not be confused with smaller scale itinerant agriculture practiced by Leav ers). 17 16 Yi Fu Tuan (1974) notes that peoples of the ancient East had a long history of destroying and altering their environments, often for agricultu ral reasons. Clarence Glacken (1967) equally shares a detailed process of human nature relations in the West and the historical role of agriculture in human alteration of environments. 17 the perceived role agriculture played in this event, see Taylor (2010: 78 80).


52 What all of these authors have in common is a critique of modern agriculture its methods, technologies, underlying epistemologies, and the affects these have on our view and relationship with nature; and the impact that agriculture has on the hea lth of human bodies and communities. They also criticize the impact agriculture, and especially modern agriculture, has on the health of soil, bodies of water, non human animals, insects and microbes, and the climate. While most would be sympathetic to a nd would most likely promote sustainable agriculture over industrial agriculture (as lifestyle. For these authors, humans made a deleterious and damaging mistake as when we settled into permanent locations and began to actively replace native ecosystems with tilled agricultural fields approximately 10,000 years ago. By looking at industrial farming/agriculture, sustainable farming/agriculture, and criticisms of any form of settled agriculture, we are able to see how both food and farming, and the values behind and wrapped up within them, are an important aspect of religion in America. This is especially true for the emerging religious agrarianism about which I write. Mo reover, because values are so central to the worldviews behind both systems of farming, and because values are such an important part of religion and and what role valu es actually play in religious belief, faith, and practice. Why Religious Values? We have seen how any kind of agriculture involves religious, ethical, normative and value laden claims that reflect a worldview. For religious agrarians, the values that per meate their worldview inspire and motivate them to actively participate in sustainable farming practices. This is because r ny different


53 ways. A religion may be operationally defined as a systematic set of narratives values, and myths that are maintained and passed on by charismatic figures and institutions and that typically put forth a cosmology that is tethered to a belief in some sort of supernatural being and/or realm. Religious beliefs offer sanctuary in times of need; sped and membership in a religious community can provide stability and a sense of purpos e. The myths, narratives, and practices within a religion also provide life cycle rituals and influence lived practices like pilgrimage and prayer. They also offer a code of ethics to live by (for example, the Ten Commandments) and an annual calendar of activities in which a person can participate (for example, the High Holy Days for Judaism) Religion, or rather, religions, also help people generate and codify values so that they can attempt to live a life in line with the ideals and teachings of the re ligion to which they belong and also with their own personal ethics (which are in large part shaped by the religion to which they belong/were raised in). Religious values help Americans navigate both a contentious political system and a d iverse religious landscape (Eck 2001). Yet, religion is also importantly about difference, negotiation, and conflict, whether over competing conceptions of the sacred and where and how the sacred manifests, to competing values and ethics. Such conflict results in the fo rmation of subtraditions within larger traditions, and also leads to the development of new religions or bricolage between existing subtraditions. This history of religious conflict is also true in regards to conflicts over value laden food choices, inclu ding food choices that explicitly support sustainable agriculture, as well as those that by default gloss over any


54 understanding of how food is grown so that this distancing is itself a subconscious normative position. Given that ( Prothero 2005: 5) it is important to develop religious literacy. One area where this literacy is lacking, both from within and without traditions, is what religious subtraditions have had to say about food and agriculture, past and present, especially given the current ecocrisis, and specifically the values that underlie food and agricultural decision making regimes. This dissertation is one corrective offered from the field of religious studies. Furthermore, i n a highly re ligious country such as the United States of America, religion and religious values play central roles in many landscapes: political, ethical, economic, institutional, and, increasingly, environmental. 18 Because values are central to discourses about susta inability and thus sustainable agriculture, it is important to be clear on what we mean when we talk about values. It is equally important to be clear about what we mean when we talk about religious values and how these relate to the values of sustainable agriculture. Many values held by America ns are rel igiously based and/or impacted, such that be sought in the American revolutionary tradition. The fundamen tal elements in this a body of 18 For a sustained, articulate examination of the history of the interac tion between religion and politics in America, see Wuthnow (1995). For an interesting look at the cleavage in American values and politics analysis poi nts to the difficulty of changing values in individuals and groups. In regards to religious values learly the major forces mobilizing volunteers in volun teers are now becoming actively involved in sustainable agriculture networks and politics.


55 thought whose most relevant origins can be traced to the leading Puritan theologians Van Allen m and the rise of market capitalism in the U.S. is also relevant here (2003). If Weber and Van Allen are correct, then one of the underlying bedrock values of America (both secular and religious) is a right to private property and the right to do with thi s property as the owner pleases. Some environmentalists criticize this claim, arguing that market forces (and especially subsidies) only reinforce the unsustainable ab T model, where corporate behemoths are fiscally rewarded by the right of farmers to do what they please on their own privately owned lands. 19 Many who make these arguments, even if they acknowledge that the USDA and other governmental regulatory agencies mon itor industrial farming practices (including especially the use of toxic chemicals), claim that nonetheless the government is beholden to agro corporate interests and that these regulatory mechanisms are unsatisfactory and weakly enforced. This debate is central to the sustainable/industrial divide, and it exemplifies the politically contested landscape of agriculture, and thus its underlying values, in modern America. Such a historical understanding of values (and rights) in our country has led to an ext reme individualism that has become the de facto dominant value of modern America. This is because of personal choice. The means to achieve individual choice, they tend to think, dep end on economic progress. This dominant American tradition of thinking about success 19 For a perspective that views the private property based modern market as a religious system (and one that is inherently destructive to other religions, and human and non human communities), see Loy (1997).


56 does not, however, help very much in relating economic success to our ultimate Bellah 1986: 22). Many today ad d that this privileging of the individual does not lead to the development of sustainable environmental values or to environmental success in fact, one of the insights of ecology is that all life forms (and all systems) are interconnected. When one life f orm becomes privileged in nature, it tends to eventually encounter limits that lead to its demise and/or systemic processes bring it into balance with the rest of the system. This argument holds that privileging individual, rational economic man [sic], an d the value system based on this view of humanity, is one of the key contributors of the current ecocrisis. 20 The communities I study provide an alternative reading to this rampant individualism, and this is one of the reasons we should study religious ins titutions in general: because religious institutions are sites of value creation and maintenance. Scholars can also investigate if the values held in religious communities temper the individualism of modern America; or if they reinforce this individualism for Meanwhile, in his systematic study of values, Richard Kilby defines values as conceptions of the desirable or the worthwhile (and their opposites). This will include t hat which is subjectively felt to be worthy, important, better or best, good, or right (and 1993 1993: 20 Herman Daly makes such an argument from within the discipli ne of environmental economics (2010). See also Paul Hawken (1994 ).


57 36). 21 As conceptions of the desirable, values motivate, influence perceptions, shape decisions, and help structure identities and hopes for the future. However, there often times exists a gap between the ideal of a professed value and the reality of putting that ideal into lived practice. This holds true for religious ethics and values, and also to values from those that guide a marriage to those that guide a parent child relation. Such a gap is especially true for environmental values, which may be restrained from being put into practice by competing internal interest s, values, and desires; and especially by systemic limits within our larger political and consumer systems. Regarding specific values and practices related to food, Anna Peterson writes, utopian moments, encounters with nature and with other people that embody possible alternatives to life as usual. They can help to reeducate our desires for more sustainable, humane, and mutual relations to nature. At the same time, consumption and food issues underline the gap between what we say we care about and how we act. In no other sphere of life, highlights the complex, contested internal and external nature of trying to align religious and environmental food values with practices that enable these values to be realized. 21 Kilby makes an important distinction between values and attitudes, writing that a valuation implicit), involve some amount of feeling emotion (are not cold beliefs), and motivate and produce an actions tend person expresses an attitude. Rather, many attitudes are borrowed ready made from others with no ideational or value foundation. Also, some attitudes are the result of such needs and psychodynamic processes as hostility, anxiety, and ego 1993: 38).


58 Values do not adhere only to individuals; a group can also express them, and they are equally shaped and challenged by other groups and/or mem bership within a group. As can be imagined, this process is loaded with power struggles and politics, and is influenced by gender, level of education and income, and prestige awarded to certain members of a group. However, this process of value emergence occurs in groups (kin, sport, institutional, religious) and it is a process in which all of the group members participate. Because putting sustainable agricultural values and their varied motivations into practice is so difficult, it might be easier to e mbody and practice them in a group setting. This group setting can be a food co op, a Commu nity Supported Agriculture sustainable agriculture. My case studies and various resea rch subjects are all members of some type of these group settings, and many join precisely because these group settings enable them to put into practice their sustainable agriculture, religious environmentalist, and religious agrarian values. The process of value construction and practice in America is also contentious and volatile because of the First Amendment, which guarantees the separation of church and state. Without a top down codification of values that is enforced by a government, it becomes poss ible for an at especially in relation to food (this does not mean the Government does not have legal rules that govern food production, which themselves are reflections of values), to exist. Given the contested nature o f values in such a large postindustrial country, the process a continuous development towards a more fragmented Van Deth and Scarbrough 1995: 4). If correct, we can expect people turn to


59 religious groups for grou nding, as such groups are a setting where people with shared values attempt to deal with fragmentation (of their own lives, of society at large, and of environments). Religious individuals and groups will also tend to make coalitions (political, religious environmental) based on shared religious values. My research findings are consistent with these assumptions. A corollary assumption follows from the above statement. This is that people are used to the values of both cheap, abundant food These value s are inculcated in Americans by the ubiquity of fast food chains, food advertising and marketing, and by default that the cost of food in America has remained relatively constant despite inflation in other areas of the economy. Here we can think of Bella the right of individual consumers to buy food shipped a round the world for a low price is a pinnacle of individual choice, and one that externalizes the ecological and social footprints that adhere to this value laden food choice. It is possi ble to also think of anthropocentric religious values that privilege human needs and desires, especially when based on immediate gratification and/or a belief in a transcendent afterlife, over more ecocentric religious values The results of this might pl ay out in a meal at a religious gathering where unhealthy, industrially grown food is served on Styrofoam plates where no one present questions the impact this meal has on the environment. As such, these value systems tend to be at odds with the values an d goals of sustainable agriculture and religious agrarianism. For sure, these individualized and anthropocentric values can potentially fade, but this process of value change will take time.


60 However, t here is a possibility the process of value change i n regards to cheap, abundant food might spe ed up, especially in the case of severe crisis. O ur industrial agriculture system may experience He uses this term in relation to the concept of traditional e cological knowledge, arguing that traditional peoples tend to learn the value of a local resource (i.e. how this resource functions within the larger ecosystem and why and how it is important to the health of both the ecosystem and human community) only af ter they first diminish the resource, develop so that the resource in question becomes appropriately valued and managed once the crisis passes. If this learning proces s is required for societies to learn the value of resources, and if the criticisms of industrial agricultur e levied by Kimbrell, Shiva, and others are correct, then it can be argued that the current linear, input heavy, productionist industrial agricultura l system is rapidly heading society towards a variety of resource crises: loss of ground water (as seen in the rapid drawdown of the Oglalla aquifer); collapse of monoculture hybrid crops due to pests or drought; poisoning of aquifers due to run off of che River drains); the creation and release of a virus, such as swine flu; loss of topsoil; die offs of pollinating honey bees due to toxic ch emicals used in farming ; and salini zation of agricultural soils. Any or all of these could result in a resource crisis that could potentially shift American values about food and agriculture in a short amount of time. 22 22 group fails with decision making about the environment for four possible reasons: (1) the group my have a failure to anticipate a problem before it arrives; (2) when the problem arrives, the group may fail to perceive it; (3) if perceived, the group may still fail in trying to solve it; (4) and the group may try to solve


61 In any of these possible scenarios, we will see the interaction of poli tics and values, and also of a group s social standing and values. Such interaction is indeed already underway in religious agrarian communities. This means religious agrarian groups have the potential to shape the values of individuals, and also, throug h those individuals and their involvement with larger society (through economic transactions, volunteering, and political lobbying), the values of society. Attitudes within religious agrarian groups coalesce ( Van Deth and Sca rbrough 1995: 22) so that religious agrarian desirabilities in matters of action 1995: 29 tran slate their desires, or more accurately, their value orientation, into practice through engaging in the actions and habits of sustainable agriculture, creating what I am calling a religious agrarianism. Their value orientation is explicitly grounded in re ligious environmentalist concerns and these concerns impact their values and thus their 1995: 35). 23 For my researc h problem, but not succeed (2006: 421). This leads him to pronounce a big chal lenge facing humans : 409 410). Here we see again the role of values in the quest f or sustainability. 23 interpenetration of discourses, and tensio ns between discourses, as the different worlds of, say, work and 1995: 36 7). This is one of the reasons putting values into practice is so hard we often labor under different, and competing, value discourses. For example, an avowed v egetarian might be operating under a value discourse of animal rights, and this might inspire them to buy a soy product. Yet, in this purchase, they are also operating under the value discourse of individual choice in a market economy, and this purchase c arries with it an eco logical footprint and supports a consumer system that this same person may claim is harmful to animals and the environment.


62 subjects, this universe o f meaning and habitus (Anderson 1991) includes both religious and sustainable agriculture/environmentalist universes. I conclude this section by briefly turning to key findings from two social scientific studies of food values. One study offers a discourse analysis of Global North green food NGOs and investigates their values and strategies as they actively campaign for more just and environmentally sustainable food systems. The other study uses methodologies from food choice s tudies to investigate the reasons people decide to buy what they buy, where, when, and why, including the values and social conditioning that attends to these decisions. In the first study Tina Huey undertook a discourse analysis of green food NGOs and gr een food movements in a Global North context, including the use of media by consciousness of the global consequences of local action, or the local consequences of global action. The symbolic repertoire of activist groups often includes narrative lore, normative discourse or some reference to overarching principles. For many social oscillating between universality consistent with the claim put forth by religion scholars Fasching and Dechant, who within religious traditions is t 5). My interpretation of this is that sustainable food values are now being promulgated through stories that share and communicate global sustainability discourses and visions. Part of this devel opment of values occurs when people engage in joining


63 consuming sustainably grown and produced goods: Such practices allow environmentalists to embody their values. Fu rthermore, these practices are influenced by story and narrative: chemical farming is bad for the environment and damages sacred soils, whereas sustainably grown products are good for the soil, the environment, the body, and for family members. Such a nar rative story is consistently found in the merchandising of corporate organic products, as well as on sign boards at Such narrative and imagery is increasingly prevalent in m any current forms of sustainable agriculture media: poetry, literature, monographs, podcasts, webpages, and films. For example, the feature film length documentary Dirt than the soil in which these items are grown and/or mined 24 The film presents the now common ubiquitous critiques of chemical based monocultu re farming; namely, how this farming kills the soil and the microorganisms present therein, poisons our waterways, and produces toxic food with no nutrients. The film then argues for a soil loving sustainable alternative, weaving together interviews with many leading global experts and proponents of sustainable agriculture to present this alternative narrative and possibility. I viewed this film as part of the first annual Gainesville (Florida) Environmental Film and Arts Festival, 2010, and observed the question and answer session that 24 www.dirtthemovie.org


64 immediately followed. A local farming couple that practices biodynamic farming and who run s Another panel participant works for the Florida Organic Growers Associa tion and shared how their background in horticulture and their experience with the training that they received regarding the use of about industr ial monocultures being bad and the soil being sacred are not atypical sentiments expressed by supporters of sustainable agriculture. Rather, such value laden narrative statements are often found in multiple forms of media and within varied contexts within sustainable agriculture milieus. globalization of capital, aside from the labor practices of branded clothing manufacturers, : 125). Food (and thus farming) is again seen as a globally contested trope; one imbued with values, and with a concomitant growing religious discourse about specific sustainable food values. 25 Her study concludes by ( 2005: 135). I actually challenge such a conclusion. Rather, I argue that this perceived lack of privileging local solutions is changing. In fact, local solutions are becoming privileged, and religion is playing a role in this process as r eligious agrarians are embodying and bringing to the fore local place based solutions that are becoming more central to the debate, and especially to the solutions proffered, of food issues. This is also seen in a European context, with the rise of Slow Food, and in the UK, where many 25


65 churches and church networks support Fair Trade ideals and companies I expect such trend s to continue, and furthermore expect a strong religious presence to develop within the Global North sustainable agriculture medi a networks Huey investigated I now turn to the second study, where E.P. Koster uses food choice methodology Why does who eat what, when, and where ch highlights the many variables and factors that contribute to what we eat, where, when, how, and why from biology, physiology, and decision psychology, to marketing, economics, and learning psychology (2009: 70 71) Religion and religious values are tw o of these variables, and important ones at that. Koster change much depends also on so called sensitive periods in life. Thus, most of our basic food habits are formed in infancy and early chil dhood and these are hardest to change, but periods like late adolescence when people start living in pairs and form orientations in life such as divorce or retirement are good moments for changes in food habits as 2009: 75). What is telling in this whether religious ethics, taboos, cust oms, and/or rites of passage. Yet, r eligious communities to which people belong tend to influence their members all throughout their life. This includes when people enter into a new community, or when a community attempts to embody new values, all of which have the potential to impact food habits W 2009: 75) it is one that is heavily influenced by values and social peer groups. I found that a number of my research subjects support sustainable agriculture practices precisely because they do


66 want to influence the diets, health, lifestyles, and values of their children as well as those in their respective religious communities In this respect, my findings support the above claim. Lastly, regarding environmental values more broadly, includi ng concern about sustainability, polls suggest that a vast majority of Americans are concerned with environmental issues, ranging from climate destabilization to species extinction to is not st rongly related to social elites, society. 26 Furthermore, both Wall (1995) and Taylor (1995 ) provide arguments which claim that people tend to be motivated to care about the environment when they perceive risks to their own health or the health of those they love. 27 Such an anthropocentric value system need not be at odds with environmental protection, but rather suggests that many people are motivated to care for the environment for values an d genuine concerns related to personal health, safety, and aesthetics. My research both challenges and supports this argument, as will be explained later. What is important to note is that both of the above studies avoid discussing religion directly. My dissertation helps remedy this consistent gap in sustainable food 26 This should not be interpreted though that all American citizens care about the environment, or care about it equally. And for sure there are class, race, and gender differences in this concern and care. For example, Mark Stoll argues that in African American cultural groups, religion is both a central motivator and a maj or cause of activist concerns (2006) Traditionally, these concerns have tended to be social in nature and it was not until the onset of environmental racism in the 1980s that the African American community took a more active interest in environmental con cerns. But even here their approach and values are informed by their religion and tend to be divergent from the approaches and concerns of Caucasian Americans. My experience at Koinonia lends support to his analysis. 27 Jeremy Benstein argues that it is i have pisco centric views of the world; horses, equo centric; and c ats, felino centric (2006 : 54). Yet, he caused environmental crisis argues for exceptional human 2006: 54). For a similarly nuanced discussion about a nthropocentrism, see Katz (2000).


67 studies that use social science methodologies. In comparison to these studies, I argue that we cannot understand agricultural systems and practices without attending directly to religion. However, they nonetheless tell us important things about general food values, including especially that food choice decisions are multi faceted, and that peer groups and social values play a key role in such decisions. Furthermore, any understanding of f ood and farming in North America, and of environmental problems and movements generally, must address religious values. Religious agrarianism provides an excellent case study for exploring the intimate biocultural connections between and mutual shaping of religion (values, practices, institutions, politics, and teachings) and the environment. Theory and Method: Lived Religion Before moving on to an exploration of agrarianism in a North American context, and thus what I mean by religious agrarianism, I brie fly explore my major methodological lenses. This exploration pulls together the values just discussed, and especially values related to food and farming, and highlights why religionists must pay attention to the barriers and successes of how religious gro ups and individuals are able to put these values into practice. Because religious and environmental values are so central to an understanding of religion and nature issues -and of sustainable farming in particular -I utilize a theoretical lens that allow s me to recognize what these values are and how they arise in my research subjects. I also use a theoretical lens that helps explain how my research subjects use their values and motivations to shape larger religious networks and institutions of which the y are part. Therefore, I utilize a lived religion approach in this dissertation. A lived religion approach to studying the phenomenon of religion allows for


68 scholars to make sense of how and in what ways religious subjects shape religious beliefs and val ues; and more importantly, such an approach allows scholars to see how non specialists shape their own religious worlds, at times in concert with and at times at volume Lived Religion in America 28 In essence, lived religion takes the symbolic, material, ideation al, and emotional worlds that lay religious practitioners create and privileges these worlds as being worthy of study. Rather than privileging the religious teachings, theologies, and institutions of elite religious experts, lived religion scholars head t a faith tradition is creating a meaningful religious world that works and makes sense for e increasingly turned to popular sources and lay subjects to tell the story of religion and broad religious cultures, putting us more in touch with what has been call 11). For my shelves. The Madonna of 115 th Street ( 2002) remains the st andard bearer of lived religion scholarship, as it helped lay both the foundation for and legitimacy of this 28 American religious history expert Charles Lippy util phrase is synonymous with lived religion and the latter term is the most popular one used today.


69 approach to studying religion. 29 Or s i some of the key theoretical insights and methodologies of a li ved religion approach, and practice and imagination in ongoing, dynamic relation with the realities and structures of approached in its place within a more broadly conceived and described lifeworld, the domain of everyday existence, practical activity, and shared understandings, with all its crises, surprises, satisfactions, frustrations, ( 2002: xiii is that The study of lived religion situates all religious creativity within culture and approaches all religion as lived experience theology no less than lighting a candle for a troubled loved one; spirituality as well as other, less culturally sanctioned forms of religious expression...Rethinking religion as a form of cultural work, the study of lived religion directs attention to i nstitutions and persons, texts and rituals, practice and theology, things and ideas all as media of making and unmaking worlds. This way of approaching religious practice as fundamentally and always in history and culture is concerned with what people do with religious idioms, how they use them, and what they make of themselves and their worlds with them, and how in turn people are fundamentally shaped by the worlds they are making as they nary concerns of life as these are structured at various moments in history and in different cultures, at the junctures of self and culture, family and social of the world [and] as it is taken hold of by the world ( 2002: xix xx). reflected in my own approach to religion, and thus to my interpretation of religion and agriculture. For example, my qualitative rese arch with members of Hazon/Shearith Israel and Koinonia only makes sense situationally, including within larger debates and ideologies about agriculture, politics, and sustainability. These concerns are reflected in 29 Also see Orsi, 2003.


70 the practices and values, both religiou s and secular, of my research subjects as they attempt to live out their religious agricultural sensibilities. This attempt to live out and practice religiously in in relati onships between people, between the way the world is and the way 2002: xx). This also includes religion in action with the larger biological world, of which agriculture is one important aspect. Orsi himself acknowledges this b emphasis in the study of lived religion is on embodied practice and imagination, as men, women, and children exist in and move through their built and found environments. The material world is not inert backgr ( 2002: xxi). Thus, joining a CSA, planting a row of nitrogen fixing legumes, humanely raising a pig all of these have the potential to become embodied religious acts within a lived religious agrarian worldview. Moreover, religion in action is always transforming, is influenced by and representative of relations of power and gender, impacts culture at large, and is also impacted by culture at vidly opens out the tremendous creativity of religious practice and imaginings as it uncovers 2002: (1997: 11). I argue that the lived religious landscape of contemporary A merica is generating tremendous hybridity, creativity, and imaginings in regards to a plethora of environmental issues and at the same time, this creativity has its limits when the harder work of translating values into practice becomes evident. Agricultu ral landscapes thus become a central focal point where religious environmental imaginings


71 and practices are lived out and transformed, bringing with it ripple effects throughout the larger American cultural, religious, environmental, and political landscap es. 30 through multiple r xi). My research is consistent with this understanding of lived religion, as my work suggests that religious Americans sift through contending layers and realms of meaning ethnic, political, ecological, spiritual as they create, embody, and act out an env ironmentally and agriculturally informed religion in action. Rebecca Gould builds on why it is important to privilege lay religious actors as they work through these multiple realms of meaning. She found in her study of homesteaders in the Northeast th making choices and the choices we make constitute a significant part of the individual and cult : 222). In other words, her homesteading research subjects developed prac tices based on having to make tough choices in a society they viewed as being unsustainable. The process of making these lifestyle choices, and the values that went into these choices and the practices they led to, created a dynamic lived religion that ha d homesteading at its core. She found that this homesteading practice was built on top of and grafted into a larger homesteading 30 at through a living process (including intellectual enquiry) embedded in forms of praxis and plays of power attaching to the expl (1996: 56; my italics). This means that my research subjects arrive at their religious agrarian values by a living process embedded in both religious and sustainable a griculture praxis (and their fusion), while at the same time they attempt to articulate a liberative potentiality, freeing modern food systems from the tyranny of industrial capitalist agriculture.


72 tradition, while at the same time adding to the tradition and bringing it toward new directions. My research represents a si milar finding: value laden sustainable agriculture practices both shape and are shaped by the traditions in which they occur, whether Christian or Jewish. Furthermore, these values and practices are informed by a larger environmental agrarian tradition, w hile at the same time bringing this tradition into a religious direction via lived practice. Lastly, the practices of my research subjects are leading American Christianity and Judaism (broadly speaking) into new directions. Our understanding of lived re ligion, and our accuracy in recognizing and theorizing about it, is further helped by the work of Thomas Tweed. He writes that sightings from sites. They are positioned representations of a changing terrain by an itinerant carto map (theory) is not the territory, but rather reflects the development of a particular field and the standpoint of the person using the theory in a particular place and time. Thus, and akin to Orsi, all theo ries and theorists undertake theory in action. My own interpretation of my research subjects and my research data is thus influenced by my training in religion and nature and American religious history; by my personal experience living and working on orga nic farms and in health food stores in South Carolina, California, Washington, New Hampshire, and Scotland; and by being exposed to sustainability subcultures via this employment history and by studying ecovillages, soil and society, and ecophilosophy in S cotland, England, and Australia (and by being a Willing Workers on Organic Farms volunteer in Greece). My interpretation, and indeed my whole research project, is not to be reified, but rather should be read as a sighting from a site including significant ly the physical sites (congregational buildings, monastic


73 campus, conference centers, telephones and computer, urban cityscapes and rural landscapes, shopping centers and grocery stores, and farmlands) where my research was undertaken. 31 Tweed operates w ithin a lived religion lineage, and brings to this tradition his own else religions do, they move across time and space. They are not static. And they have effects. Th ey leave traces. They leave trails. [They transform] peoples and places, the play with my research subjects and research topic, including especially the realm of values as they pertain to food/farming/the environment. As I demonstrate, the agricultural values and practices of some U.S. religious citizens are not static, they do have effects, and they transform the social (and political) arena and natural terrain. The larger traditions within which my research subjects reside are also being transformed, and out, leading to new ways of viewing human nature interactions within Ame rican Judaism and Christianity. Theory and Method: Network Theory Because food items, sustainability discourses, and religious institutions are now global in their flows, I also utilize a network approach to studying religion and nature issues. This appr oach works in tandem with a lived religion approach, as the network 31 a network of social exchange and in a particular geographical location, and in their work they use collectively constructed professional standards. They stand in a built environment, a social network, and a professional community. In this view, theories of religion are sightings from particular geographical and social sites whereby scholars construct meaning, using categories and criteria they in : 18).


74 transnational actors continuously and creatively construct, transgress, and appropriate the boundaries be tween specific religious and non religious practices and discourses. These multiple situated perspectives (which often lead to contested canons, traditions, p 2005: 237). 32 I echo this statement, and urge religious studies to take as its subject matter biological flows of food (and other material objects) and the religious environmentalist values, discourses, and practices that these flows help create. My research project is one example of taking these flows seriously, including the larger networks within which these flows participate. 33 Vasquez builds upon the above claim, writing elsewhere that places are always interconnecte d and marked with crisscrossing relations of power. This is precisely where the metaphor of networks can be fruitful, allowing us to embed space and the practices of place making in dynamic fields of domination and resistance [where] the worldviews, belie fs, and behaviors of particular individuals cannot be mechanically read from their location in a given network [and where] meaning, orientation, and intentionality are not just commodities that circulate but are constitutive of the networks themselves. Wi thin and through networks, actors carve out spaces to dwell, itineraries, and everyday routines, drawing from religious symbols and tropes to reflect on and orient their own praxis and to produce moral geographies (2008: 168 9). religiously concerned environmental Americans are sacralizing nature, building agricultural environments, and constructing and pa rticipating in sustainable agriculture networks that are local, national, and international, all of which produce moral 32 For a critical, self reflexive exploration of actor network theory and t hus a network approach, see Has sard and Law, eds (1999). 33 Arjun Appadurai similarly writes about the various global flows of ideas, ethnicities, media imagery, technologies, and finances that constitute modernity (what he terms ethno media techno finance


75 and interpretation allows virtually can coalesce in any place that becomes, even if only temporarily, a site for intensive nd if we take Vasquez, Orsi, Tweed, and others product of American religion that needs to be stud ied. They also become sites where the power laden, lived praxis of making place sacred occurs. Furthermore, a lived religion approach allows for us to makes sense of and understand the constantly changing and constructed values, motivations, ideals, pra ctices, teachings, and networks of religious agrarians and how these impact the that it allows for local actors in 2004: 158) to shape their own worldviews and practices; yet it is still vertical in that it recognizes larger structures of power, especially in regards to food production and distribution (and the corporate and governmental politics that shape such production and distributi on). Theory and Method: Grounded Theory The above section outlines the key theoretical approach I utilize in this study. The current section briefly explains the key methodological tools I use. To begin, as this is a study of lived religion, I use methods that help capture the complexity and vibrancy of religion in action as my research subjects navigate and shape complex, interrelated networks that reflect and construct environmental, religious, and agricultural worldviews and material landscapes ( religious and biological). My research is therefore guided by


76 the following sentiment expressed b y Emerson, et al, who write that during my fieldwor k, and especially my repeated visits to my research sites, one of my objectives is to take thorough notes about what I am witnessing and experiencing, and to what I am being exposed. Who are the key actors in the social situations that I am witnessing and in which I am involved? What concerns are expressed, or glossed over, in the various interactions of my research subjects in the (religious) social world they shape and are shaped by? What interactions with nature are occurring, and why? Such questions guide my scholarship and shape my approach to fieldwork. I am also motivated in my ethnography and fieldwork by the following claim from opening to dilemmas in the contemporary w how sustainable agriculture issues are a dilemma of the contemporary world, and the social world of my research subjects sheds insight into how some religions in America are responding to this dilemma. Furtherm of ethical engagement wherein the ethnographer is arrested in the act of perception. This arrest can lead both to a productive doubt about the ongoing perception of the phenomena in interacti on and to the possibility of elaborating shared of mutual subject discovery and critique, an engagement with persons, groups, and scenes that takes into account the dynam ics of our interactions as well as the differences between our locations and those of our interlocutor 19). Because I


77 am familiar with sustainable agriculture issues and subcultures, I am fairly capable of entering into discussion about and obser vation of the material and social anthropological world that is built up around these issues in North American/Western European contexts. As a non practicing Jew and a non Christian, I felt more discomfort and was on a greater learning curve regarding the lived religion component of my research. Entering into religious dialogue and learning about the religious social worlds of people I had never met before was therefore the more challenging aspect of my fieldwork and which provided greater juxtaposition a Besides undertaking ethnographic fieldwork, I utilized grounded theory methodology to help learn about the social, religious, and ethical worlds of my research subjects. Groun ded theory is a subset of qualitative research, which is an inductive approach to generating knowledge about social worlds used to generate theory by numbers [and has] an epistemological position described as interpretivist, meaning that, in contrast to the adoption of a natural scientific model in quantitative research, the stress is on the understanding of the social world through an examination of the interpretation o f that world by its particip 2001: 264). This means that not only does a qualitative approach privilege ethnographic fieldwork as a valid method to capture and help interpret a social world, it also privileges grounded theory. Grounded the 1967: 1 3), versus discovering theory from a priori assumptions. Glaser and Strauss call grounded th 32), meaning the social world described by


78 grounded theory i s never claimed to be complete and does not offer one size fits all claims. Rather, grounded theory is open ended and as more research is carried out with research subjects, the theory is changed, altered, and built upon. Such an approach is consistent w ith the lived network theoretical lens that I adopt for this project because the values, practices, beliefs, and networks of my subjects fluid, grounded theory provides me with methodological tools to capture this fluidity. It also allows me to develop a more nuanced understanding of the various discourses, rationales, and relationships that go into shaping the fluid religious, biological, and social worlds of my research subjects. to the obtained during the study, particularly in the actions, interactions and processes of the 2002: 190 1). The people involved in grounded theory research are located by using theoretical sampling. They are also found by the researcher choosing key informants, where the persons chosen to be interviewed and representa tive exemplars of the social phenomenon under investigation (2002 : 193). In with an area of study and what is relevant to that : 23). T he particular situations of my study are the interaction/s between religion and sustainable agriculture in a North American context. My choice of research methodologies allows for what is relevant to this area of study to emerge during my interactions and interviews with my research subjects, especially the key informants I


79 located through initial and repeated visits to my research sites. Through my visits I was able to find those most involved with promoting and practicing sustainable agriculture within my research groups and I conducted face to face, over the phone, and e mail interviews with them. The interviews I undertook with my research subjects were also informed by grounded theory methodology. This methodology maintains that f research subjects] allows interviewers to glean the ways in which research participants view t 1990: 57). Therefore, I located my theoretical sample by interacting with, observing, and interviewing the key actors involved in sustainable agriculture issues in my research communities. Prior to my fieldwork, I generated a list of interview questions that became the basis of semi structured and open ended interviews with sustainable agriculture religious actors who became my research subjects. As Charmaz explains (2006), in grounded theory the data that accumulates from initial interviews is transcribed and key indicative phrases within this data become units of analysis that are coded into categories. Such coding and subseq uent generation of thematic units of analysis become the building blocks for future questions, so that in grounded theory an iterative, open ended, constantly building understanding of a social world gradually develops. This understanding is also shaped b y ongoing literature review and repeatedly revisiting questionnaire that is followed over the whole course of a research project. Rather, consistent with grounded theor y, my research questions and focus of my research changed over the course of my project, reflecting new insights and leads that were


80 discovered in the codes and categories of early data and by new knowledge uncovered in literature reviews. This means the questions I was asking my research subjects at the end of my project were built upon, but did not necessarily resemble, the initial questions I asked at the beginning of my project. For example, as I learned about the history of farming and sustainability at Koinonia through various interviews, I changed my questions so that I was able to continue to develop a deeper understanding of this history, leading to new constructed themes and categories of analysis. Equally, the more I learned about Jewish enviro nmental concerns and teachings through literature review and web based research, the more I brought such learning into my interviews with Jews, while also bringing in insights and knowledge gained from earlier interviews. Lastly, the more I learned about agrarianism and its history within the North American context, the more focused and nuanced my questions about agrarianism and environmental agrarian concerns became during later interviews. By using grounded theory, I developed my own trope and category however, I will give a brief history of agrarianism, focusing especially on its development within the United States. Agrarianism Agrarianism holds a special place within the mythical and his torical narrative of the United States, building especially on the political philosophy and agrarian ideal esp oused by Thomas Jefferson. The place agrarianism holds in our domestic pantheon of social and political identity therefore equips the term with a certain amount of social capital that is now being used to build environmental, political, and religious networks. the idea


81 that agriculture and those whose occupation invol ves agriculture are especially Montmarquet 1989: viii ix) such that 1989: 221). A lthough quoted magisterial study of agrarianism fails to predict the growing role religious environmentalist -and environmental concerns in general might come to play in a North American agrarianism body politic 34 I n this study, Montmarquet singles out Wendell Berry as the modern agrarian writer par excellence justifying this claim based upon writing about agrarian issues from a post Bretton Woods, post Rachel Carson, post Earth Day perspecti ve. Berry himself writes that We agrarians are involved in a hard, long, momentous contest, in which we are so far, and by a considerable margin, the losers. What we have undertaken to defend is the complex accomplishment of knowledge, cultural memory, s kill, self mastery, good sense, and fundamental decency the high and indispensable art for which we probably can find no better name to farming as defined [pace Thompson, Jackson, an d Fick] by industrialism: farming as the proper use and care of an immeasurable gift (2003: 24). that claims variously that a sense of nurturing stewardship, deep understandings of place and labor, virtuous character developed through rooted communities, and even a spiritual relationship to nature and cosmos are normatively significant features of the 34 ubiquitous as farmers seek allies and policy makers t ry to make sense of the economic and social problems facing rural America. Its persistence suggests that there is more to this tradition than scholars have recognized: that it expresses values many Americans embrace, that it offers a useful way to underst and the problems of farmers and the rural community generally, and that it may even point us


82 sh 20). and tentatively defined as an economic and social system under which the chief met hod of making a living is that of tilling the soil, with a consequent rather wide dispersion of population and a relative meagerness of commercial intercourse. It is, probably, the antithesis of Industrial Capitalism Given these a bove definitions, it is easy to see how agrarianism both fits within the lineage of and appeals to those American citizens who are supportive of environmental issues, especially those issues related to sustainable agriculture. However, this appeal to envi ronmentally concerned citizens and devotees of sustainable agriculture was not originally evident in the U.S. agrarian tradition. For agrarianism signifies an organized effort on the part of the farm population, or a socially conscious group of farmers, to secure a redistribution of land or the establishment of law of conditions more favorable to the use and occupation of land. An agrarian revolution is concerted action on the part of farmers to bring about economic o r social changes that promise to improve farm life economic critique (minus a sustained environmental critique) and concern for the livelihood of farmers, this history h as been in reference to particular events, epochs, and regions within American history, including epochs when the majority of Americans (and thus American voters) were active farmers. 35 35 I recognize that this history was in large part about male, Caucasian land holding farmers.


83 Even though Bizzell comments upon policies of the early Republic that shape d later agrarianism, notably the transfer of vast tillable land fr om public to private domain; the rapid increase in population; the use of increased machinery and farm technology; the importa tion of new livestock breeds; the development of tr ansport ation and facilities; the extension of farm markets into growing cities; and the rise in scientific knowledge about agr iculture (1926: 10), these trends reflect an American politic of the late1800s and early 1900s. While contemporary agrarians criticize t agrarians must also contend with pos t Green Revolution technologies; greater industrializati on and mechanization of farming; a more apathetic American public that has significantly reduce d its number of working farmers; and int ernational agricultural markets that are controlled by agri business corporations. 36 In order to dig deeper into why agrarianism has a continued and even growing exp osition about the roles industrialism and capitalism played in shaping modern farming. Indeed, this exploration joins streams with the varied criticisms that modern champions of sustainable agriculture have of capital intensive, industrial farming. For e xample, a thoroughgoing critique of the machinations of Industrialism is found in the rise of English Radical Agrarianism of th e late 1700s/early 1800s (Chase 1988), and this critique helped shape some of the agrarian ideals and narratives in late 1800/ear ly 1900s America. 36 Bizzell writes that in the late 1800s, combines. The great corporations which rapidly developed into trusts used the machinery of government to accompli 157). The same charge against government backed corporate control of farming is a prevalent th This gives evidence that there are indeed parts of a consistent lineage between the older concerns of agrarianism and the more contemporary concerns of environmental and religious agrar ianisms.


84 As the h istorian Malcolm Chase shares understanding of the social history of the first industrial nation [i.e. England] 3), nym for with the industrial working class that we are concerned, and with those of their responses to economic, social, and political dislocation which sought sol ut ions in and on 3). Chase is writing here of the era of mercantile and industrial Manchester, Newcastle, Liverpool, and London. This era was in part precipitated by an d in large part contributed to the continued enclosures of the English (and Scottish and Irish) preindus and indeed must be located precisely in the experience of labour [sic] dur 8). modern environmental a grarian s are industrialization and global enclosures of agricultural lands and markets. This means that although American agrarianism developed within the politics of the States, it did and still does ar gue against this now pan global history of agricultural industrialization and loss of farm labor and culture. the American permanent agriculture movement of the 1930s and 1940 s was influenced by the writings of Sir Alb ert Howard, whose famous treatise of course helped spawn the


85 fluenced by observing the various regional farming practices of India, which included witnessing and measuring the effects of the copious amounts of compost Indian farmers added to their soils. It must also be noted that agrarianism in the U.S. has ofte n been a regional movement. This is most clearly seen in the book Agrarian Tradition This regional agrarian movement was in part a response to the growing mechanization of agriculture, a changing political landscape (both regional and national), and was influenced by a post Civil War culture of Caucasian Southern Gentleman Farmers who tended to have aristocratic and paternal control over regional politics. 37 The historian and political philosoph er Paul Murphy studie d the Southern Agrarians along with other more modern agrarian movements and found that in the quality to Agrarianism. It [has come] to mean very different things to a va riety of possible to satisfy the felt needs for community, leisure, and stability in the dizzying whirl of modern life? How do we validate values in a disenc (2001: agrarianisms. 37 This culture was heavily influenced by the rampant patriarchy found throughout the South, as discussed in Wilson (1980) and Heyrman (1997).


86 The scholar Kim Smith provides us with an importan t link between these past agrarians and the dominant agrarianism of today, what she calls environmental a This most recent strand of the agrarian tradition provides the major taproot upon which religious agrarianism is grafted, so it i s important to understand the development and worldview of environmental agrarianism. Smith devotes much of her monograph to highlighting the importance of Wendell Ameri can agrarianism. Since the 1960s, he has been a leading expositor of a set of ideas designed to forge a politically effective union of small farmers and upon earlier agr arian concerns about the effect industrial capitalism has on farm communities and farmlands, and thus on society as a whole. ecological health [of a society]: it is environmental ra ther than political values that farmers cultivate virtues that are (he claims) otherwise lacking in indust (2003: of traditional agrarian stalwart 2003: 2 3), and instead society based on the value 3


87 framework of agra rian thought, he has revitalized agrarianism and helped to ensure its 2003: 4). 38 nuanced, intros pective, culturally powerful, and sustained environmental agrarian criticism of moder n day industrial capitalism, as well as the political, economic, and agricultural systems that industrial capitalism has spawned. Many, if not all, if the other books on agrarianism that I have read during this research project all point to the significance of Wendell Berry in creating this environmental agrarian tradition. agriculture issues is such that it has in large pa rt led The University of Kentucky Press to publish a multi series, edited by Norman Wirzba. 39 Each of these volumes contains the following passage at the beginning of the book: This series will b e devoted to the exploration and articulation of a new agrarianism that considers the health of habitats and human communities together. It will demonstrate how agrarian insights and responsibilities can be worked out in diverse fields of learning and liv ing: history, science, art, politics, economics, literature, philosophy, religion, urban planning, 38 o us, it is because he makes the marriage of agrarian and environmental thought seem so natural that we assume agrarianism always implied ecological sensitivity or that ecological sensitivity always implied support for family farming. It did not; indeed, for much of American history agrarians had little interest in environmental issues, and environmentalists for their part have had little good to say about farming. traditions lies precisely in his ability to resolve their 2003: 7). Meanwhile, Paul Thompson offers a similar point of view, alternative [to industrial ag ricul ture ] seem to spring from the original Jeffersonian vision of the citizen farmer, from the remnants of the small farm populist movement that has resisted industrialization all along, and from the cultural critique launched almost single handedly by Wendell Berry in the late 1970s. 39 n food and agriculture was released in 2009 fiction, and non fiction) are all influenced by his liberal Protestant background and thus contain an underlying religious message about creation being a holy sacrament. This theme is explored in ed s Shuman and Owens (2009).


88 education, and public policy. Agrarianism is a comprehensive worldview that appreciates the intimate and practical connections that exist between humans and the earth. It stands as our most promising alternative to the unsustainable and destructive ways of current global, industrial, and consumer culture ( Freyfogle 2007). which work toward Freyfogle 2007: 2). As religion is part of society, and as discussed earlier, values represent aspirations, then it becomes evident that religious values (including religious environmentalist values) are now mixing with sustainable agriculture and e nvironmental agrarian values, and this mixing is changing American food culture. not just what people have done but who they are, what they understand, what they val 2007: 1). It is a mistaken assumption to disregard the power and influence that religion has on shaping American culture, and thus American landscapes and the values contained therein. Given the above exploration of agrarianism, I argue that a modern day, environmental agrarianism for the twenty first century contains the following values, ideals, claims, and attributes: it is both art and practice it is essential to a healthy society, culture, and environment it embraces technolo gy, when appropriate, and places the use of technology within the limits and standards of the land and the communities (human and non human) that are dependent upon the land for their survival therefore, the use of science and technology is a derivative of and is shaped by the needs and constraints of local land bases and local ecosystems


89 it views land, and especially the soil, as more than a mere inert resource for an extractive economy; rather, land, and thus soil, is seen as the basis of the total human economy it takes stewardship of the land seriously, to the point where stewardship is one of the key driving values and ideals of a modern, ecologically informed agrarianism the practice of an environmental agrarianism is a learned skill it is a comprehen sive worldview it criticizes the short sightedness of the extractive, industrial economy, including especially productionist agriculture it can and often does have a spiritual and/or religious component it values democracy, freedom, particularity, and inde pendence it argues for propriety and familiarity with local lands, people, and customs it critiques dominant land use laws and patterns (whether local, national, or international), and the free market ideologies that support these it is built upon a longst anding historic tradition and lineage (especially political) within Western culture it develops and promotes systems thinking, including the role humans, farm communities, agricultural markets, and human customs play within various interlinked ecological, cultural, and economic systems it is holistic it privileges the vocation of farmers as backward, ignorant, culturally taboo [especially for educated Caucasians] profession) it is open to building networks with other s (NGOs, lobbyists) at both national and international levels for advocating and promoting agrarian concerns and ideals With this overview of agrarianism, and especially environmental agrarianism, in place, coupled with my earlier exploration of religious and environmental values, networks, and


90 Religious Agrarianism Wes Jackson writes scholar alike have lamented the loss of soils and have warned people of the consequences of their wasteful ways. It seems that we have forever talked about land stewardship and the need for a l and ethic, and all the while soil destruction continues, in many places at an accelerated pace. Is it possible that we simply lack enough stretch in our ethical potential to evolve a set of values capable of promoting a sustainable 1985: 13 ). In many ways, this quote is central to the religious concerns this dissertation investigates. Religious agrarianism is a developing set of practices that brings explicit religious environmentalist concerns, values, and ethics into the perennial proble ms of soil destruction. This destruction has become amplified since the onset of the Green Revolution, and the environmental agrarianism of Berry, et al represents that to date attempt to deal with the issue. As we have seen, it is in large part sinc 1967 article that religions have started to take environmental and ecological issues seriously. Such concern has been slow to develop, in no small part because White specifically targeted Western Chri stianity as the culprit of said crisis. The earliest responses from apologists (whether from inside a tradition [known as ecotheology] or from scholars of religion ) respective traditions (or traditions they studied), searching diligently for green passages religion and nature is sues. Revised Standard Version of the Bible, The Green Bible (2008). This Christian version


91 of the Bible is printed on Forest Stewardship Council certified paper, has St. Francis of a nod to Lynn White, who stated that St. Francis was the Christian eco saint par excellent), and in regards to the topic of this dissertation, tellingly includes poetry from Wendell B erry. 40 The growth of religious environmentalism has also been inspired by seminal events like Earth Day, the publication of The Limits to Growth the Rio Earth Summit, and the growing ecumenism surrounding religion and ecology an d evangelical Creation Care have all contributed to an accelerated growth of religious environmentalist concerns. 41 These concern s coupled with a more sophisticated understanding of food politics and sustainable agriculture issues, is leading some religio us environmentalists to embrace environmental agrarian concerns and values. As Gary Fick shares, agriculture. It includes the past, the present, and the future. I t includes all of the social, cultural, and ethical linkages in the food system as well. Thus religion is a natural component of holistic, sustainable thinking, and academics like me have erred when we 2008: 6). Not only have academics left religion out of the sustainable agriculture variable, most people of faith have left sustainable agriculture out of the religion variable. Religious agrarianism is a developing corrective that people of faith are embodying and attempt ing to put into practice, thus allowing a growing 40 For a summary of a general ecological hermeneutic approach to the Hebrew Bible and New Testament (and that can be applied to texts from other traditions), see Habel and Trudinger (2008). 41 For a very recent vol ume exploring religious environ m e ntalist concerns in North American Chris tian communities and places of worship, see McDuff (2010).


92 number of Americans to equally embody and put into practice environmental agrarian concerns. Moreover, r eligious agrarianism places the practice of sustainable farming into a larger, theocentric worldview that sees Creation as being holy and worthy of reverent care and respect. 42 Religious obligations and duties follow from such a worldview, so that sustainable agricultural practices become a way that religious agrarians can live out their faith concerns. stewardship can be summarized as a religious duty to protect and foster the beauty and agrarian stewardship is conceived as a duty ethically subservient to production; hence when stewardship would entail constraints on production, duties to nature seldom prevail over the productionist ethic. As such, if stewardship is to serve as a component in an environmental e 1995 : 72). Religious agrarianism provides this exact paradigm of a broadened an d reshaped stewardship ethic: b ecause religious agrarians identify the land with a theistic Creator, and because their values, lives, and ideals are shaped in such large part by their religious beliefs, these agrarians represent a new addition to contemporary sustainable agriculture and environmental agrarian concerns. Religious agrarians also add to and expand the polit ical, social, and cultural components of contemporary agrarian concerns. Kim Smith points out that there is a democratic agrarianism that has informed American politics and which has focused on 42 I speak here of an explicitly North American religious agrarianism which pulls upon a dominant Christian tradition. My research shows that both Jews and Christians hold a variety of theocentric faiths.


93 the values found within family farms. Religious agrarians do not necessarily make this exact claim, but some do argue that ecologically informed religious communities that support sustainable agriculture/agrarian/environmental justice issues are such a repository of de mocratic and social ideals that are needed to c ombat industrial capitalism. My research subjects share the same critiques of industrial farming and capitalism that environmental agrarians develop; the difference is that these critiques are developed out of specific religious and ethical traditions. T herefore religious agrarians bring faith based ethics and concerns for justice and equality to their sustainable agriculture values (see especially chapter seven) What this means is that there are two dominant strains feeding into religious agrarianism One strain pulls upon the history of agrarianism proper, and especially modern environmental agrarianism as exemplified in the writings of Wendell Berry and the values, goals, and ideals found in the list I created above. The other strain is an amalgam ation of the unique religious traditions, sacred texts, teachings, and modern institutions within which religious agrarians reside. Both of these strains contain critiques of modern industrial capitalism, and both see the land and soil as having intrinsic value. In the case of religious agrarians, this value is theistic, and thus carries religious duties that are entirely consistent with the goals of environmental agrarianism. To date, religion has been an essential component of human culture. Some reli gious bodies and individuals are now actively fostering faith based sustainable agricultural tradition. My research provides evidence of this transition.


94 I conclude this se ction, and thus this chapter, by sharing two quotes from Ronald The Fate of Family Farming I feel these quotes succinctly wrap up the various issues about religion, religion and nature, and religious agrarianism in a North American context t individuals [in America] this twofold quest, for viable alternatives and for valid response [to the perceived ills of industrial farming], is a deeply spiritual impulse, arising from a mor al or religious commitment to live in healthy and honorable ecological harmony with the earth and with the rest of humankind. For them, reflecting on the fate of farming is anything but a one dimensional economic matter, but rather a heavily values driven and yet very practical quest for new forms of sound husbandry and good stewardship in their agrarian, land is everything. This may be an oversimplification, but the lan d is where the agrarian scale of values is grounded 55). My dissertation claims that religious agrarians bring these values into practical quests for good stewardship of The remainder of my dis sertation seeks to make this argument, drawing on the fieldwork I carried out with Congregation Shearith Israel and Koinonia. My next two chapters introduce these communities and the networks of which they are part, and then I compare and contrast their r eligious agrarian themes and concerns about locality, health, and justice in subsequent chapters. Meanwhile, throughout this dissertation I will focus on specific narratives from my research subjects themselves that underscore their own faith/religious re asons for becoming involved in religious agrarian lifestyles. Such a focus underscores the lived religion, religion in everyday practice and concern,


95 bottom up ways that religious participants in America put their values into practice in regards to sustai nable agriculture issues.


96 CHAPTER 3 KOINONIA AND CHRISTI AN RELIGIOUS AGRARIA NISM Lay of the Land This chapter offers a history of Charles Jordan, and thus Koinonia. Without an onal and communal history, it is difficult to place Koinonia and its permaculture practices within the emergent phenomenon of religious agrarianism. We will therefore also explore what permaculture is so that in succeeding chapters we can see how permacul ture enables Koinonia to engage religious agrarian topics of locality, health, and justice. A brief history of sustainable farming within the larger tradition of Christianity is also offered, as this helps f human agricultural interactions that have been shaped, broadly speaking, by the Christian worldview. A Demonstration Plot for Go d The drive to Americus takes the traveler deep into Southwestern Georgia and provides a snapshot into rural life in the upl and South. There are Mennonite communities; African American Baptist churches; Methodist churches; migrant communities of Latino farm laborers and their respective churches and tiendas ; trailer parks with more than just a hint of poverty; and miles of agr icultural monocultures. The latter range from industrial chicken and hog farms to the ubiquitous regional pecan groves to acres of soybean, cotton, and corn. The town of Americus was founded in 1832 and today it has become a pilgrimage destination of sor ts, for it is where Habitat for Humanity maintains its


97 corporate offices. 1 The two colleges in Americus Georgia Southwestern State and South Georgia Technical College attract a number of young adults to the area. Coupled with the staff, volunteers, and visitors who pass through to visit Habitat or who stop on their way to Plains (home of President Jimmy Carter), these students help create a vibrant cultural life in this otherwise rural, historically agricultural Georgia community. The closest interstat e is well over an hour away, with the closest city, Macon, being a two hour drive and Atlanta a three hour drive. Both are northeast of Americus, so that the town is more rural and poor than urban and diversified. It is this rural, agricultural identity, along with the Jim Crow background, that originally attracted Clarence and his wife, Florence, to move to a large swath of run down farmland outside of Americus in order to put their theological vision into practice and begin Koinonia in 1942. At that time, Americus was even more rural and more dependent upon agriculture for its identity than Americus of today with its colleges and visitors to Habitat. Back in 1942 the Jordans, along w ith friends Martin and Mabel E ngland, went to Sumter County and there, alongside Route 49 about eight miles southwest of Americus, were 440 ordinary looking acres of soil, slightly eroded and virtually treeless. Through some power of hidden persuasiveness and sense of rightness that Lee 1971: 33). 1 Millard Fulller and his wife, the official founders of Habitat, had moved to Koinonia and along with Jordan started building affordable housing for po verty property. This became the id ea behind Habitat, which Fuller started after moving to Americus in 1976 Thus Americus is a popular destination for both church groups and international tourists seeking to learn more about and to honor Habitat for Humanity; however, it is not well known that Habitat was equally the brainchild of Clarence Jordan, as most associat e the founding with only Fuller


98 Clarence Jordan Jordan came of age, both physical and spiritual, in the pre Civil Rights South. Born into a Baptist family on July 29, 1912, Jordan began at a young age to questio n the teachings and hymns of his Baptist upbringing that preached equality before God. blatant racism both inside the church doors on Sunday, and outside the church do ors every other day of the week. Jordan also noticed the inequalities that resulted from the income white and black farmers poor and indentured. 2 For this reason, he decided to become a fa from a little land. He would seek to work in partnership with the poor farmers. A volatile mixture of guilt and a rage for justice was stoking up a lifetim This conviction t o help poor farmers led Jordan to matriculate in the Georgia State College of Agriculture at the University of Georgia. He also became a member of the Baptist Student Union and began preaching in local churches While at agricultural school he joined the ROTC and was scheduled to enter into the U.S. Cavalry. found in the Gospel of Matthew, led Jordan to become a pacifist and to w alk away from armed service. Jordan instead entered into the ministry and became a New Testament scholar at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In essence, Jordan became a soldier for Christ, fighting for racial and economic equality. 2 For in depth investigations into this aspect of a racialize d, religiously sanctioned Southern agricultural aristocracy, see Isaac (1999) and Wilson (1980). For these struggles within an emergent Southern, and their manifesto (2006), see Murphy (2001).


99 By 1942, Jo rdan leather skinned rednecks who saw it as their community responsibility to keep the to day routines of white Christians who wo World War II, he realized he had a fight of his own to take up in the rural South: He was determined to fight facistlike oppression in Georgia with something that southerners were almost as familiar with as they were their guns: Christianity. The difference was, Jordan did not talk about the the feverish radio evangelist, or the soul saving Jesus of the crude highway sign, or even the slick Jesus of the sanctuary. He talked about Jesus the man, as if the guy actually worked and sweated, experienced love and hurt, and had about hi m all the shrugs and shuffles of a down to earth human being (1971: 4) 3 an ex periment in Christian communal living on a farm in Sumter County, right in the heart of southwestern Georgia, and declared brotherhood, nonviolence, and economic 4 As the historian Charles Marsh explains 3 And for Jordan, this Jesus of the flesh was this worldly; humble; got his hands dirty in the soil and local politics; and taught his followers to manifest love in this world, this place, in this community now -by working and living together off the land. 4 and are exemplary examples of unique Protestant American interpretations of the Bible (1993, 200 5).

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100 the body of Christ from the perspective of Sumter County, Georgia, [and which] involved three interconnected passions: the practice of nonviolence as the moral disposition of the Gospel; the preservation, cultivation, (2005 : 69). Given his cultural background in poor rural farming communities of Georgia; his professional training in scient ific agriculture; and his theological training and beliefs South and to Americ a at practices, interracial living, and Christ centered community life, Jordan hoped to inspire other Americans, whether Christian or otherwise, to overcome the poverty and racism of the rural Sou th. To this end, Jordan began farming at Koinonia by hitching himself to a plow, as the community did not have enough capital in the first years to purchase a steer or ox! He also launched a soil conservation program of terracing; used ground up peanut s as with neighbors; and held seminars on farm related topics for both races. Therefore, from its beginnings, Koinonia has had a theology of the soil and has attemp ted to put into practice progressive, sustainable farming techniques. 5 However, as with religious 5 see Hall (2002).

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101 ideals of its visionary founder. Koinonia in the 1960s ry as an intentional religious community is as rich and textured as the red clay soil found in its agricultural fields. As with any Christ centered intentional religious community, there have been continual struggles with attracting and maintaining commit ted members and with remaining true to incarnating the vision of Jesus. Koinonia has also continually struggled with developing and maintaining on site cottage industries and successful farming practices and has had to deal with violent responses from the for the violent responses, Koinonia still grapples with the other issues on a daily level, even today. Koinonia dropped to just four members in 1967, with the Jordans and the Wittkampers be ing solely responsible for a 1,100 acre farm and pecan business. This led to severe soul searching by Jordan, and his friendship with Fuller (who moved to the community with his wife during these lean years) helped pull him through this period. The two o f them focused on combating the American ideal of competition and getting beginning a program of providing quality housing to low income African Americans who lived in A true agrarian economy is characte rized by a general diffusion of property ownership. Each family should own outright a sufficient quantity of land and equipment to afford it a decent and satisfying

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102 agrarian vision and wedded it to a theological interpretation of the Book of Acts. Jordan no man can give you a clear title. If you trace the title back far : 209). 6 which they began in 1969 ( and which Fuller renamed Habitat for Humanity when he left Koinonia and moved to Americus) prefac credit le nding Rather than giving out high interest loans so local residents and poor sharecroppers could not afford a house, Jordan and Fuller via the Fund for Humanity allowed poor African American neighbors to move into homes built on community property under loans that were free of interest. Jordan died in 1969 while working in his green, one room writing shack that still stands amongst the pecan groves he help ed plant. These pecans provide Koinonia with the majority of the mail order business that led to the construction of on site processing, baking, and packaging plants that still function today. Koinonia from the 1970s through the 1980s 7 Before his death in 1969, Jordan and Fuller had changed the name from Koinonia Farm to Koinonia Partners and began to emphasize communication, teaching, and application as the core focus of the community. Koinonia also became incorporated as a nonprofit during this era and developed a board of dire ctors and bylaws. 6 brothers whom you ha 7 Much of the information for the post Jordan 1970s, 1980s, and volatile 1990s comes from Koinonia resident David Castle. Castle and his wife moved to Koinonia in 1988 and David later served on the Board of D irectors. His passing in 2008 was a loss for the community, and his widow subsequently left in 2009.

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103 Furthermore, the community began to allot a living allowance to all community members (with income largely coming from produce and pecans). Given the focus on communication and teaching during this era, leadership at Koinonia began to focus on clearer communication amongst community members, at via a pecan product catalogue. They also taught about farming, community life, and Cotton Patch Gospels and began applying these teachings to a life lived in fellowship. This clarity of focus led Castle unpublished manuscript). ) developed, centered community. This partnership was seen in housing, agriculture, and business ventures. In regards to agriculture, Koinonia has grown over its history row crops (mainly soybean and peanuts), pe cans (with shells being spread back over the soil to make compost), muscadine grapes (for wine and jams), and a variety of other crops. Koinonia flourished with the onset in the 1970s of both Jesus and back to the land movements, providing a stark contras t to the four members of 1967. During this time many structures were built on the property and many committed pacifists and hippies living in a farming based communit y. Also during this era, the farm grew corn, peanuts, dye enterprises were also created.

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104 Despite this energy, the seeds for community conflict were sown. Although embodying a partnership vision of blacks working and eating with whites, there was a trend of whites coming to live at the community, but very few blacks doing the same. Many of the African Americans involved with the community were nearby residents or those who had homes from the Fund for Humanity and who walked to work. So while all received paychecks, not all were equally committed to partnering in business and come to a head i manuscript). Will Wittkamper, who had been involved with the community in some capacity since 1953, led the farming during this era and he instituted organic farming practices. In part these practices were organic by default, in that the community did not have enough income to buy large amounts of chemicals. The community was also inspired by the back to the land ethos of the time and equally benefitted from abundant farm labor. Commu nity life during this time faithfully held to Jordan with prayer and a worship period at 8am and a brief devotional was given at the shared product. The spiritual experience in relationships seems very important. Whether work at Koinonia is primarily to be a business or an activity for spiritual growth has always ). This tension, as well as the tension between those working fo r a paycheck (who tended to be local blacks) and those working in partnership (who tended to be white), began to surface in the 1980s and boiled over in the 1990s.

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105 By 1980 Koinonia had twenty four resident partners, eleven children living in the community and many volunteers. Castle depicts three threads that bound the community during this era: an inward focus and search for deeper spiritual life; the Cottonpatch Gospels; and a nished racial ). The community suffered another loss during this era when Florence Jordan, co founder of Koinonia, died in 1987. The community also became very active in anti war demonst rations and in supporting the rights of Latin Americans suffering under Reagan era policies. Active campaigning against the training of soldiers at the School of Americas began in earnest in this era and this continues to be a focus of Koinonia members to this day. The community also underwent a sustained period of institutionalization with the creation of handbooks, guidebooks, living allowances, and requested vacation time. Many original buildings were torn down and new ones were built. And t he onset (Castle Koinonia in the 1990s Castle shares that in the 1990s Koinonia gave up the communal, common purse for a non profit organizational model. Even though the economic pattern changed, many still referred to Koinonia as an open intentional community. It was open in the sense that visitors could come and go and Koinonia did not maintain a doctrinaire statement of belief that people had to accept in order to be a part of the community. This would keep Koinonia from being identified with experimental, free flowing, creative milieu was maintained (unpublished manuscript). However, this free flowing milieu allowed for u nderlying racial tensions to boil up and for

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106 African American should become the executive director of the incorporated businesses and community (this position started in 1994). So while the main ministries of the community were building houses, advocating for prison reform, and working with children and youth, there was internal dispute over how the community should be structured and who should be in charge. One tension was that local blacks who worked for Koinonia as an incorporated business wanted the life that white community members were voluntarily giving up when the latter became community residents. A common phrase arose amongst black ow to make ). These community workers felt that Koinonia should pay more salary and that a black person should be in charge of directing the community. To deal with this tension the Board of Directors appointed a six mem ber committee in September of 1992 that was charged to create structural changes that would appease the concerns of all members. The Board decided that everyone would become a partner of the community and get paid, but also came to pass that a local African American would become executive director of Koinonia. However, by 1999 Koinonia was in a sizeable and dangerous financial hole of $744,000. It turns out that the Ex ecutive Director had been embezzling funds to their own private account and that of their local black friends who also worked at Koinonia and this had placed the community in a state of financial and emotional crisis. Koinonia members called 1999 the r of Recovery outside consultants were brought in to help the community overcome its financial debt. With their input, community members decided that 800 acres would be sold, so that today

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107 Koinonia has 573 acres of land of which eighty five acres are tillable and another ninety are in pecan groves. New leadership was found as the old Director had been fired, and financial record keeping became more transparent. Lastly, Koinonia remained active in its mail order pecan business and still adv ertised itself as a place, a spirit, and a ministry. Koinonia in the 2000s through Today changed after 1999. The terrorist bombings of September 11 th affected the community in particular ways, especially the militarized response of the U.S. Government and its invasion of Iraq. This military campaign touched a nerve in Koinonia, helping mobilize the community after the tumultuous 1990s. Through its history, Koinonia has been committed to the ideal s of Christ inspired pacifism; t h is was evident in its ministry on race, and in protests and campaigns against the School of Am ericas that began in the 80s. Therefore, a fter George W. Bush led the post 9/11 invasion of Iraq, members of Koinonia once again became active in local and natio nal peace campaigns and peace vigils. 8 Another important event occurred in 2002 when community bylaws were changed. Eight people began to sit on the Board of Directors and David Castle was made Chairperson of the Board. Also in 2002 John Hall became Coordinator of Operations. His background as a dairy farmer in Vermont helped the community focus on farm maintenance and upkeep. Another important event occurred in 2002: Koinonia once again became financially solvent. Lastly, a new Partner Covenant wa s created, with eight covenant ideas that were drawn up to guide the vision of the community. 8 In 2008 the community received the Community of Christ International Peace Award.

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108 the community an steward of the earth, recognizing the beauty and wonder of th (Castle ). 9 This last covenant is central to my argument Koinonia is an intentional Christian farming co as one of its many principles and values Furthermore, it is a Christian farming community that has a very strong critique of industrial farming and late capitalism. This combination of a commi tment to stewardship and a thorough critique of industrial capitalism and agribusiness have been central features of American agrarianism dating back to the late 1800s. 10 Weeken proactively meet five challenges that Koinonia faced. The fifth challenge they 9 For an example of this strain of Prote wonder, see Dewitt (2000) and Gustafson (1996). 10 For example, in an exploration of the rise of U.S. agrarianism following the Civil War and running the United States immediately after 1870 [because capitalists] adopted the policy of the combine, both for financial profits and for increasing economic and political power. The farmers finally realized that their individualism had made them ineffective as an influence in politics and in the business rel ations affecting 157). The dawning realization that corporations in the latter decades of the 1800s were beginning to dominate farming markets led to t he formation of agrarian based political parties like the Grange, The

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109 environmentally responsi ble ways of farming, including availability of plots to foster economic development for ). This dual covenant and concern, coupled with a history of progressive farming dating back to Jordan himself, h as inspired Koinonia to pursue permaculture and organic farming methods This combination of principles and practices make Koinonia an exemplar of what I am calling religious agrarianism. In November of 2007, the community accepted a n ew Vision Statement that of prayer, work, study, service and fellowship. We seek to embody peacemaking, sustainability, and radical sharing. While honoring people o f all backgrounds and faiths, we strive to demonstrate the way of Jesus as an alternative to materialism, militarism response to both the turbulent 90s as well as to the visioni ng exercises held earlier this century. The community self selected three ideals that it has chosen to structure and guide its next fifty years of existence; these three themes emerged during the visioning weekend and are education, hospitality, and susta inability. Therefore, five days a week the community has a shared lunch meal in the cafeteria that is open to visitors, as well as a community potluck on Sunday evenings (the earlier practice dates back to when the Jordans founded the community). Besid es these shared meals, the community has a museum with artifacts that site that sells various books authored by Clarence Jordan and a wide variety of community products.

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110 Visitors can buy Koinonia t shirts made from organic cotton, fair trade chocolate products, peace poles and Cotton Patch mugs made by community members, and can purchase a wide variety of books about sustainability and liberal, progressive Christianity. There is also on site camping and a dormitory style community building where people can rent rooms and take part in community life for a short period of time. progressive Christian and non Christian pe acemakers and include a write up on each person on the door and bed stand: Martin Luther King, Jr.; Dietrich Bonhoeffer; Dorothy Day; Mother Teresa; Gandhi; Rachel Corrie (a young U.S. woman killed protesting construction of Israeli settlements on Palestin ian lands); Rosa Parks; and Nelson Mandela. Two buildings over from the dorms/cafeteria is a community library open to visitors and which contains sections of books on crafts and building; peace; non violence; community living; family and marriage; natur al health; and religion. In the section on science visitors can peruse books by Aldo Leopold, Charles Darwin, E.O. Wilson, Al Gore, and Helen Caldicott. In the section on gardening there are titles by book Organic Farming ; a wide variety of books devoted to maintaining soil hea lth via organic farming methods and composting; Albrecht papers; and selections on the founder of biodynamic farming, Rudolph Steiner. oviding tours for school, church, and other types of groups Upwards of 2,000 visitors pass through in very busy months. Th e tours include a showing of Briars in the Cottonpatch a video about the history of

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111 Koinonia, and a guided tour through the commun these activities are geared towards professed goals of hospitality, education, and sustainability. Those who want to immerse themselves rhythms can apply for three to four month long seasonal internships. Resident interns help with farming, work in the pecan business, share building maintenance duties, and can apply to become community partners and if accepted are able to reside at Koinonia for up to a year or more. After this time, the prospective member will either leave or apply to be a candidate for stewardship. Stewards are those who have (ideally) committed the remainder of their lives to residi ng at Koinonia, taking part in its various ministries and requisite jobs and tasks. This system is intended to keep another and gives current stewards the opportunity to a ccept candidates for stewardship; and allows visitors and interns an opportunity to experience community life to see if they are truly committed to pledging their lives to Koinonia. ites that, developments require new ways of being and new ways of working. How to be relevant today as called again to play a decisive role in defining and shaping the course of human life on planet Earth ) This calling has motivated Koinonia from its

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112 inception, as founders and participants have sought to be a demonstration p lot for interracial living; to challenge i ndustrial juggernaut; and to embody and put into practice sustainable farming techniques in order to demonstrate sustainable stewardship. I examine the ways that Koinonia is currently embodying sustainable stewardship by putting into practice the ir religious agrarian calling below. critique of empire and see how this cri tique is consistent with agrarian criticisms of industrialization and thus in part motivates the sustainable farming practices. New Monasticism and Schools for Conversion I return to one of my larger arguments about lived networks by quickly exploring her like minded groups. These lived n etworks include past relationships (both agricultural and religious) with Bruderhof, Hutterite, and Society of Brothers communities in the 1950s, an d a variety of current lived network relationships today. 11 These current networks include partnerships (whether by correspondence, physical visits, meetings at various conferences, invited presentations, and/or sharing of links on websites) with progressi ve Christian social organizations like Sojourners and Catholic Social Worker Houses red letter Christian groups that actively campaign for social and environmental justice. They also maintain active lived network partnerships with communities that have b een inspired by one time Koinonia members, like Habitat fo r Humanity and Jubilee Partners (the latter group houses immigrants and teaches them English and other skills so they can adapt to American society). Other lived relationships include active collab oration with 11 For relations with Brud erhof, Hutterite, and So ciety of Brothers, see Lee (1971 ).

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113 sustainable agricultural networks such as permaculture groups, Fair Trade suppliers, and Georgia Organics farms gain Federal certification). Lastly, Koinonia maintains active memb ership in an emerging domestic Protestant m and it is partnership and membership with New Monasticism that enables Koinonia to further its own pacifist history. This is because both share the critique of government sanctio ned military force and economic for both groups, this symbiotic relationship is what constitutes e of love and compassion that Jesus preached and embodied. The New Monastic movement is in part an anarcho primitive challenge from those wit hin Protestantism who believe them to move to the margins of Amer ican society and minister to the poor, homeless, and broken. In his study of an emergent American mona sticism, Charles Fracchia argues an examination of and return to the ide (1979: 5). His study prefigures the response to the present waste, destruction, and Monastic movement feels cal led to challenge. He also writes that practical goods that emphasize quality design and workmanship marks the growing

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114 work, and money is the concern for environment. Taking as little as possible from the environment is a corollary of the philosophy of w : 19). It is possible to trace the its back to the land ethos of the 60s and 70s, increasing environmental concern from the 80s onwards and long lived desire for authentic Jesus centered communal life This institutional and communal history has resulted active use of permaculture and active membership in New Monastic networks. New Monasticism has developed with in the larger lineage of monasticism that Fracchia describes This m uch more contemporary monastic movement has roots in Living Faithfully in a Fragmented World: Lessons for After Virtue At the time of publication, Wilson was an Associate Professor of Systemati c Theology and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. In his book, Wilson laments that the current Western church is not living up to the life and teachings of Jesus and is not f aithfully preaching the gospel. In other words, Wilson argues that those Christians who are faithfully incarnating the pre Constanti ni minority voice within a larger, secular, consumer, and thus compromised Christian country. Wilson believes Christianity is compromised because as American culture becomes fragmented along pluralistic lines, the church becomes fragmented. As he which we witness to and live out the gospel do change. With changing circumstances

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115 (1997 : 2 3). Wil my argument for a lived network approach to understanding the greening of parts of North American religions in this case, for re inha biting Christian community (1997 : 65 6) to heart and accepts as valid his and I h ave argued that this is one of them when the life of the church has been so compromised that we no longer are capable of fulfilling faithfully our mission. At such a time, the church must withdraw into a new monasticism, not in ety, but in order to recover faithful living and a renewed understandin : 71). Wilson ends his theological discourse by outlining four characteri stics of a new monasticism (1997 : 72 5), pointing monasticism must be intended for the whole people of God, the discipline that it requires will be achieved only through small groups of disciples that ork or life circumstanc : 74). For Koinonia, this vision and discipline is oriented around a particular lived embodiment of Christianity that dates back to 1942 and now includes a commitment to sustainable stewardship and religious agrarianism. is on re inhabiting the Christian church in a fragmenting world struck a chord with other Christians living in community. His call for radical new discipleship triggered a response from these less well known but vibrant fringes of American Christianity. The New Monastic Library now publishes a series devoted to Hartgrove (not to be

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116 confused with Jonathan Wilson) is their series editor on publications devoted to this New Monasticism. The series foreword reads, For over a millennium, if a Christian wanted to read theology, practice Christian spirituality, or study the Bible, she went to the monastery to do so. There, people who inhabited the tradition and prayed the prayers of the chu rch also copied manuscripts and offered fresh reflections about living the gospel in a new time. Two thousand years after the birth of the church, there is a new monastic movement stirring in North America. In keeping with ancient tradition, new monastic reflection and are beginning to offer some reflections for a new time. The New Monastic Library Series exists to share reflections from new vailable House 2005). These new monastic leaders further recognize their indebtedness to Wilson, writing church Protestantism, and our communities do not our friend Jonathan Wilson and from his theological reflection on the work of Alasdair A variety of church and Christian intentional community leaders responded to Church in Durham, N orth C arolina in 2004. This meeting was hosted by a New M o begun to think that once again it is time for a new monasticism. Indeed, this is how we x). e helping to birth on American soil. These are not meant to be comprehensive, but rather monastic communities have to off er the rest : x). The twelve marks help guide the lifeworlds of New Mona stics,

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117 and together they encourage New Monastics to relocate to what they call a bandoned places of e mpire which include decrepit inner city urbanscapes; to share economic r esources with the needy and with other New Monastics; to offer hospitality to stran gers; to fight racism within churches and communities and to work for reconciliation; to and to live in proximity of other New Monastics who share a common approach to life ; to c are for the part of that is given to them to steward, and to also care for local economies; to commit to conflict resolution and peacemaking; and to live a life of disciplined contemplation (2005 ). The group justified these twelve marks by asking story of a Refugee who was executed by an Empire and resurrected by the King of the universe, want to be where God has been active all along on the margins and in the : viii). In another book, Wilson Hartgrove writes that, God alone and remind the church of its true vocation. These people have not been perf rhizomes. They spread beneath the surface, effecting change from below. It is a quite revolution one that is often ignored by th e newspapers and missed by the historians. But it is, in the end, how God plans to save the e heart of the monastic impulse (2008: 54 55). acti ve partner in this emerging new monastic network, which has as one of its marks caring for the earth. These marks of a n ew monasticism and this overarching sentiment help ground Koinonia into a larger neo

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118 corporate funded lobbying, military excursions, and neglect of the poor. Clarence Jordan can be interpreted as m anifesting this Spirit when he created Koinonia at the margins of abandoned farmland in rural Georgia during the height of the racist Jim Crow Southern empire. Marks two, three, and four were also put into practice by Jordan well over sixty years ago. Ma rk ten is also significant for the purposes of my argument. Koinonia has active partnerships with a local coffee shop that sells organic and fair trade products; sells their produce at various local farmers markets; and is in the process of creating a mea t CSA, where people in the larger Americus community can buy shares in the cows, pigs, and goats being raised on the farm. By creating a corporate controlled, globalized monoculture food system, Koinonia is embodying a Christ inspired New M onastic religious agrarian lifestyle. Another New M onastic author Tom Sine, writes that this movement has embodied, whole and communal with virtually no bureaucratic, hierarchical models of leadership, unlike tend to be co ncerned about a broad range of social issues, including social justice, reconciliation and creation care Thus, many New Monastics have created food pantries and soup kitchens at houses where they live in Christ centered community living lives of contemplation and dedication to peacemaking and the poor, serving those abandoned by empire without judgment. Many also have helped create community

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119 gardens and undertake other activist work in racially divided, economically depressed pa rts of the country. This broad range of attributes and these issues of concern have been present at Koinon ia since it was founded, and they have gained even more support in the ideals of C ommunity members are passionate about a nd committed to issues of social justice, reconciliation, and creation care. Furthermore, Koinonia regularly hosts Schools for Conversion workshops. These are workshops where the twelve marks are discussed and those who attend are giving tools for puttin g radical discipleship into action within their own communities. Some of the se tools are Norman Wirzba notes Wirzba describes four possible New M onastic practices, in between humanity and soil ( adam from adamah ) is lost on : 145) and growing a garden (preferably organic) can help overcome this lack of identifying with the eart h. By participating in and hosting Schools for Conversion, Koinonia maintains an active membership in lived networks of Christians who are motivated to care for the earth by participating in sustainable farming and who strive to embody environmental justi ce in The Agrarian Example of Koinonia part due to the vision, dedication, and hard work of a community member who lived on the pr operty beginning in the late 80s and who left in February of 1998, Jim Everett. 12 12 This is a fictional name as Jim is one of my research subjects.

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120 The Mennonite Church sent Everett to Koinonia after graduating from Michigan State University in 1983. For a year and a half he commuted between the Habitat office in Americus and Koinonia where he worked under the head gardener, Ray Rockwell. A strong desi re to travel overseas landed Everett in Bangladesh, where the Mennonite Central Committee assigned him to live from 1985 until 1988. As he recalls Being rather disillusioned with such work by the end of it, and not having other ambitious visions, I decided to return to Koinonia as a voluntee r in June 1988 and 1990 or 91. the last partner to join the community as it was then structured (and also the last to 13 Everett was present during the community turbulence of the 90s, and his own recollections are that the years from 1993 until he left were the most trying times. As he ears racially divided between the white partners, to whom simple living was cutting edge spiritual discipline, and a group of long term black employees, with sharecropping in living memory and no desire to move er the Board of Directors, which served as a legally mandated advisory role to the community partnership, switched the community to a corporate structure, the community decided to pay members based on comparable wages for similar jobs found within the larg er region. The Board also hired its first CEO, as if you have it. The result was that within two years (1993 95) most of the former 13 This and subsequent quotes are from an e mail correspondence received 7 July 2009.

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121 partners had left, the place was so me $800K in debt, and clear cutting of the forestland was under way to finance this. without regard to economy...carpeting and air conditioning the office, removing most woodstoves and replacing them with of embezzlement by two subsequent CEOs and about which Castle writes in his community history. Within this milieu of changing corporate structure and co nflicting community visions, Everett worked in was part of a larger community history of organic farming as this term is commonly understood and defi Everett writes that The tradition of organic gardening at Koinonia began in the early 1950's with Will Wittkamper, whom I never met, though I did get to know his wife before she died...she was still at Koinonia when I returned f rom Bangladesh. Will used to debate organic versus conventional farming with Clarence frequently, and the tradition of the two systems existing side by side continues to the present, presenting a unique opportunity for people to experience both (usually, I think, to the benefit of organic gardening at Koinonia and at large!). 14 Although Jordan was progressive about certain farming practices, he was also open to using chemicals when needed. This was in the 1940s and 50s, when such a perspective was influenc ed by the agricultural training he received during WW II, when emerging conventional methods was geared towards helping the community and local sharecroppers achieve fin ancial solvency and within this context, strategic use of chemicals was allowed. However, a s Everett relates, Jordan was open to debating the 14 This and all remaining quotes are from an email correspondence on 14 July 2009.

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122 merits of this strategy. This tension all uded to exists to this day on the campus, as most ome is generated by their pecan products made from monoculture pecan groves that are treated with chemicals. This tension will be further elaborated upon in subsequent chapters. Part of this tension is the success that Everett had in building up Koinoni organic garden. From Wittkampers Everett the gardens was food production for the people living on site, with occasional local the former community left, and it represented alternative values, liberal theology, and simple lifestyle; as over against the more mainstream values of the regime then in power. Moreover, each department of Koinonia was urged to become self sufficient or more financially, and this prompted me to have the garden area certified organic and begin fighting, politics, and fina ncial demands eventually led Everett to leave the c ommunity and delve deeper into practicing, embodying, and pro moting permaculture. Today he The permaculture ethics are the closest own permaculture homestead and actively return to Koinonia to help lead permaculture trainings and to work with Everett defines permaculture as organic, and even occasionally, aspects of conventional farming. Its goal is not to be dogmatic but to be effective. For instance, I still have some dumpster diven chemical fertilizer. I have been gradually dribbling it out, mostly as a starter for the humanure

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123 fe are making at their homestead in the woods outside of Macon, definition highlights some of the internal tensions within sustainable agriculture enclaves and the polysemous meanings of sustainable agriculture. For h im, permaculture c an use chemicals if the need arises, but proper permaculture design and implementation sh ould make this be a last resort, for if a permaculture system is designed efficiently and properly, all the nutrient needs of the entire system (outside of sunlight an d rain) should be generated by the system itself. Given this is an ideal that takes many years to achieve in practice (if ever, as there is no truly closed system in nature), many permaculture farmers do indeed use off site inputs in order to keep the sys tem running. Which inputs are permitted from off site can thus become a point of contention, as some permaculturists are fine with chemicals, and others eschew these as they see them as being inimical to the sustainable ethos of permaculture. Everett was exposed to ethnobotanical farming, permaculture, and agroforestry when in Bangladesh, where he delved deeper into his lifelong love of plants and organic farming. This experience of forest based farming, coupled with the edible forest ideal of permacultu re, resulted in Everett along the tenets of permaculture. Therefore, both the current farming activities and sustainable agriculture vision of Koinonia thoroughly bear the stamp of Everett influen ce from his time as a community member. Part of his legacy has manifested in a program of permaculture trainings held once or twice a year, during which the and becomes a living classroom. 15 15 I attended a permaculture training in February of 2010 and my research findings wil l be adumbrated in chapters five through seven.

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124 Permaculture, the kind of farming that Everett brou ght to Koinonia, is rooted in the work of Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. 16 Mollison defines permaculture as and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and though tless labour [sic]; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single 1979: 1). Or as Wes Jackson says, current industrial farming privileges part over whole, whereas sustaina ble farming methods like permaculture privilege whole over part (1987). This is one of the key critiques of modern farming by environmental agrarians and is a consistent theme found within s agrarians agree with this critique. 3) that ions of care and 3). This matches well with the agrarian idea of cultural permanence in place, where non industrialized sustainable farming is practiced and passed down through successive generations. As with agrarianism proper, permaculture is not a romantic or nave worship of nature and soil. Rather, it usually focuses on human needs and encourages disciplined ntial early If there is a single claim that I could make, in order to distinguish 16 Permaculture was developed by both Mollison and David Holmgren and became the basis of an is more often associated with permaculture than is Holmgren, although both actively write and lead workshops on permaculture to this day.

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125 consciously designed Mollison and Holmgren teach that an agricultural system that is consciously designed saves energy with in itself; can handle outside energies from sun, wind, and fire without being overwhelmed; allows f o r the arrangement of plants so they form symbiotic relationships with other plants, so that the system flourishes ; allows for the system designer to place p lants, houses, and other material artifacts in desirable locations; it can be designed to suit a specific climate and a specific landscape/ecosystem; and it can provide for energy, construction, recreation, and food needs (1979: 6) Around the world many have been inspired by and educated in permaculture design. The movement is particularly strong in Western Europe, North America, and Australia, with a domestic United States publication, The Permaculture Activist being one of the leading voices within th e movement. Koinonia advertises its permaculture permaculture pioneers who has helped build Earthaven ecovillage outside of the Black Mountain/Asheville areas in North Carolina was invited to Koinonia to help develop their vision for sustainability in June of 2008. 17 influenced by permaculture ideals and the community is immersed within regional and national permaculture networks. Koino nia brings a unique Christian perspective to permaculture, thereby helping mold its own shifting, maturing, sustainable religious agrarianism. One community 17 A cursory summary of this meeting is available in the Koinonia Farm Chronicle (Fall 2008) on page five

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126 member who moved to Koinonia with his wife in the mid 1990s is Patrick Smith. 18 After living in co mmunity in California and wo rking with dairy farms in the northeast, Smith and his wife came to Koinonia to raise their family. Smith had taken a month long wilderness survival class before their move to Koinonia and currently is an avid dumpster diver an d wild crafts various food sources for his family. He also worked closely with Everett before the latter left the community, leading him to explain that Everett as well as the perspectiv es of the current farm leader, Joel Taylor In April of 2002 Smith helped organize a seminar hosted by Koinonia titled eries of seminars titled The Clarence Jordan Center for the Advancement of Christian Discip leship. The flyer for the Koinonia community as well as exploring other living sustainably in Christian community in the new of the weeklong seminar Smith organized t is possible to read in Smith any of the same c oncerns shared by contemporary New M onastics. This seminar also places Koinonia at the early vanguard of Christian communities that are attempting to discern and put into practice sustainable 18 This is a fictional name.

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127 lifeways and practices. The institutional sup port Smith received in developing and to sustainability, especially via the vehicle of agriculture; this support includes an important theological dimension, so that Koinon ia is also in the vanguard of religious agrarian communities. Smith scheduled the seminar to occur during the annual Earth Day celebration. Over the course of week, seminars included some of the following workshops, as described in the seminar pamphlet: Religion, Theology, and Env ironmental Crisis; a talk by Everett on Sacred Land; and a wild edible walk led by both Everett and Smith Such topics articulate the diverse a pproaches that Koinonia and others in progressive Christian circles like readers of Sojourners Magazine and the New Monastic movement are developing in regards to interrelated issues of peace, activism, justice, and sustainability. These approaches and th eological standpoints thoroughly infuse and Moreover, although t his conference was open to people of all faiths, it largely attracted other progressive Christians. Presenters at the seminar included Quakers, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and representatives from NGOs Habitat for Humanity, Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, and Servants in Faith and Technolog y Southern Institute for Appropriate Technology. Again we see that Koinonia

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128 has developed active lived network partnerships with other NGOs and communities of faith regarding sustainability. This unique fusing of permaculture principles, lived networks, an exemplar of religious agrarianism and situates the community at the forefront of a rapidly greening North American religious landscape that is taking food issues seriously The e volution of Smith 19 Tasks and jobs have been divided into separa te categories under the new community model, and each task has its own coordinator. Therefore, farming has its own team that is typically staffed with interns and there is a farm coordinator who makes most of the important decisions regarding how the farm will follow the covenantal vision worked out earlier in the new Partner Covenant Smith calling to restore the visionary work began by those who dressed and caressed the trees and soil befor e hi m. I am convinced that Joel Taylor is the one who is now called by God to lead us into a renewed commitment to care for the env ironment which beginning of Koinonia, there has been recognition of how important a responsibility it is to be good stewards of this corner of creation tha ). A deeper analysis of specific religious agrarian practices currently being implemented by the community and an analysis of interviews with community members in charge of implementing these practices occurs in chapters five through seven. For now I will turn 19 2009: 5).

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129 my attention to a summary of Christian approaches to agriculture, and especially sustainable agriculture. A Brief History of Christian Farming Because of the conversion of Emperor Constantine, the history of Christian farming is more complex and widespread than the history of Jewish farming I explore in the next chapter This is by default of both gross numbe rs and total acreage, given that Christianity became the religion of empire. Its dominance and hegemony was challenged by internal division and the rise of Persian and Ottoman Muslim empires, but given the overall time period and span of continents, it is only possible to give brief brush strokes of an historical outline of Christian farming. Even here we must be toward nature held by the peoples of the classical world is that these varied greatly Glacken 1967: 13). The early Christian communities struggled with their identity were they Jews and thus an agricultural people now living in diaspora, or were they a new people? Paul helped clarify this ambiguity in forceful terms so that the agricultural history of the Hebrew Bible and the sacrifices to Yahweh quickly lost their power as identifiers within emerging proto all humans, and despite three centuries of persecution, this message nonetheless found a home in Constantine and thus the Roman Empire. Therefore, the centralized roads and agricultural practices and technologies and overall politics of Rome became Christ ianized, while Christianity became Helle nized. Underneath this Hellenistic bedrock was a split between rural and urban, already evident in the philosophy of Socrates. Although Aristotle developed a natural

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130 philosophy, the Greek antipathy towards the rural, and towards nature generally, was influenced by the thoughts of Socrates and Plato (Bender 2003: 162 166) and by the utilitarian and aesthetic views of natu re found in the Stoics (Glacken 1967: 52). All told, the Hellenistic world was built upon a cattle economy that led to massive deforestation, coupled with the glorification of the rational, urban world that clung to the idea of a past go lden age of soil fertility (1967: 132 3). However, the Hellenic concept of a virtuous citizenry was influenced Politics (Montmarquet 1989: 26). It is upon this mix of Israelite and Hellenic worlds that Christianity took root. The cosmology given i n Genesis became the lens through which Christians viewed nature, with this view holding supreme until the beginning of geography in the 1800s and then portant to the Christian idea of nature because it is the source of the belief, widely held through the seventeenth century, that the fall of man has caused disorder in nat ure and a decline in its powers Glacken 1967: 154). Another development of the f usion of the Genesis cosmology and Hellenism is comparable to that of God in the universe, as a personal possession, a realm of stewardship, has been one of the key ideas in the r eligious and philosophical thought of (1967: 155). This idea of stewardship, and the cosmology offered by Genesis in general, has been decried by those like Lynn White, Jr. and Norm Habel who blame rel igion (and especially Christianity) for the current ecocrisis, while apologists like Calvin Dewitt and other

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131 Christian ecotheologians interpret this passage as a challenge to be benign stewards. The latter reading is one that my research subjects at Koino nia (and equally some of my Jewish research subjects) employ to justify their religious agrarianism ( see especially chapter five) Agriculture and general human conceptions of nature in the Chr istian Middle Ages were built directly upon a Biblical worldvi ew. Leading theologians like St. Basil and St. Augustine saw creation as an act of the Creator, so creation was thus viewed as an act of love. Although it is a place of sin and the goal is salvation, nature nonetheless is something to be studied and appr eciated, with Augustine even teaching that nature is root of Christian belief and in the Christian attitude toward nature: one should never become so entranced with the beauties of nature that he [sic] mistakes them for (1967: 197). Therefore, while there was a physico theology that developed during the patristic period, there was also the development of an ascetic, mo nastic, otherworldly view within Christianity that included feelings of contempt for nature, yet that saw manual labor as a source of pleasure. Under St. Benard, St. Francis, and Alan of Lille, monastic communities developed and believed that through thei r labor it was possible to create paradise out of chaotic wilderness. The result of this worldview was the clearing of forests throughout Europe. At the same time, Muslim ideas about nature crept into the Christian West, building on dormant Aristotalean ideas of telos, so that by the time of St. Albert, ideas of a designed earth influenced viticulture, horticulture, and agriculture. Later in the Middle

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132 care mad e the monasteries following the Benedictine Rule very powerful in many parts 1967: 308). Therefore the positive valuation of labor, the view of mankind as agent of God working to create a Christian civilization that guided souls towards salvat ion, and increasing technological mastery over nature all contributed to a reworking of landscapes across Europe wit h monasteries at the forefront. The result was the feudal, agricultural Christian kingdoms that dominated the region until the 1600s whence began the rise of mercantile capitalism and also the onset of the Protestant Reformation While this history is presented as linear, it was not without theological battles that influenced human nature perceptions and interactions. The spread of Christ ianity was clearly met with resistance. Lastly, there were plagues, famines, floods, and droughts, so that the common peasant working agricultural fields did not necessarily occupy a world of abundance. vity of [peasant] labor was fundamental to the vitality of th This is because domestic agriculture supplied the raw materials medieval industry needed, and also supplied towns with their fuel and provis ion needs In other words, the Christian West (privileged because it is from this heritage that European colonizers and farmers of the Americas descended) was built upon the backs of peasant agriculture. Almost all immigrants to North America were Christian agriculturalists, either directly or at most a few generations removed (except of course for mercantile capitalists, seaman, and those with city b ased trades). Furthermore, all were intimately familiar with agricultural cycles and lifestyles, a s the urban rural split of industrial

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133 agriculture is an invention built upon a modern day ideology and the abundance of cheap oil. The theological gestalt of Christian Europe, during both its agricultural heyday, and then under the burgeoning auspices of t for Christian settlement for conversion and colonizing 1967: 293; see also Weber 2003). This fauna and brought with them farming practices (and underlying conceptions of human nature relations) that radically altered the lan dscapes of North Ameri ca (Sale 2006). It is within this worldview that the technological developments of World War II and the discovery of oil as a source of energy led to the industrialization of agriculture and the current rebuttal of this mode of food production by Wendell Berry and other ecological agrarians. Lastly, it is within this milieu that Christian religious agrarians now operate, including my research subjects at Koinonia. Ecological Ethics, Sustainability, and Christianity In this section I briefly explore emerging holistic human nature concepts from within Western (and especially North American) Christian circles to highlight how Christian religious agrarianism in North America is a recent phenomenon made possible by recent devel opments in e cotheology. I also provide a few brief examples of North American Christians who are practicing forms of religious agrarianism that are similar to that practiced at Koinonia. These examples suggest that Christian religious agrarianism is a North American phenomenon in its nascent stages, but given the rise of ecotheological sophistication over the past thirty years coupled with the rise of creation

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134 care and concepts of stewardship, it is likely that this phenomenon is only going to grow. One of the leadi ng ecotheological voices for developing a Christian ecological ethic is th e recently deceased James Nash, who speaks about ecological sin and relationships of all creatures and their environments established in the covenant of 119). By taking ecology and sustainability seriously, Nash argues that Christianity must redefine itself and reconfig ure human nature relations; this will lead to the redemption of humans from living in ecological sin. The path of ecological salvation rests on what Nash calls Ecological Dimensions of Love, which are based upon the dimensions of Christian love: beneficen ce, other esteem, receptivity, humility, understanding, communion, and justice (1992). These dimensions of Christian love are on display at Koinonia and many of these values directly motivate the Christian agrarian practices of the community. As we will see, the justice component of love is one of the key themes uncovered during my research into religious agrarianism. Another leading voice within Protestant environmentalist circles is Calvin DeWitt, a zoologist who founded the Au Sable Institute. DeWitt begins his treatise on his hoped for Christian response to environmental issues (2007) with a quote from John Calvin. In the shared passage, written in 1554, Calvin is offering commentary on Genesis 2: 15. He writes, The custody of the garden was given i n charge to Adam, to show that we possess the things which God has committed to our hands, on the condition that, being content with the frugal and moderate use of them, we should take care of what shall remain. Let him who possesses a field, so partake

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135 o f its yearly fruits, that he may not suffer the ground to be inured by his negligence, but let him endeavor to hand it down to posterity as he received God in all things which he p ossesses. Then he will neither conduct himself dissolutely, nor corrupt by abuse those things which God requires to be preserved (2007: 5) This passage is significant because it evidences a Reformation era concept of responsible, holistic, Christian cent ered agriculture; and because DeWitt is using it to show other Christians that the great theologians of their tradition were concerned about proper, healthy human earth relations. In other words, if a luminary such as Calvin was Christians today? DeWitt answers in the affirmative, arguing that the Creator offers seven provisions to humans so we may have a bountiful life. The second of these is soil namic fabric of roots, soil organisms, and soils that bind together g t 17). Here we see an ecologically informed understanding of the importance of soil in maintaining sustainable societies, a view assiduously championed by ecological agrarians, and now, religious agrarians. In fact, like ecolog culture is being displaced by agri business 37). Such a view from Christianity is a recent development of the last ten to thirty years, made possible by the analyses of people like Wendell Berry, Wes Jackso n, and Paul Thompson, as well as by organic luminaries like Howard and Rodale.

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136 Even earlier evidence for placing what I am calling a religious agrarian concern for sustainable agriculture in North American Christianity can be found in an edited book title d ( Lutz 1980). For example, in this volume, C. Dean Freudenberger, an agronomist and professor in the School of Theology at Claremont, writes that agriculture must be sustainable and just. He offers five suggestions that can move America towards a sustainable agriculture: a science of limits, an understanding of the social and environmental impact of farming methods, the adoption of bio intensive agriculture based on crop rotation and biodiversity, smaller farm sizes, and just in ternational food relations (1980 ). Freudenberger shares a profoundly religious agrarian concept at the end of this list, itself one of the motivating values that inspire the Christian agrarians of my research. corporate gift for all generations. As Christians who are trustees of this endowment, we have freely accepted the invitation to achieve justice and sustainability in the m anagement of the land 141). Such a sentiment thoroughly imbues the religious agrarian worldview of many of the Christians I researched and encountered at Koinonia. Given the back to the land movements of the 1960s and 70s, coupled with the Jesus People movement of the same time, it is certainly plausible and highly likely that similar Christian based concepts of holistic farming and land stewardship were already However, with the perceived increasing evidence of the deleterious effects of industrial agriculture, coupled with the continuing ecocrisis, Christian attention to environmental issues has

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137 grown by leaps and bounds since the Rio Earth Summit in 1989 T his growth has resulted in recent eloquent and sophisticated theological treatises on topics from sustainable agriculture ( Graham 2005) to climate care (Spencer, et al, 2009 ) to a whole gamut of Christian perspectives on a variety of interconnected env iron mental issues (Bingham, ed. 2009). Moreover, with the onset of ecotheology and religious environmentalism and the flourishing of an American sustainable food culture that is penetrating far into the mainstream, Christian communities the country over are r apidly developing religious agrarian values. This is therefore resulting in a plethora of Christian religious agrarianism being put into lived practice around the country today Antecedents exist in the Shakers (Jensen 2004) and in the long and continued history of the Catholic Social Worker movement, with movement houses often times having organic gardens that supply them with produce (as seen, for example, at Haley House in Boston, Massachusetts). However, it is predominantly the last ten years that ha ve seen a proliferation of Christian communities and institutions engaging in sustainable farming, from Anathoth Community Garden in North Carolina (Bahnson 2006) to Lamb of God farm in Illinois (Moll 2007) to a backyard church garden in ??? (Rossi 2008). There are many other examples to be found, and it is within this larger religious agrarian milieu that Koinonia is situated. Because they offer permaculture workshops, participate in a variety of lived networks, and host Schools for Conversion, Koinonia is situated to be a leading voice and exemplar of Christian groups attempting to put religious agrarian values into practices.

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138 I now move to chapter three where I introduce Hazon and Congregation Shearith Israel in order to advance my argument and to enabl e a rich comparison between contemporary Jewish and Christian religious agrarian practices. After chapter three, I enter into an a nalysis of my fieldwork, arguing that the practices of Koinonia and Hazon reflect the greening of North American religious va lues within various subtraditions and especially the integration of sustainable agrarian ideals and religious agrarian values of locality, health, and justice.

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139 CHAPTER 4 HAZON AND JEWISH REL IGIOUS AGRARIANISM The Spirit of Adamah [E]ven though way, our tradition compels us, mitzvot, obligations, the Torah compels us to be sustainable in our agriculture. It compels us to take care of farmers and to not put small farms out of business trend towards ethics, environmentalism, ecology; eco Judaism is going to continue to grow, continue to be influential on the Jewish community. Tremendously influential, I think. More th an most people recognize today. Rabbi Joshua Hillel 1 In this chapter I begin with a brief overview of the role American Jews have played in American politics. This overview helps to further one of my larger arguments religious groups in regards to sustainable food issues and their potential to impact both agricultural policies and (at least perceived to be) environmentally friendly lifestyle choices. I then turn to an exploration of Judaism and ecology, briefly outli ning some of the key Jewish approaches (both textual and organizational) to environmental problems that have emerged from within Judaism. 2 Couched within this analysis will be a brief history of Jewish agricultural farming communities that have existed in America. After this I discuss the more environmentally progressive manifestations of American Judaism, paying particular attention to Hazon. With this in place, I end the chapter by turning my attention to my case study exemplar, Congregation Shearith I srael. 1 The epigraph to this chapter is drawn from a fictiti ous name for a research subject 2 Judaism like most religions, is a very broad tradition and it is equally as accurate single thing, and Jews will continue to struggle with their tradition, using these resources to construct meaningful Jewish life wi thin cultures and societies that rarely are characterized by a single outlook. Judaism tomorrow will be like Judaism today and yesterday a family of communities struggling to make This point obviousl y holds for Christianity, as well, which has significantly more followers and subtraditions.

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140 The reader should keep in mind that, consistent with my lived network approach, religion adapts and changes on the ground to meet the needs of practitioners. As environmental agrarian concerns create hybrid spaces within communities of faith, it should be understood that these communities will eventually change various aspects of their respective religious traditions. Judaism in particular has a long history of flexibility (and counter history of orthodoxy), extending back to the Rabbinical codif ication of Jewish law [via] Oral Torah [means the creation of Judaism is] an ongoing and not static tinual change within Jewish lifeways and teachings is now respondin g to sustainable farming issues, as Jewish communities redefine what it means to keep kosher; install organic garden plots in backyards of homes, Jewish Community Centers, and synagogues; a nd reinterpret legal and rabbinic tradition in light of contemporary environmental sciences as these apply to agricultural issues. North American Politics and Judaism American Jews are disproportionately politically active compared to almost all other fa ith based segments of the American republic. P olitical scientists Kenneth Wald and Allison Calhoun Brown posit that this is a result of the social status of Jews; as a group, Jews face possible persecution and anti Semitic policies and behaviors and this sense of social marginality influences their political activism. 3 Furthermore, Jewish political activism in America tends to support liberal politics, even though most Jews are 3 Such an analysis for why Jews vote for liberal policies is challenged by Rabbi Irving Greenberg, who points out that Jews have been accepted and assimilated into the national collectivity of America at larger (1999: 37).

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141 Caucasian and wealthy, two indicators that typically signify conservative, Rep ublican Wald and Calhoun Brown shed other insights that provide explanatory power for my overall argument about religious ly motivated lived networks of liberal environmental activism devoted to both sustainable agriculture and larger agrarian issues. As political scientists, they use statistics, polls, voting records, and survey results to understand voting behavior and pol itical activities of religious citizens. One of their findings is that religious activists tend to focus their energy on public policy issues. This political activism tends to be motivated by a mix of group identity, group status, theology, worldview, an d institutional interests (although religious leaders tend to embody the latter). I argue throughout that values, and especially sustainable agrarian values, are both shaped by and embedded within religious groups and networks. Thus, it is important to r ecognize that liberal Judaism has within itself a high level of grassroots religious activism. This activism is readily seen in the organizational structure and political activities of Hazon, which range from bike rides devoted to raisi ng awareness about environmental issues like climate destabilization to supporting Community Supported Agriculture partnerships. Furthermore, regarding activism, including religious activism more broadly, Wald and Calhoun local community activists potential of religious faith to organize people to address the material realities of their worldview, and culture to empower people to address the conc erns of their

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142 : 137 8). This sort of organization to address community concerns (and for the purpose of agrarian concerns, this community is extended especially to the soil) is evident in the local practices of N ew M onastics like Koinonia, an d in the food campaigning undertaken by leaders within Hazon. An example of the latter is addressing material issues of food poverty (nutritional, environmental, and ethical) by creating lived networks that join CSA farmers with synagogues and temples aro und the country while also advocating for Jewish CSA members to become politically active in local food politics. It is helpful to understand the progressive Jewish food networks as exemplified by Hazon in light of the political analysis of religious acti vism offered by Wald and Calhoun Brown. However, there is more to Jewish liberalism than simply fear of possible anti semitic, Conservative voting regimes. Ra bbi Sidney Schwarz, founder of t he Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values, delineates a stro ng tradition of liberal, ethical concerns within the American Jewish tradition. As he explains unite Jews as much as a commitment to create a more just and equitab (2006: xxi). Schwarz recognizes a tension within American Jew ry along the lines studied by Wald and Calhoun about their survival as a persecuted and chosen people to the detriment of engaging society at large and working on social justice issues for all people. However, at the other extreme is the Jewish capacity to ge nerate, hold, and embody what Schwarz calls wish history to

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143 develop and work towards universalistic and altruistic ideals that apply to all people, regardless of faith and nationality. Schwarz identifies a key Biblical injunction that both defines the purpose of Judaism and inspires Sinai conscio usness. This is the injunction found in Genesis 18:19, when Yahweh tells Abraham to which in English can and justice in : 4 5). Further concerns for social justice includes a strident critique of American affluence and consumerism that is in solidarity with similar critiques levied by both New M onastics and Robert Bellah. This critique and the mandate to do what is right and just that is found respectively within both rabbinic and Biblical Judaism is reflected in the liberal voting behaviors and active social justice lobbying of American Jews. Schwarz identifies seven core values of the ra bbinic tradition that are related to social justice and which have influenced the liberal political activism of American Jews (2006 : chapter 8). Some of these include c hesed or loving kindness and compassion ; kavod h abriot or recognizing the dignity of all creatures because they are created by God ; bakesh s halom or to seek peace and pursue it ; and emet or inne r and outer integrity and truth. A variety of these same social justice concerns blend into Jewish environmental concerns including loving kind ness and compassion (towards farm workers, farmers, and non human life forms found on farms); recognizing the dignity of all life forms so that traditional concepts of kosher are being challenged (see especially chapters six and seven); and the effort to m atch inner values with outer practice, so it is possible to live a life of integrity in regards to religious agrarian issues

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144 Schwarz offers one further insight into Jewish culture and politics in America (broadly speaking), as wel l as an ambitious claim about Jewish history: brought into the world the notion : 249). This history of Jewish concerns for social justice and social responsibility manifest in Jewish sustainable food circles as quintessential agrarian co ncerns (see, for example, the quote at the beginning of this chapter from one of my research subjects). Judaism, E cology, and Relationships with the L and In this section I outline in broad strokes various Jewish relationships (material and ethical/religio us/legal) with the land, placing more emphasis on recent historical manifestations found within a distinct American context. 4 This will help give context to the emergence of Hazon and to Jewish religious agrarianism. To begin to understand modern, and es pecially North American, Jewish ideas of and relationships with the environment, it is important to have a brief overview of Jewish history. As early Israelites were a farming people, agriculture played a significant role in the Hebrew ritual calendar. M any commentators note the agrarian basis and agricultural meanings of a variety of prayers and mandated practices found within the Hebrew Bible and early Israelite religion. In general, food played a large role in early Hebrew religion as well as in struc turing social relations, including relations with Yahweh. 5 4 Hiebert (2008), Davis (2009), and Hillel (2007) all provide excellent analyses of early Hebrew relationships with the land and provide hermeneutical analyses of early Biblical teachings regarding ancient Israelite landscapes. 5 This point is convincingly argued by Gillian Feeley Harnik in Early Judaism and Christianity y Judaism. See also Davis (2009 ) and her explorat ion of early Hebrew agrarianism; C omins (2007); and the following from Jeremy most fes tivals have specific foods associated with them, and most important, the dietary requirements of Judaism, the laws of kashrut

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145 Jewish relations to the land are also shaped by the fact that Jews have in large part had to define their identity within minority enclaves set amidst and amongst violent anti Semitic settings. 6 For example, Jews in Byzantium suffered under oppression from early Christians, who had turned their own rage of being oppressed by Rome onto their neighbors Such rage resulted in Jews facing growing oppression from the 4 th to 7 th centuries CE in Palesti ne; for example, in the Palestinian kingdom Jews could not intermarry nor own slaves. T form the land, a process that ended with their becoming a nearly completely urban peo Scheindlin 1998: 65). Once they became an almost thoroughly urbanized people living in ghettoes, Jews (and by this time it was rabbinic Judaism within diasporic communities) turned inward to both the Written and Oral Torah. This overall historical process of Jews turning away fr om an agrarian past (Davis 2009 ) was exacerbated when Arabs conquered Jerusalem in the eighth century. Jews were aff ected by this empire wide trend, becoming ever more urbanized and drawn away from agriculture a 76). A third historical arrangement, the lack of land titles, further removed the majority of Jews from agricultural liv elihoods, cu stoms, and lifeways. In medieval Europe, the (Scheindlin 1998 : 100). Living in such a context would have made it di fficult for European Jews to develop in depth 6 For a powerful exploration of this topic, including how the term Judeo Christian is extremely problematic, see Schwartz (1997).

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146 retreated to the periphery of Jewish concern. In part the contemporary secular and then religious move towards Zionism, i ncluding a strong love of the land of Israel and urge to farm this land for self sufficiency and Jewish identity, has been shaped by this history of displacement from Middle Eastern, North African, and European farmlands. This brief overview of Jewish d isplacement from the land does not capture the intricate complexities, politics, and counter examples that without doubt equally constitute Jewish history. Nonetheless, and at a scale that far exceeds the historical relationship Christians and Muslims hav e had with the land and agriculture, Jews were systematically kept from developing a similar political, ethical, and living religious relationship with various Middle Eastern, North African, and European landscapes. This history shaped Jewish religion and therefore contemporary Jewish environmental concerns. Furthermore, it has directly contributed to the reason North American Jews are the most active in developing Jewish environmental ethics. Jews in North America fuse scholarly, rabbinical, and lay ap proaches to the ecologic crisis within a larger North American environmentalist milieu built upon the legacies of Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, Earth Day, back to the land, and environmental justice movements. As the leading Jewish environmental campaigner of product : 211). 7 These North American Jews, along with Jews from around the world, are finding rich resources within this topophili cally 7 For an in depth exploration of the unique history of, key players within (including especially Abraham Joshua Heschel and Arthur Waskow), and leading groups that have shaped North Americ an Jewish environmentalism, see Seidenberg (2005). Meanwhile, Jewish scholar Hava Tirosh Samuelson writes of

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147 (Tuan 1974) disenfranchised history that nonetheless speaks to an ongoing dialogue of tradition based on religious environmentalist concerns and not a traditional interpret how religions morph and change based on the lived needs of followers (Tomalin 2002; Mack 2001; McCutcheon 1997; Gross 2000 ; Vasquez 2011). 8 Jewish Agrarianism in North America Despite the above history, there were indeed Jewish farming enclaves in Europ e, Russia, and the Middle East; however, most Jews in North America nonetheless emigrated from urban Ashkenazic regions of Europe. However, once in America, Jews whether Sephar dic or Ashkenazic -settled in cities and spread westward, in the process creating numerous intentional Jewish communal agricultural experiments over the past one hundred and fifty years at various sites throughout America (Bartelt 1997) The first Jewis h agricultural colony was Ararat, founded in 1820, while the peak of Jewish agricultural colonies occurred from 1881 through approximately 1940, when during that time period over one hundred colonies were created. The earliest of these agricultural experi ments were started by German Jews, but it was with the onset of Russian pogroms that an effort to relocate, fund, and settle Russian Jewish immigrants across the United States in agricultural colonies began in earnest. This movement coincided with an incr easing urbanization of America, creating access to abundant farming acreage, often in remote locations spread throughout the country. As Moses 8 Or as religion and nature scholars Bauman, et

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148 appreciation of the most dramatic, inspiring, and disastrous venture in the whole history of the Jewish westward migration: the founding of Overall, three basic problems led to the downfall of almost every attempt at creating as R obert Goldberg poin ts out years to their biblical ancestors nor across thousands of miles to the Israeli kibbutz to come face to face with their Jewish agrarian heritage for no group in modern American wa s more obsessed with the agrarian idea in their fashion than their forefathers who between 1881 and 1915 founded over forty agricultural colonies [sic] across the length and breadth of the American continent. This collective effort in America was ideologi cally inseparable from an international Jewish Back to the Soil Movement that saw Jews establish dozens of farming settlements that extended from Argentina to Palestine, from Russia to Canada as well as in America and elsewhere (1991: 69 70; my italics) G informed many of the pioneers who invested their lives in [Jewish] agricultural colonies are a tribute to the social idealism that has illumined many phases of American Jewish history and that has made its most pronounced contribution to the labo r and socialist : 68). T his social idealism is now interacting with and contributing to environmental and modern day religious agrarian movements. In other word s, the historic legacy of North American liberal Jewish politics and active engagement with social movements has created the ferment for the development of the robust, emergent Jewish religious agrarianism that my dissertation explores. Besides this polit ical and agricultural background, there also exists a sophisticated and bourgeoning Jewish (and especially North American) approach to environmental issues.

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149 The environmental ethics of this movement have equally helped lay the groundwork for the Jewish ag rarianism of Hazon and the various synagogues and temples that join CSA partnerships under their aegis. Jewish Environmental Thought Judaism includes the potential for a strong, anti environmentalist strand of thinking. This is exemplified especially in Orthodox circles, where midrashim and halakhic reasoning tend to privilege a male creation not as a biocentric place of reverence but as a creation where an ongoing Divine covenant with humans was put into place. Within this legalistic and religious paramount and concern for nature can be interpreted as idolatry. the proper treatment of the soil, animals, and vegetation of the land of Israel in order to Samuelson 2006 : 27). With the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE and the development of rabbinic Judaism, Torah became the ce nter of Jewish life and its concern with ritual purity and moral integrity moved from the inner sanctum of the Temple to how Jews experience the natural world t hrough t Samuelson 2006 : 28). The twofold pressures of both living in secluded ghettoes away from farm land and the fear of idolatry contributed to a prism that viewed the natural world to be, at best, a peripheral concern for most rabbi s. This understanding of rabbinic Jewish history, coupled with the history of displacement from the land discussed earlier, leads to a second starting point in regards to contemporary Jewish environmental thought. Because rabbinic Judaism has its

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150 focus ( religious, legal, intellect ual, social) on Torah texts so as to apologize for Jewish complicity in the ecological crisis and to provide evidence of Jewish environmental concerns has been tempting. However, this approach l eads to what Bradley Ar t s on describes as a w orld (2001: 162). In this, Judaism is not different from other text based traditions, including varieties of Christianities that privilege the Bible. Rather than a decontextualized, apologetic, externally pressured to seek for green insights, and finally meaningless mining approach to Jewish environmental thought, Art s on argues that Jews need to create a second stage of contemporary Jewish environmental thought, one which explores helpful conceptions of the Earth and humanity from within the context esta blished by Jewish thought and writings. Although our tradition may say little directly about air pollution or about the polar ice caps, it does dwell at great length on how Jews are to live with the soil, on the sanctity of the Earth and its produce, the holiness of one particular place ( Eretz Yisrael ), and on particular times ( Shabbat, Yovel, and the Shemittah ). Perhaps if we begin with intrinsically Jewish categories we might construct a Jewish ecology, enriching the traditional structure of Judaism wit h a consciousness of environmental issues rather than simply tailoring Jewish religion to fit within the procrustean bed of a dismembered ecological Judaism ( 2001 :162) Thus, a vibrant, articulate, contemporary Jewish environmental ethic must first speak to a unique Jewish culture and history, rather than plunder this culture and history to find token passages and legal examples that can be applied to larger environmental concerns. According to Arts on, such a second stage will create a true, even possibly a systematic, Jewish environmental ethic that is firmly grounded within Jewish cultures, cosmologies, and ontologies. His redaction also hints at some of the key agrarian

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151 concerns shared by members of Hazon and Koinonia : proper living relations with the soil, the sanctity of Earth and its caloric bounty, and the centrality of place. A central aspect of this Jewish cosmology is Israel, the land promised to Jews from God. However, because of the diaspora, the written and oral Torah are both central to Jewish cosmologies. Thus, while God commands various mitzvot, Jews are also obligated to say blessings ( berakhot ) of gratitude for the various created gifts God has promised and shared with h is cre ation. Such historical and material gifts begin with the literal land of Israel and its bounty as described in the Hebrew Bible. The Torah, Arts on prescribes gratitude to God as Sovereign of Israel; the Rabbis extend t hat response to the world : 167). the various created objects of the earth encountered outside of the Holy Land of Israel are made sacred and, consistent with the original covenant of Israel as the promised significance to the soil, to what emerges from the ground, and to the sanctity of all ground everywhere. The categories of the berakhot themselves va lorize the Earth as a anywhere that life can thrive, that a sacred time is anytime Je (2001 : 167 8). ssings and how this process widened the circle of what landbases could be counted as Holy helps create an internal Jewish ecological ethic, and one that can be argued is explicitly agrarian. We have seen that one of the guiding goals of environmental agra rianism is precisely to create sustainable

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152 rabbinic tradition of reciting various Jewish blessings, these farms (especially if farmed by Jews) become hallowed ground if and when properly blessed. Such sacrality is compounded when the food grown on the farms is blessed, and is compounded further when this blessed food is consumed with and prayed over by other Jews. ethic/environmental thought, then we are able to return to the Jewish political tradition alluded to earlier in this chapter. This is a tradition that compels Jews to strive for uired to protest against injustice and to try to agitate for change even when successful implementation appears very in other words, taking seriously environmental agr arian critiques about how farm workers are treated, how farm animals are treated, how the soil is treated, and how farmers are then according to this line of reasoning, Jews are required to take food just ice issues seriously. The epigraph for this chapter details one r environmental justice issues more seriously in the coming decades. Of course, this is an ideal position for which Schwartz argues built upon the lineage of Shabbat 54b found in the Babylonian Talmud. This passage states that, do so is punished [liable, held responsible] for the transgressions of his family. Whoever is able to protest against the transgressions of the people of his community and does not do so is punished for the transgressions of his community. Whoever is

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153 able to protest against the transgressions of the entire world and does no t do so is punished for the transgres : 1). Given the inherent complexities of scale, complicity, and interconnectedness of environmental justice issues, it is impossible for any one person, regardless of faith, to always ac t in a just way. However, using food as a locus of putting into practice a Jewish environmental ethic allows for an attempt to be made. T he Jewish concern for justice does indeed motivate many people who have joined Hazon sponsored CSA arrangements. Let develop Jewish environmental ethics given the ecological crises facing the planet today. According to Schwartz, Judaism contains within it strong Biblical, prophetic, and legal statements that require Jews to be actively involved in justice. Jews should be gemilut chasadim righteously ( tzedakah ) and give charity, to concerns about peace, international relat i o ns, hunger, and of course ecological issues. Regarding environmental justice issues, Schwart : 39). According to Schwartz, this statement means that humans (and especially Jews) are to be co workers with God in helping to preserve His creation since everything belongs to God. Another passage that Schwartz alludes to, and to which many other leading Jewish environmental thinkers use as well, is Deuteronomy 20: 19 20, which contai ns the

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154 prohibition to not unnecessarily waste or destroy ( bal taschit ) anything of value, including especially fruit trees. 9 With this midrash of Torah, we see within the rabbinic tradition a bourgeoning development of a concern for place. This concern i s shared by Jewish religious agrarians, as seen in chapters five, six, and seven. The emerging analyses of Jewish tradition that support these concerns are occurring because corporations hav e comm odified the planet and have lobbied governments to craft Fre e Trade Agreements that buttress a global consumer economy, such that bal tashchit [Jews] must work to change the curr ent system, which is based primarily on greed and maximization of profits and entices people to amass excessive material goods, thus causing great ecological damage. We must work for approaches that put primary emphasis on protectio n of our vital ecosyste : 52 3). This prescription and analysis of the current ecocrisis is consistent with those put forth by environmental agrarians and advocates of sustainable farming practices. It is an analysis contextualized, however, within a Biblical, and espe cially Jewish, context. It should be noted that such exegesis of Jewish scripture is proliferating and is helping to marry religious and environmental agrarian concerns within the lived practices of Jews in North America. We will encounter these calls fo r justice, as well as other explicit Jewish environmental ethics, in later chapters, as these are driving concerns for my research subjects. 9 For a strident criticism of how this passage has been taken out of context (Biblical and legal) and been tu Bal Taschit

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155 A North American Jewish Vision of Transformation Jewish environmentalism today is generating a more visible presen ce, as reflected in the formation, development and growing presence of Hazon, which has concerns and the largest Jewish environmental group in the country in terms of membership Beginning as a small non profit in the Northeast in 2000, Hazon now has main offices in New York City and affiliate offices in San Francisco. The birth of founder Nigel Savage, Hazon currently has a Board of Directors that includes various Rabbis and D octors, an Advisory Board, Chairs of various Hazon campaigns, Rabbinical Scholars, and a Staff of almost twenty full world, and the worl York, San Francisco, and Israel) to raise awareness about environmental issues and to contribute to the emotional, physical, and environmental he alth of Jews; and work on helping American Jews and the larger American society develop robust, sustainable food habits and networks of sustai nable agriculture. Both of these issues are of central import to Savage, who is both an avid biker and who suppor ts the ideals and goals of sustainable agriculture. To this end Hazon has published a sourcebook that outlines and defines their vision of sustainable food systems, called Jews, Food and Contemporary Life (2009). The book highlights sustainable food issues, with eight chapters on: Learning Torah; Gratitude, Mindfulness and Blessing our Food; Kashrut; Bread and Civilization; Eating Together; Health, Bodies

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156 and Nourishment; Food and Place; and lastly, Food and Ethics: The Implications of our Food Choices. As can be seen, many of these chapters address explicit agrarian concerns and represent concerns shared by my research subjects who are involved with Hazon sponsored CSA partnerships. These are also concerns shared by my members of Koinonia, but for the Jews I research they are concerns germane to a unique Jewish tradition (see chapters five, six, seven, and conclusion) The overlap that definitely exists in the Jews and Christians I research occurs as a result of environmental agrarian concerns, and from the growing ecological reformation found Christianity. A f co ver letter with my purchased copy of Food for Thought that asserts: Rooted in more than 3,000 years of Jewish tradition about food, Hazon has inspired a growing conversation in the Jewish community about what we eat, where our food comes from, and how our food choices are so closely linked to our personal health and the health of our planet. Hazon is using food as a platform for Jewish education, drawing on the wisdom of our Jewish texts and sages for guidance as we confront contemporary food and environme ntal issues. Our food programs are designed to fulfill the Hazon mission : creating a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community, and a healthier and more sustainable world for all People of all ages, from across the spectrum of Jewish practice and denominations as well as those who are unaffiliated with the Jewish community and those from other faiths emphasis added ) This communication legitimate s year tradition of Judaism. I t also explicitly mentions the y food and environmental agrarianism including its religious aspects. This agrarianism, strongly associated with Wendell Berry, heavily criticizes the global industrial food economy and attendant fertilizer and other chemical input

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157 monoculture farming practices that critics claim are destroying farming communities and soil s. Furthermore, the passage articulates the mission that has guided Hazon since it was formed in 2000: creating healthier and more sustainable Jewish communities and a healthier and more sustainable global community. It is important to realize that Hazon is not isolated from other Jewish organizations. Rather, its members and leaders are active in a variety of Jewish communities and form active networks with other faith communities, environmental NGOs, politicians, and local governing bodies. Hazon iden tifies as a progressive, articulate, environmental group, but one that is thoroughly grounded in Judaism. Members include Orthodox, liberal Reform, Conservative, Renewal, and cultural Jews, and is even welcoming of atheists and agnostics (though the latte r tend to be in the extreme minority of members and typically have a Jewish background) Such inclusivity of Jews from various backgrounds led Hazon founder Nigel Savage to assert that Hazon commun ity To further the creation of more sustainable food practices, Hazon organizes CSAs so local, sustainable farmers can find customers and local Jews (and non Jews, for it is no t necessary to be a Jew to join a Hazon sponsored CSA). They also organize and host an annual Food Conference (which I attended in December of 2009) dedicated to exploring sustainable food issues from a Jewish perspective. Hazon also hosts a food blog ca lled The Jew and the Carrot ( www.jcarrot.org ) which contains a clearing house of reflection about and analysis of sustainable food issues, written by Jewish bloggers. Lastly, as the Xerox I received from Aronson des cribes, Hazon

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158 Food Education Network[,] a network of Jewish food education resources, curricula and teacher training including an 18 lesson interdisciplinary curriculum about food and Jewish tradition for students (typ ically grades 5 9), a complementary curriculum for families, and additional training and resources on Food for Thought Sustainable food issues have become Hazon this concern include the education of young Jewish chil dren by teaming up wit h Jewish Day Schools, the development of CSA partnerships, and the creation of a vibrant on line Jewish food community at The Jew and the Carrot Taken together, Hazon is directly speaking to and meeting the growing demand and needs of North American Jews who are concerned about sustainable food issues, so that Hazon has become the leading voice for sustainable Jewish food issues in North America. 10 This concern and call is shared in the Preface to Food for Thought which states, in very agrarian yet equally very Jewish terms, that How we eat is an extension of who we are. How we consume is a central 10 impress ed with Hazon, or a image and narrative that it presents to the Jewish and non y new at all. I think it is really a continuation of something University of Florida] thirty five years ago now I remember we had a seder, a Passover seder we did at Hillel that was vegetarian and was connected with the earth and we did it sitting on the floor. That was thirty five years five years prior to that there was the same thing going on. Every generation takes these issues into their own language and into their own consciousness and growing? Hazon is growing only because people who are involved in these issues prior were involved in secular organiza tions. Hazon took through their bike rides and charismatic leader put a brand name on ay want to think they invented really create a movement. I think the movement was there. I think you could see this echo in previous

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159 we eat in a way that is enjoyable, sustainable and ethical; i n a way that engages our families and our tradition, and also the unique circumstances of the world that we live in that conversation, in our view, enriches Jewish life and makes the world a better place (2009: xi). In other words, Hazon takes seriously th e starting premise of this dissertation: eating matters. Furthermore, the choices of what we eat, how we eat it, and how the food that we eat is grown all assume religious significance for religious agrarians, including for the Jewish religious agrarian e xemplars Hazon. For these modern religious agrarians, food choices that exhibit concerns about justice, ethics, and sustainability are being grafted onto existing Jewish traditions and lifeways so that Jewish identity is enriched. Moreover, this bottom u p re imagination of tradition captures the essence of lived religion in action. It also emplaces Jewish religious agrarians in the trophic pyramid of about values and prac tices in regards to the natural world, and especially the goals of sustainable agriculture. By taking sustainable agricultural issues seriously and merging these with Judaism, Jewish religious agrarians in Hazon are recognizing that they are part of a mor e than human world, and one where agricultural production is seen to have either positive or deleterious impacts. The Preface continues, stating And the interplay between the two elements [agrarian and religious] of that conversation is one that we want of food and of learning, and the deep belief that learning about food and doing so through the double prism of Jewish tradition and contemporary challenges is vital to the creation of healthier relationships to food in the earth, food that builds communities and encourages us to be our best selves ( 2009: xi)

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160 The sustainable farming practices supported by Hazon participants are indeed inspired by their desire to be both their best Jewish selves, and also to be active participants in building local food culture and communities that nourish farmers, soils, and bodies. By enteri ng into a living conversation about these issues, the Jewish religious agrarians of Hazon are helping to change the politics, religious identities, and food habits of the North American Jewish foodscape. Shearith Israel Shearith Israel is an egalitarian C onservative synagogue that occupies a brick building built in 1904 located near the Briarcliff Campus of Emory University in Atlanta, a part of the city that is mostly affluent and Caucasian. 11 Located down a tree lined side street and surrounded by larger family homes, the synagogue is in the midst of renovating its building, installing eco friendly light bulbs throughout their campus and flush ol, to which they serve kosher meals made in a kosher kitchen maintained on site. Within three miles of the synagogue are Whole Foods natural food supermarket; Sevananda, a member owned natural foods coop; a Kosher Gourmet themed deli and store; Judaica C orner, a retail store that sells material artifacts (books, Talmuds, menorahs, clothing) of Jewish religion and culture; and the re member of Hazon who sells sustainable farm ing tools and composts Also within a short driving distance is Little Five Points, a trendy part of Atlanta home to cafes, restaurants, and an independently owned bookstore. 11 www.shearithisrael.com

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161 es of Americus and its surrounding environs that is home to Koinonia. However, industrialized farming has its critics in areas as diverse as Americus and Atlanta. This is because the criticisms of industrialized farming developed by Berry and other envir onmental agrarians apply to both rural and urban areas, for in both areas the values and practices of food choices predominantly support industrial farming. Furthermore, the sustainable agriculture worldview is supported and developed by scholars, activi sts, farmers, and researchers who live in places as diverse as Salinas, Kansans (home of the Land Institute) to Atlanta, Georgia (home of Daron percent of American citizens are involved in farming, the majority of Americans concerned about sustainable food issues are by default urban markets and CSAs in urban areas, and thus the development of religious agrarian concerns in urban religious communities. During my first visit to the synagogue, at which time I also interviewed the lead rabbi who was supportive of hosting a Hazon CSA partnership and during which I obser v retz pick up, I was able to meet with a past president of the synagogue. My discussion with this synagogue member ranged from discussing the history of the synagogue to its contemporary identity to food and environmental issues. According to Mike Greenberg, an articulate, soft spoken man of late middle age who has been a member of the synagogue for thirty one years, the synagogue actually began as an Orthodox community in 1904 under the leadership of

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162 Rabbi Tobias Geffen. 12 In 1957 it switched to mixed seating, and about thirty years the rabbi decided the level of this observance. In 2001 the community became Conservative and egalitari an, in that women can read Torah (they have a female rabbi) and women can be included in the minyan needed for quorum. Greenberg also explained that the synagogue is eclectic in its make up, ranging from an 85 year old holocaust survivor to professional s with young children. He also feels that there is no division within the synag ogue regarding the CSA and vegetarian views (to be discussed in later chapters) and that the CSA group and rabbi tend to be more progressive in their Jewish and political views than the rest of the congregation. Greenberg was involved with the hiring of Rabbi Hillel, claiming the rabbi was hired for his humanist teachings and that environmental issues were not talked about in the hiring process. Nonetheless, sin ce the rabbi began in 2006, environmental concerns have been brought to the attention of the synagogue, in large part because of CSA partnership. Greenberg further claim s that of the 550 member families, most have been practicing Jews their whole lives or are from a Jewish background. There are a few converts, most from Christianity while some converted from Orthodox Judaism because of the perceived exclusivity towards women in Orthodox teachings and practice. The synagogue is not liturgical ly liberal, as approximately ninety five percent of the services are in Hebrew. Furthermore, more congregants have a desire to deepen their 12 This is a fictional name for my research subject.

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163 understanding of Judaism and Jewish tradi tions, so a second female rabbi was hired to help hold Torah, mishnah, and Talmud classes. Greenberg explained that t he synagogue as a whole is supportive of the CSA arrangement, but the majority of the synagogue are not members. My very fi rst Wednesday visit to the synagogue coincid ed with one of the final retz CSA drops of the summer season at which there were thirty two boxes present. Of these CSA members, approximately twenty five belong to the synagogue proper; the rest are Jew s who are not full time members, or are friends of CSA members and are not Jewish. In fact, the organizer of the CSA partn ership who retz arrangement and Wednesday pick up and pick up activities is herself Jewish and an active member of Hazon but not a member of Congregation Shearith Israel. She approached Rabbi Hillel about using the synagogue as a place to start a Hazon sponsored CSA, to which the Rabbi agreed, in large part because he is friends with Hazon staff in New York (where he and his family lived and worked before relocating to Atlanta) and is an active voice in Jewish vegetarian movements. This arrangement will be further explored in the subsequent chapters as I use data gat hered from interviews with the r abbi and CSA org anizer to agrarianism Lived Jewish Farming Networks Consistent with my argument about seeing emerging religious agrarian and larger religious environmental concerns as giving evidence of a lived networking wit hin religious groups, Hazon maintains numerous active network partnerships with other North American Jewish environmental groups, NGOs, and non profits. These include supplying Hazon sponsored grants to emerging Jewish groups that are working on

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164 environme ntal, and especially sustainable farming, issues. One such group that has received a Hazon grant and that shares we blinks with Hazon is the Jewish Farm 13 Begun in 2006 with help from Hazon, the Jewish Farm School runs summer camps and internship programs for young Jews in high school and college to learn about sustainable farming on successful emphasis is on teaching practical ski lls while also educating about the larger context of our contemporary food systems, and how our traditional values and practices can inform our dec isions and actions today Here we see religious agrarian networks in action, and networks that explicitly use religious teachings and values to actively shape and change the values and practices of people of faith in regards to sustainable food choices by providing hands on training and education regarding e nvironmental agrarian concerns. These lived networks also provide a North American context within which Jews are reinterpreting and renewing their tradition in order to address contemporary sustainable food issues. Such pivoting of the sacred is a sign of religious agrarian work in action, with Hazon and H American Judaism. Other networks with which Hazon cross fertilizes include the Teva Learning ion http://tevalearningcenter.org/ ). Teva has become one of the leading groups conducting on site environmental education for Jews and many of their staff and former 13 http://www.jewishfarmschool.org/ Accessed Sunday 9 January 2011.

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165 interns are now active with Ha zon. The same holds true for former interns and staff of Adamah, an on site organic farm located at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Connecticut. 14 Adamah runs three month long summer interns for young Jewish adults who want to learn more ab out organic farming. As their website states, in order to inspire participants to a life of service to the Jewish c ommunity and to the earth The Isabella Freedman J Conference East, showing the active networks forged by these leading Jewish groups working on sustainable agriculture issues. 15 Hazon maintains further active networks with other emerging progressive Jewis h environmental groups and activity centers. These include Wilderness Torah ( www.wildernesstorah.org ), Eden Village Camp ( http://edenvillagecamp.org ), and The Jewish Climate Change Campaign ( www.jewishclimatecampaign.org ). The common concerns and active networks these groups maintain are indeed changing both the values and practices of environmentally concerned Jew s in North America as chapters five, six, and seven will explore In these chapters w e will meet some of these Jews and hear their own words about environment al and religious agrarian issues We will also explore the concrete actions they are undertakin g in the biological landscapes of sustainable agriculture fields, either directly or through joining a CSA. 14 http://isabellafreedman.org/adamah/intro 15 http://www.hazon.org/go.php?q=/food/conference/2010CSA/program.html Accessed Sunday 9 January 2011.

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166 For example, The 2010 Food Conference East had workshops on, amongst other Values, Fair Trade, and the Highest Level of Tzedekah on class on goat milking and cheese making with farmers from Adamah Such diversity of topics and concern can possibly lead to burn out and/or diffusion of focus amongst Hazon members. This has led Mark Jacobs to recognize that there are external and internal challenges to the development of a robust Jewish environmentalism, especially A diversity of religious cultures and a wide range of levels of religious and cultur al knowledge create a challenge for organizing meetings and conferences at which all participants feel equally comfortable and empowered. Fortunately, most of the people who have been attracted to Jewish environmentalism have been eager to work through th Conference in California is that Hazon makes a very concerted attempt to overcome possible sources of conflict within a small (but growing), active North American Jewish environmental communi ty. The active networks maintained by progressive religious environmentalists help provide a mechanism to work on overcoming possible sources of theological discord. Jacobs continues, stating that, American Jews to organize within their religio ethnic community on environmental issues. They can be grouped into five categories: fulfilling Jewish obligation; fulfilling universal obligation; effecting broad cultural/political change; strengthening the Jewish conceptions, halakhic (legal) obligations, and ethical analyses do not seem to be driving

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167 forces for the organizing of 464). We will see that a mix of these do in fact provide motivation for my research subjects to become invol ved with religious agrarian issues but also, and significantly, ethical reasons are a motivating factor in Jewish religious agrarianism (see especially chapter seven on justice) I begin this exploration of religious values and their influence on religious agrarian practice by turning to one of the three religious agrarian themes

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168 CHAPTER 5 THE LOCAL ([FARM] LA ND) Localizing Agrarianism T he agrarian standard, inescapably, is local adaptation, which requires bringing local nature, local people, local economy, and local culture into a Wendell Berry (2003: 33) Locally Grown: Thousands of Miles Fresher. Pop ular Bumper sticker We take that very real image of the farmers in the field, and of course I make it into a metaphor of counting the bounty in our lives and being aware of what is in our lives. And even though our congregants are doctors and lawyers and professors and dentists, we can still have that imagery of the land very present in our own lives and use it as metaphors to enrich our lives even though we may not be farmers ourselves. Q: And do you get affirmation from [congregants] ? A: Sure, absolu tely. Rabbi Greenberg This chapter develops an analysis of how concern for the local is a key element of religious agrarianism. It also explores links between concerns for the local as this concern manifests in sustainable agriculture and environmental a grarian worldviews and how these concerns in part influence religious agrarian concepts of locality. By analyzing research data from members of both Hazon and Koinonia, we are able to see similarities and differences in the values behind how Jewish and Ch ristian religious agrarians include concern for locality local farmers, local farmlands, and local economies in their lived religion. Such perspectives about locality have led Hazon to become the leading religiously inspired CSA network in the country, as well as being strong est proponents of the religious agrarian concern

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169 for the local. Meanwhile, Koinonia is an exemplar of religious agrarian concerns for locality by definition: Koinonia is a community that lives at a loca l campus and is putting into practice Christian religious agrarian concerns about locality. Such concern for locality is not only present in religious agrarian worldviews, but is also present in contemporary North American culinary and food culture circle s as well. For example, i n the winter of 2011, The International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) hosted an annual regional food conference. Part of this conference was held at the famed James Beard House and included a session on regional fo 1 description of thi s part of the conference reads: You care about where your food comes from. You have a relationship with farmers, fishermen and food purveyors who not only produce goo d food but [who] steward the environment. You believe that eating is a political act. In the last few years the local food movement has made enormous strides and gone from fringe to mainstream. What challenges do we still face in re regionalizing productio n and shoring up our food systems? How can culinary professionals continue to bring good food to the table and expand access to healthy, fresh foods? This description captures the rapidly developing environmental agrarian worldview and shows the increasin g ubiquity of this worldview as it percolates up into the leading Among the most important issues are environmental agrarian themes of : food politics; environmental stewardship; concern 1 http://theculinarytrust .org/376/ Accessed 18 January 2011. The Culinary Trust has developed under They have incorporated a rd Annual IACP food conference in Portland, OR. This conference included breakout sessions on topics ran ging from Growing Food in an Urban Setting, Backyard Chickens, Urban Food and Social Justice, to Local Meat, Connecting Producers and Buyers, Food, Culture and Community, to Growing a Sustainable Food City. Such topics highlight the emerging environmental

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170 about knowing who grows your f ood, where, and how; concern for food health and the health of the land. Environmental agrarians build on the larger agrarian tradition when they argue that without a healthy landbase from which to farm, it is not possible to have a healthy society, healthy body, or healthy body politic, themes which I explore in chapter five These issues are central to the work of Wendell Berry, who thre e questions that must be asked with respect to a human economy in any given place: 1) What is here? 2) What will nature permit us to do here? 3) What will nature help us to do here? the key environmental agrarian ideas and ideals B erry is the environmental agrarian writer par excellence his influence on North American sustainable food concerns cannot be overstated. Contemporary environmental agrarianism reflects this corpus, and overall environmental agrarianism includes concerns about fidelity to place; the desire to develop a learned husbandry that exhibits concern for locality; recognition of the agricultural and thus agrarian base of any and every human economy; and criticism of the industrial agricultural model of the United States that has never, as Berry charges, asked about the health of the land. Thus, knowledge of, concern for, protection of, and proper use of land are the paramount environmental agrarian concerns and should form

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171 the bedrock of a healthy culture; or as B and ultimate values. Furt hermore, for environmental agrarians such concerns should ideally lead to the generation, over many years and decades (and eventually centuries) of a locally based farming culture that practices environmentally friendly, sustainable agriculture regimes. S uch regimes will recognize that Berry 1990: 154) such that both of these have an economic as well as cultural value (1990: 157). Without a local culture based on an historical, intimate, and loving nd : 166). Environmental agrarians are concerned about the exploitation and destruction of local farms, local ecosystems, and local economies. Many of th e people I talked to at Koinonia and in Hazon share these same concerns, so see here the re emergence of place in Western ontologies, where the religious environmenta list processes of renewal, reinterpretation, and ecological hermeneutical retrieval are helping to support such place based focus upon the local. Furthermore, religion and values are central to discussions about agriculture, place, and agrarianism. For e xample, is hard to avoid : 62). This statement is pertinent for my overall argument, and coupled with viewing land as the ultimate loci of values, allows for the entry of religion into environmental agrarian concerns about the land. When Berry wrote this phrase, he was discussing how topsoil both retains and expels water; and he

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172 was concurrently describing how topsoil is also a living entity made from the dead, decaying b odies of countless organisms. As such, topsoil is not something humans can replicate; rather, it is something made o ) of nature, and it is something that is needed for our survival. For environmental agrarians everywhere, we destroy healthy topso il to our detriment. Conversely if we build and maintain and replenish healthy topsoil, then we have the ability to flourish. The language of the sacred is necessary to discuss sustainable agriculture because society is literally the outgrowth of soil and land, even though we cannot comprehend how the miracle of soil works nor replicate this miracle in a laboratory. Religion, Ethics, and Land This section presents a brief overview of some key thinkers who have wrestle d philosophically with what proper human land relations might resemble. The groundwork they helped lay became the ferment out of which Berry and other environmental agrarians grew. Their work also crosses over into the various ecotheological approaches t o human land relations that have developed in response to Lynn White contemporary religious agrarianism is in part influenced by the history of this systematic exploration of proper human land relations. T he first, sustained, articulate early ethical defense of la nd came from Aldo Leopold in his 1949 classic, A Sand County Almanac In this collection of essays, the forester, ecologist, and restorationist Leopold an ethical relation to land can exist without love, respect, and admiration for land, and a conceptions of the land, coupled with an instrumental economic system built on

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173 Lockean concepts of private property and labor value, have led to the despoliation of American landscapes and wilderness areas. Therefore, we must rethink and re feel our connections to and alter our relations with the land, basing these relations on an ethic of love and aesthetic beauty. Leopold argues that such a land based ethics will alter human land relations and the values that drive these relations. Environmental philosophy has in large parts been footnotes to Leopold, and rightly so; his challenge to the utilitarian, anthropocentric ethics of his day remain for many environmental agrarians forcefully pertinent Like Berry, Leopold would prefer culture begin by asking what is here in terms of a healthy land base, followed by asking: how can we fit our human culture and economy into this landscape? The religious agrarians I study are indeed asking such questions about the land. While many credit Leopold (along with Thore au and Muir as antecedents) for starti ng Western environmental ethics, there is another progenitor to environmental agrarian land ethics. This progenitor is the botanist and horticulturist Liberty Hyde Bailey, who in 1915 wrote his treatise The Holy Earth: Toward a New Environmental Ethic B ailey wrote this book during a time of increasing urbanization and pollution, an era that was coupled with the first flourishing of industrial scientific approaches to es in scheme to the climate and to the soil and the facilities. To live in right relation with his natural conditi ons is one of the first lessons that a wise farmer or any other wise man [sic] learns. We are at pains to stress

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174 (2009: 8 9). This is perhaps one of the earliest e nvironmental agrarian calls for a localized sustainable agriculture based on an ethic of restraint and that calls for localized adaptation to and proper ethical relationship with the land. Bailey tellingly goes on to point out, based on his reading of the creation is not exclusively man centered: it is bio ce : 23). Such an explicit and helped lay the groundwork for toda Bailey furthermore prefigures other relevant and dominant environmental agrarian themes, writing that The farmer now raises a few prime products to sell, and then he buys his foods in the markets under label and tag; a nd he knows not who produced the materials, and he soon comes not to care. No thought of the seasons, and of the men and women who labored, of the place, of the kind of soil, of the special contribution of the native earth, come with the trademark of the brand. And so we all live mechanically, from shop to table, wi thout contact, and irreverently (2009 : 65) While not as well known as his fellow pre 1970 Earth Day philosophers and scientists Bailey nonetheless both presages and echoes similar critiques o f the emerging industrial agriculture paradigm as does Howard (1972) King (2004), Balfour (2006) Faulkner (1944) and Steiner (2003); later, Berry (1977) and Fukuoka (2004) ; and today, Shiva (2000), Pollan (2006) Jackson (1985) Thompson (1995) and myr iad others. These same criticisms of the emergent industrial farming paradigm of Bailey are echoed agrarian critique of the loss of a localized, land based, sustainable far ming culture has a century old lineage, and one that includes an implicit call for spiritual and religious values to be placed upon the land, as seen in the work of Bailey, Leopold, and Berry. Indeed, we see in the work of these three farmers, writers, an d ethicists a move toward

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175 ethics and religious like sensibilities (if not outright religious terminology and advocacy, ontology) in their agrarian advocacy. What might some other epistemological and ethical frameworks of a religious relationship with the land look like, and how might these marry with environmental agrarian concerns about the land to help build a religious agrarian approach to human land relations? The Native American scholar, lawyer, historian, and activist Vine Deloria, Jr. presents one such viewpoint in his book God Is Red: A Native View of Religion (1994). In this work, Deloria takes Western Christianity to task for its role in ecological crisis and the concomitant anthropogenic sixth of salvation history that has distanced ethics from space and place and placed ethical concern into an eschatological belief system that is otherworldly oriented. In this for place. He is also in dialogue with Leopold in calling for a new religious based land ethic that, for Deloria, sees our landscapes as being imbued with sacrality and revelatory power. He uses traditional Native peoples as exemplars of this sort of stage of appreciating the personality of our lands, but we have the potential to move beyond mere aesthetics and come to some deep religious realizations of the role of sa 2). The sustainable farmlands of our country that are being farm ed by religious agrarians are becoming the loci of such a developing sacralization of the landscape. Many of my research subjects speak directly to this

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176 again that we a re a part of nature, not a transcendent species with no responsibili ties to 3). One goal of religious agrarianism is to indeed act with ethical responsibility to a divinely created world, where such ethics are part of a holistic worldv iew and that therefore give birth to holistic, sustainable farming practices (to be outlined below). Other attempts to imbue landscapes with sacrality are well documented, and there also exists a growing effort to use environmental ethics and holistic sc ience as vehicles for forming human land relations ba sed on religious sensibilities (Callicott [1994] Harding [2006] and Rolston, III [ 1999 ]) Although this dissertation focuses on Jewish and Christian approaches to building upon and re forming sacred h uman land relations in the context of sustainable farming regimes, it is important to note that these approaches are influenced by similar moves occurring within other strands of environmental and religious environmental ethics I will next briefly outline the centrality egional thought to show how local lifeways developed around local land scapes are central to building a sustainable culture, one of the long term goals of religious agrarians. Bioregional Thought a bout the Land T he American environmental milieu is cross fertilizing with a nascent global, and especially North American, ecological re formation. Such cross fertilization of ethical values is contributing towards cha nges in practices toward the land. My research strongly supports this position. But what does it meant to say that the land is beginning to anchor values and practices within religious agrarian networks? How might people of faith respond to Wendell

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177 Berr What are long term goals of land based religious agrarian movements? Many of these goals are shared and articulated by permaculture, bioregional, and environmental agrarian movements. I ha ve and will continue to cover permaculture and environmental agrarian attitudes towards the land, so here instead I will briefly explore the role land should play in perceived healthy human cultures as articulated from a bioregional perspective, and then m ove on to investigating the views of land shared by my research subjects. In a nutshell, bioregionalism can be summed up as the cultural, religious/spiritual, social, and economic reinhabitation of delineated ecological bioregions that occur upon the eart h. 2 Part of this re localization includes developing a lasting local food infrastructure. Aspects of bioregionalism can be found in the emerging food movement: sourcing local foods and the creation of a vibrant, regional food culture dependent upon regional land and farmscapes for sustainably sourced and crafted food. Such a network terroir whic h is a storied French term that relates to food grown in a particular soil and that thus takes on attributes (especially flavors, tastes, and smells) of that soil. This concept has gained remarkable traction in United States food circles over the last fif teen years xv). 3 2 For an in depth treatment of bioregionalism, see LeVasseur (2010e ? ). 3 As an anecdote, Knoll Farms, where my wife and I were employed in 2001, is a progressive biodynamic far m in Brentwood, CA. They were one of the California Federal Government became involved with regulating the organic food industry, the Knolls opted to forego certification and instead in 2001 changed the nam Knoll Farms ( http://www.knollorganics.com/ ).

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178 In regards to her exploration of terroir and North American countercuisine food networks, author Amy T rubek writes el [n]etworks of people farmers, chefs, and others combine a quest for economic livelihood with the goal of a sustainable food system. But for these people the quest is also sensory: they want to create food of high quality. They are pursuing a business, a mission, and a : 142). Such a pursuit marries well with stated ideals of environmental agrarianism and bioregionalism and is thus dependent upon the terroir of place. However, this countercuisine network is not without its critics. Most of those who are interested in such reinhabitation of foodscapes tend to be Caucasian, affluent, and well networks became evident to Canadians Josee Johnston and Shyon Baumann, who found in their ethnography of the North American food counterculture that this foodscape movement contains within it both 4 Similar critiques extend to the bioregional movement, in that most bioregionalists and bioregional philosophie s have historically been generated from within educated, Caucasian enclaves. 5 Furthermore, many charge that bioregionalism is an ideal of luxury, in that if someone is poor, marginalized, and living in a toxic landscape, staying put and building up a vibr ant culture is often not a possibility, nor a desire. In one 4 on grounds of health, sustainability, equity, and corp orate dominance remind us that the rarified world of foodies is a relatively exclusive, and segregated terrain. This exclusivity has a discursive dimension: despite the embrace of die culture in the United States continues to feature a particular demographic namely, white and relatively afflue nt as the : 15 6). Such tensions were evident at Koinonia, where white members -for various environmental, religious, a nd political reasons -embraced permaculture lifestyles and black members viewed this as a form of modern day sharecropping. 5 rooted that offers six critiques of bioregionalis m in general, see Meredith (2005 ). For further criticisms of bioregionalism, see Taylor (2000).

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179 respect, the call for New Monastics to move to the margins of empire can be seen as a faith based corrective to the perceived elitism of the foodie and bioregional movements. Therefore, Koinoni sustainable agriculture is part of this larger struggle to both democratize, and make practical, living locally on the land (although, as noted, tensions exist within Koinonia about this part of th eir vision). Members of Hazon are also involved in democratizing alternative, localized food production, as they contribute CSA shares to soup kitchens and help install sustainable backyard garden plots at centers for at risk youth (see chapter six on jus tice). Bioregionalism is also noteworthy in its approach to building a place based culture because of its emphasis on creating and then socially structuring place based acc ordance with their ideological visions, and in turn cultures are shaped by the power 6 Sustainable farming practices, especially those based on environmental agrarian ethics and ideals, provide perfect opportunities for buildin g and sustaining place based, local cultures. Sustainable farming practitioners tend to be conversant in local varieties of soils, flora, fauna, weather patterns, waterways, insects, and plant diseases, and equally tend to build local networks of informat ion sharing with 6 places peculiar and fascinating interpenet ration with all the vagaries of topography, climate, and evolving ecology that define landscapes and the continuing existence of such places despite the homogenizing forces of the modern world ought to cause us to realize that one of the most insightful wa ys for us to think about the human past is in the form of what might be called bioregional located regularly visited hunting camps and early river valley farming settlements, human places have been super imposed on environmental settings : 44 ). The field of religion and na ture will be served by longitudinal studies of how such bioregional histories are both impacting and being impacted by religious values. Religious agrarian communities provide one entryway into such a long term study of human values/practices and how thes e relate to bioregional landscapes and identities.

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180 customers who are CSA members, and with working relationships with local retail stores that feature local artisan and sustainable food products. Those members of American religions who have faith based as well as secular environmental concerns are actively searching out working relations with such farmers, as supporting sustainable agriculture practitioners becomes a way to put into practice religious a nd secular concerns for local landscapes and farmland. This is seen in my research, especially with Atlanta based Hazon members of Congregation Shearith Israel and their desire to support Riverview Farm in rural northwest Georgia (the farm that supplies t he Congregation with their CSA produce). The bioregional ideal and concern has even been taken up by Nigel Savage, to do with place. I actually think it has to do wi th bio then that concern for the local can be and is expressed in an amalgamation of environmental agrarian, permaculture, and bioregional ethics that mix with religious views of the land to create a lived, religious agrari an practice of caring for local (farm) land. Taking a Stand i n, o n, and o f the Land One task of this dissertation is to explore the development of agrarianism within the United States to show how it, and especially environmental agrarianism, is influencing and shaping contemporary religious agrarianism. One articulate exploration of agra rianism and what agrarianism means for farming and politics is found in John Tradition still [be] the best summary of agrarian principles versus the pr : 43). This book, written

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181 collectively by The Twelve Southerners, has been hailed as a classic of literature and a agrarian values. It is also considered to be in might call locational values Heilman 1982: 102 ; my emphasis ). However, The Twelve Southerners were rightly criticized for patriarchal tendencies, such that their appeal to Southern locational values applied to sections of America on a broad scale contained within it seeds of its own cultural demise. Although an important and popular expression of American agrarianism, the patriarchal undertones of the Twelve Southerners made it hard for subsequent agrarians to take their vision wholeheartedly. This resulted in an important move made by Wendell Berry in the development of American environmental a grarianism, where to history or ethnicity for the validation of values or for identity. Rather, he found healing Murphy 2001: 270 1). In essence of evolutionary and ecological science. Therefore, religious agrarianism is a mix of agrarian history, ecological agrarianism, and the ongoi ng ecological reformation. Often religi ous agrarianism is based within a religious tradition (see Hazon within the larger Jewish tradition/s, and Koinonia within the larger Christian and Protestant tradition/s), while also incorporating insights from ecology, soil science, and modern day critiq ues of neoliberal economics and the industrialization of food systems. T he latter critique is one of the original agrarian arguments of the Twelve Southerners and other agrarians of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

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182 What is new and unique about rel igious agrarianism is indeed this mixing of beliefs, teachings, ethics, and practices in regards to the environment with the ecological agrarianism delineated by Berry. Indeed, for my research subjects, religion gives to my research subjects about the local translates into practices that are geared towards embodying a deeper relationship with local farmlands, local farmers, and others within local sustainable food network s. Ransom opines in his opening for the Twelve Southerners that the forward looking promises and slogans of industry and politics carries a subliminal message: not allow yourself to feel homesick; form no such powerful attachments [to tradition and to place] that you will feel a pain in cutting them loose; prepare your spirit to be always that a place can claim no fidelity to a person, and vice versa. As discussed, agrarians, bioregionalists, and place based cultures all find common fault with such a worldview. day societies have been seized none quite so violently as our American one with the strange idea that the human destiny is not to secure an honorable p eace with nature, but to wage an 7). For Ransom, and thus traditional respectful; and out of so simple a thing as respect for the physi cal earth and its teeming life comes a primary joy, which is an inexhaustible source of arts and r eligions and

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183 9). Here we see that most of the sustainable farming advocates, environmental agrarians, environmental ethicists, and religious environmentalists that I have been citing throughout hold a view in common: cultivating a respect for the earth and its ecosystems including a dual recognition that ecosystems have limits and our survival is largely bound up in this recognition Of impor t is that this value of respect should then dictate practices; not just any practice, but practices of sustainable farming physical earth comes art, philosophy, and most important for the purposes of my argument, religion. Let us now turn to the values and practices of my research subjects to see how these religious agrarians are putting their religious values about local place into practice, and in the process cre ating lived networks founded upon religious agrarian ideals and insights. Jewish Values and Practices a bout the Land monastic communities who are farmers, but there is no Jewish a nalogue. --Beatrice Tischler, interview with author My intervi ews and field work with Jewish participants of Hazon evidence a strong e cological agrarian understanding of the importance of the local in creating an alternative to the globalized industrial agri food system. Such understandings of the local are also grafted onto specific Jewish teachings and histories, leading to the creati on of an emergent Jewish religious agrarianism that is taking root in various North American (and Israeli) Jewish communities. As Tischler notes above, this emergent religious agrarianism dates back to the 1970s, and is becoming more pronounced and visibl e under the networking and advocacy of Hazon

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184 Fresh and Local M any of my research subjects wanted to support local agriculture whether sustainable or conventional, although across the board the preference was local and sustainable over local and convention al (see chapter on Health) because they believed that local agricultural products were superior in taste, flavor, and freshness. As up at CSI because of his t has more flavor. While being appreciative of Isaac also grows some of his own produce in the backyard of his house and wants to provide his daughter with fresh food during the summer months. quoted above Like Isaac, she prefers organic over conventional if given the choice, but like Isaac, joined foods and that she pr efers the former; this is another reason she joined the CSA and house. to be on the board of CS I and was a participant in the job search that brought Rabbi supporting the initial work and vision of Dorothy Goldstein and she is still a committee member for the CSA partn

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185 losing their jobs, especially sm all family farmers. As such, she is pleased to be able to support Riverview Farm, and enjoys visiting their farm and seeing the work they do; this includes an interest in buying the grass fed beef Riverview raises, if the cows could be made kosher by find ing a local sochet and processing plant. reflects a desire to consume locally grown produce grown in a sustainable way. All three feel that such produce tastes better and all three e xpressed the joy they receive when they get their weekly share and bring its bounty back to their kitchen so they can he purchasing power of Jewish families behind local, sustainable farms. They deepen a connection to where our food Part of the context of Jewish community and learning is the weekly pick up one of the pick ups at CSI that I observed included the showing of the film Fresh which was followed by an animated and articulate discussion about the film. 7 Seven CSA members stayed for this discussion (six females and one male) a nd all seemed to know 7 http://www.freshthemovie.com/about/ business people across America who are re inventing our food system. Each has witnessed the rapid trans formation of our agriculture into an industrial model, and confronted the consequences: food contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, and morbid obesity. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vis ion for a future of our food and our planet. Among several main characters, FRESH features urban farmer and activist, Will Allen, the recipient of Michael Pol Wal propagated by the sustainable food movement, with which religious agr arians are networking and being st 2011).

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186 alternative agriculture circles. Whi le the movie spoke of many loca tor concerns, and these concerns were well received and echoed by the CSA memb ers, religious religious agrarianism comes into play these Jews were watching this movie, and agreed with and knew about many of its messa ges not only for their own loca tor, foodie, and sustainable agriculture concerns, but also because of their Jewishness. It is this ability to have CSA pick ups in a Jewish context and community that makes the Tuv ime also becomes a space for sharing recipes, memories of Jewish customs and meals, and talks about food issues. It also builds local community and networks Hazon members mention that the connection they get when they come to pick up their produce from the something bigger was God, the Jewish community, or the sustainable farming milieu wa s unclear, but nonetheless, some members have the sense of purpose that comes with joining the CSA and coming to CSI to pick up their produce within a community setting. Local Health ng a mixture of concern for local landbases/farming land health and mixing this with a Jewish nd just completed training with Hazon during their 2009 food conference on h ow to start up a CSA. Passionate abo ut sustainable food issues, Jacobs is a perfect exemplar of a

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187 re ligious agrarian operating with in the Jewish tradition. This is seen in the following statement that links her faith tradition with agrarian concerns for local farmers: [What] is so incredible to me [is] that [for] every time that you eat, [we have] makes you think about it. And so while you might not be a farmer, Judaism dictates that you be aware of how that food was grown. And thus who was growing it, and where it was grown, and how it got from there to your plate. And that to me is really incredible, and I think it is something that people take for granted While Jacobs echoes Segal, Eisenberg, and Tischler in that she enjoy s fresher and tastier local food, for her th for local farmers and the health of local farmlands and ecosystems. Jacobs feels dr iven to begin a Hazon benefits of reducing our car earth, caring for the land. So I think it embodies so many of the mitzvoth in that way. But I also t hink that it gives us a real opportunity. We live in a world where we are no agriculture. Her inspiration and vision is directly rooted i n Torah, as well. As she explai ned Just to have a connection to the land CSA partnership helps to bring Torah alive. For Jacobs, the Torah is clear about duties of early Jewish farmers to leave paths in their fields, to give the land a Sabbath rest, and to not harvest co rners of fields so the poor are able to have access to fresh food. Torah also speaks about crop rotation and how close and how far apart to plant different varieties of seed Given this ncredible teachable

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188 moment to have a farmer who we have a relationship with and to have a congregation wide work tudy Torah. And reinterpretations of tradition like this, where environmental agrarian concerns enter into religious retrieval, that Hazon and North American Jews ar e contributing to the development of religious agrarian practices and narratives. The saliency of utilizing lived religion and network tropes when analyzing religious agrarianism becomes evident when a position akin to the following is stated : rce of what our congregation can do in terms of creating awareness and a support system to explore these issues and for becoming involved, the idealist in me comm unity based organization, is a vehicle for it. Judaism is a very natural pairing f or with Hazon and other progressive Jewish organizations writing body, The Covenant Foundation, that allowed her to attend the food conference; she has also joined the Jewish Food Educators network to help bring Jewish food education to the synagogue, where the Food Director is also going to start using food curriculum with t heir Jewish Day School youth) are leading to faith based with a local biodynamic farm, Sandhill Farm, to provide twenty members with a weekly pi ckup (the owners of Sandhill were participants in the discussion of the movie ab out soil referenced in chapter one ).

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189 from the Jewish farmer and entrepreneur, Farmer D. This i s the name he has taken and that appears on his business cards and when he gives presentations on sustainable food issues (short for Darron Jaffe) 8 Farmer D makes his living selling biodynamic composts, plants and seedlings, and by installing backyard ga rdens with these products at residences or various Jewish synagogues in Georgia. 9 I first heard about Farmer D in hushed, reverent tones during the Food Conference. This is because he was a participant there and is a big name in the Jewish Food Movement, having begun the organic farm at Adamah and as a longtime participant involved with the Center on the Environment and Jewish Life. 10 Farmer D embodies religious agrarianism f rom within the Jewish faith, as well as lived networks, as he knows the owners of Riverview Farm because both Farmer D and Riverview Farm are active in Georgia Organics, as is Katie Taylor of Koinonia Given his in depth farming background and high standing within the Jewish Food Movement, I was wn journey and understanding of sustainable agriculture. As sustainable agriculture is a contested term, especially within the sustainable food movement, and given that Farmer D had 8 Farmer D did not want to remain anonymous for this project so unlike all the other people I interviewed, he did not rece ive a pseudonym. 9 http://www.farmerd.com/ 10 On the Center on the Environment and Jewish Life, see http://www.coejl.org/~coejlor/about/ According COEJL seeks to expand the contempora ry understanding of such Jewish values as tikkun olam (repairing the world) and tzedek (justice) to include the protection of both people and other species from environmental degradation. COEJL seeks to extend such traditions as social action and asadim (performing deeds of loving kindness) to environmental action and advocacy. And shalom (peace or wholeness), which is at the very core of Jewish aspirations, is in its full sense harmony both Jewish environmentalism broadly, and subjects. Accessed on May 31 st 2011.

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190 once owned a 100+ acre farm in Wisconsin that he started during college, I began our interview by asking him to define sustainable agriculture. His answer reflects his own commitment to the biodynamic approach to farming begun in the early 1900s by Rudolph Steiner. For Farmer D, sustainable agri culture is one that embraces wh at he calls a biodynamics approach, which sees the farm as a holistic, living entity. According e outside world, and really how it relates to itself. How the farm feeds itself and provides for itself and the diversity and the balance that comes with biodynamic farms is about as sustainable as it gets. rarian led him to claim that, sustainable agriculture in a more generic term to me is more about farming, stewarding the land, using organic methods, regenerating the soil, not taking more than you can give back over the long term and not exploiting the l and with chemicals. This answer provides evidence of the cross over between religiously motivated sustainable farmers and ecological agrarian views about farming, where these merge to create a concern for the local (seeing the farm as a self contained org anism, influenced tenets are traced back to Sir Albert Howard himself, who wrote in the very first of the soil is the first condition of any permanent system of agriculture. In the ordinary processes of crop production fertility is steadily lost: its continuous restoration by means of manuring and

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191 T his answer also provides the nexus with religion, as Farmer D subsequently Ecclesiast are! All that I created, I created for you. Reflect on this, and do not corrupt or desolate 11 Farmer D share d his overall philosophy about sustainable farming and the importance of the local in a lengthy exchange we had during our interview. This exchange adroitly touches upon many of the religious agrarian th emes my research has uncovered. I began by inquiring about the above statement from Farmer D regarding his relationship to the land and how this relationship provides him with a connection to the land, him what this phras e meant and how important to a healthy society, healthy politics, and healthy religion. Farmer D responded by saying that the land is critical. If you look back, Gandhi speaks about how the way a society treats its animals is a reflection Jane Austen. Modern day agrarians that are trying to reconnect people back to what our true economy is around food. We see here once again the importance of Berry in the dev elopment of religious agrarianism (it should be noted that members of Koinonia agrarianism a lingua franca 11 www.coejl.org/~coejlor/bloome/index.php From their website, accessed March 12 th 2011.

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192 Farmer D continued by stating he is actively involved with Slow Food International. This is because, When I first got into this, I was really curious about g the health and the way people live and the way they act and the impact on the environment and the houses we live in and the clothes we wear, and economies and labor. And This epiphany is consistent with the critique of industrial farming put forth by sustainable agriculture advocates. From this epiphany, Farmer D realized that the the social fabric, the whole social la yer throug hout agriculture, [and this] has a huge ripple effect. he could participate in growing his own food. Given his own experience, he realized If people are disconnected of the economy. When everything is dependent upon fossil fuels and this cornucopia mentality and everything is an abundan ce and you can eat anything you connection to the familiarity with the work of Wendell Berry, Farmer D is als o a participant in lived networks wit h organizations like Slow Food; maintains an articulate critique of industrial food systems that is consistent with critiques put forth by leading sustainable agriculture advocates; evidences a concern for the social im portanc e of

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193 local farming cultures; and most importantly, he practices and brings to his agrarianism a Jewish component of rootedness is made possible by participating in local sustainable agriculture practices, and it signals a concern for local places, local health, and local economies that is rooted in religious agrarian values. Hazon and the Local Religious agrarian viewpoints about the importance of the local local farmland, soil health, community interacti on and autonomy, and fresh food were equally on wide variety of monthly emails sent to Hazon members by Hazon staff. For example, on May 31 st 2011, founder Nigel Savage (n the 50 most influential Jewish leaders in the U.S.) included the following statement in It's not a surprise that a new generation of Jewish people who care about health and sustainabilit y have started to focus on these related cycles [of soil and society]. We learn from Wendell Berry that a society is as healthy as its soil, and a 12 Notice here both how this is a new development in Amer ican Jewish practice, values, and identity (according to Nigel); but also how Nigel directly references Wendell Berry, the father of contemporary ecological importance of loc al soil health for local social health, and as such, this positions Hazon at the leading edge of Jewish religious agrarianism in the U.S. Similar sentiments were 12 http://www.hazon.org/go.php? q=/readingroom/emailArchive/emails/Omer,_Shmita,_FairFood,_ Sabbatical.html&tr=y&auid=8434202 Accessed June 1 st 2011.

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194 At 5:30 pm on Thursday, December 24 t h 2009, the Hazon staff welcomed the You are looking at the Jewish food the conference participants were at their first Hazon conference, and the entirety of the Hazon family were treated to a variety of presentations ov er the weekend that directly related to the agrarian concern for the local. These included program tracks devoted to It ement On Saturday the Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg, an Executive Director of by pointing out that most members of the audience did not live in the same community al, religious, and political land of attachment, so he asked is it possible to be present to the land of America wh ile looking towards Zion? Greenberg argued that in fact by looking towards Israel, Jews do not pay attention to the earth where they live, a nd Hazon is helping to

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195 remedy this Yet, Greenberg also pointed modern world of metropoles and peripheries. Thus, the call for Jewish renewal by returning to the Promised Land is a template that is shared by the U.S. agrarian tra dition, which according to Greenberg uses the same language: people need soil and land where they can build their own cultural identity such that the land nourishes the peopl e, and vice versa. For Greenberg Jews have needed this for 2,000 years, and now most American citizens need it, too. With this presenta tion Greenberg made the most explicit li nk between the bourgeoning Jewish Food Movement, the Jewish history of diaspora and exile, and U.S. agrarianism that I encountered during my time at the Conference Greenberg even handed out a flyer that had various quotes from Wendell Berry, as well as q uotes from of Hazon are making explicit links with ecological agrarian philosophy and they are comfortable with sharing the strengths of the agrarian vision with Judai history about human land relations. experience working on sustainable farms and/or st arting businesses that sold organic produce. The talk was well attended with an overflow of people having to sit in the aisles, and it generated quite a bit of dialogue and heartfelt questions between the presenters and audience members. All four of the panelists expressed the desire to

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196 create healthy, local food systems and shared that this desire is what drove their farm practices. One farmer makes goat cheese with her husband on their own farm and they have long term impacts on food and water systems. Another presenter, Anna Hanau, was the current farm manager at Adamah (the same farm begun by Farmer D) and she and her husband were in the process of starting a kosher grass fed beef slaughterhouse. She went to Jewish Theological Seminary as an undergraduate and double majored in Biblical and occurred to me before that there are Jews that find God in the woods a Hazon for three years and has been instrumental in beginning the CSA program. Between her work at Adamah and with Hazon, Anna feels connected to her Jewis h presenters shared how their experience as farmers has made them appreciate the beauty of their local ecosystems and farm lands; discussed the very real responsibility to these landscapes that comes with being sustainable farmers working within natural systems; how important it is to support local farmers so these farmers can continue land stewardship practices while making a living wage; and that the Jewish tradition speak s to these concerns. Indeed, these two themes were central to the Conference as a whole. Food for Thought touches on these themes, as well. The authors write ntry 2009 : 81). This tension

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197 The authors continue, stating that most Jews operate under three at times competing images: the wandering Jew, the pull of Eretz Yisrael, and being part of local and regional f ood traditions (2009: history as an indigenous people with a direct relationship to the food native to their sometimes seems placeless, we th (2009 : 86). Christian Values and Practices a bout the Land Koinonia members come from a different religious background and live in a different context than the Hazon members in Atlanta, Gainesvil le, and those at the Food Conference. Therefore, their reasons for being exemplars of religious agrarian concerns for the local will be theologically and culturally different in a religious sense, but from an environmental standpoint, they will be similar and have significant overlap. Furthermore, those working the land at Koinonia are by default intim ately engaged with the local, since they are working with and interacting with land that is literally their home and backyard: the buildings that make up th e campus of Koinonia are surrounded by vegetable garden, and permaculture fields. Simply by walking from a residential building to the communal kitchen, or across the s treet to the chapel, emplaces visitors, acre ecosystem. For those who manage, care for, and run this landscape, concern for the local is always front and center.

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198 The Sacrality of Local C reation One of the matriarchs of Koinonia (who has since moved to a retiremen t home to be closer to her children ) was Sylvia Castle, the wife of Dave Castle Castle always greeted visitors with a smile, and her exuberance and humbleness (and commitment t o Quaker pacifism) belied h er age and slight build. Castle strongly supported the a turn she saw as K for one another Giv en this view of creation, Castle believes the human role is to be stewards, as she heological view motivates Castle to support the s land is a place to demonstrate the Kingdom of God to visitors so they can see other ways of interacting with the local and of growing food in a sustainable way. Another community member, Paul Robinson, heard about Koinonia because of his faith based int erest in permaculture and desire to lessen hi creation (Robinson in order to lessen his impact even more than was possible at Koinonia). words, Robinson sees Koinonia a s a perfect place to birth a new vision of local human nature relations. As he described, he is motivated to care about the everything, then spe cies extinction, human suffering, and over consumption are all topics about which he is concerned. Robinson moved to Koinonia because at Koinonia

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199 he is able to act on these religiously motivated concerns locally and in the c ontext of where I am right now A t least in the community I can act on it right here and be changing my lifestyle and helping to change the lifestyle of this community and then I believe that other people will be affected by that lifestyle change. reflects Koinoni people each year. Robinson further explained that Koinonia is part of various lived has a lot of connection across t he country and across Koi nonia has a large influence across the world. And [if] many of those their minds. This part of our interview captures a Protestant religious agrarian concern for t he local. We see that Robinson concept of a holy creation. Furthermore, becoming educated about how this creation is being treated has motivated Robinson to join Koinonia where he can put into practice permaculture principles on a local scale in a living community, with the hope that the with Koinonia. Robinson Ben Peters. Peters and Robi nson are two of the most committed members of Koinonia in terms of actively pushing other the garden crew, have a compost toilet in their house, and do not run the air condit ioner despite 100 degree South Georgia summer weather because this uses ele ctricity from a power grid. Peters came to Koinonia in his early 20s after working on faith based

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200 justice issues in Philadelphia. His inspirations include Leo Tolstoy, Daniel Quin n, When aske d to define organic farming, Peters sense of the word its growing food in a way that regenerates the landbase on which sustainable farming] more money for the knowledge of the basic claim of organic farming (and ecological agrarianism), as well as insights into the various and the reason f or this commitment, Peters sustainability is based in a theological understanding of human earth divine relations. This underst anding has led Peters to move to Koinonia so he can put into practice both great if like every single thing we eat here would be from the garden [and] maybe even vegetarians like Peters ). Such a sentiment expresses the agrarian concern for local food/s, local community, an d local responsibility. For Peters these concerns are motivated by and couched within his own Protestant conceptions of the Divine and by membership in Koinonia A similar perspective on the Christian religious agrarian belief about the sacrality of the local is seen in Stephanie Paterson who grew up home s chooled in an urban

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201 punk household and found Jesus in her late teens at a punk show for Christi ans. Since this experience, Paterson has traveled the country and lived at a Catholic Worker House in Los Angeles and has also worked in the organic gardens of an all girls school in the mountains of California. I met Paterson as she was visiting Koinonia for three weeks to see if she wanted to become a community member ( Paterson and Peters subsequently began dating, got married, and relocated to the Catholic Wo rker house in L.A.). Paterson is creative, vibrant, and full of passionate ideals that are motivated by and less intimate with the earth. Because of technology and just the way our culture is Paterson mirrors sentiments that smaller sca le tribal and community settings centered around sustainable relations with the earth are the ideal form of human community; for them, Koinonia precisely fills that role in their life, and does so in a way that allows them to honor God and fellowship with other Christians. This sentiment was captured in a c onversation I had with Paterson after we spent a day picking organic blueberries. During our conversation, Paterson revealed that, working in the garden here I have realized that li f who I am than working with jus t working in the garden and p hey treat the earth like such a sacred

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202 of the connection with connection with the local land and fields of Koinonia helped to bring Christianity alive. when I read [in the Gospels] love your neighbor as yourself, I think we had better my own personal interpretation, but I think it should definitely be a fundamental value of all Chris tians and all spiritua how not ev and beneficial, given that at the moment it was one hundred degrees and humid and we were working near red You are the environment, come on! This is us, this is who we me we are part of the ecosystem. Our conversation captured an almost pantheist view of human earth relations and one that sees the earth as being divin e and that see humans as being p art of the earth. The environmental va lues Paterson developed based on her religious beliefs have led her to want to use permaculture to build a local culture of honoring earth through combined prayer and action Her religious agrarianism even accepts the ant and mosquito bites that entail to being part of an emplaced, local, farm ecosystem. If operating under an industrial agriculture model, the same ants and mosquitoes would be eradicated by using various toxic chemicals, which would then leech into local soils and waterways. The religious agrarians of Koinonia have a different view of these same insects, and also of the soils and waters found on their campus for them, these are all

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203 generating healthy, sustaina ble, local farming practices. Designing Locality The generation of religious agrarian practices at Koinonia is based upon the permaculture ideal as originally developed by Mollison and Holmgren and which was originally introduced to the community by Jim E verett. Katie Taylor is a steward of the community who is married to the lead farmer/gardener, Joel Taylor and together they have two daughters and live on campus near the cafeteria. As stewards they have pledged to live in the community for the rest o f their lives. In their early thirties, they are both active in worship and in helping Koinonia embody its mission statement. Taylor herself is in charge of hospitality and gives tours to the various groups who visit Koinonia through the year. She has a lso received training in permaculture design and now helps run the permaculture design courses that Koinoni a holds one or two times a year, including the training I attended in February of 2010 When giving tours, Taylor that work in harmony with nature and work to produce an abundance of everything you need. They talk a lot a bout inputs and outputs and so the idea is that you eliminate or minimize the inputs, which is something you have to bring in from outside, like fertilizer, seed, [and] fuel [so you] try to reduce your reliance on those things through seed saving, and soi l building with things you have on site rath er than going and buying And then the outputs, what most people would call waste, we try to reconsume impact on both local and international levels of trade and commerce (including

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204 especially in food commodities) by creating as sustainable a system as possible on their campus. In fact, the intentional design aspect of permaculture is what piqued Paul interest a nd is in large part what brought him to Koinonia. For Robinson, permaculture being mutually ben eficial for each part of the system that we can design. So that methodology that was kind of laid out in permaculture kind of appealed to my engineering background and desires because engineering is design, so that attracted refe rences his own undergraduate studies in engineering and how he can apply those skills to permaculture design to make harmonious systems, where humans are an integrated part of a local landscape rather than a species that colonizes most of the availabl e bio mass. Robinson located Koinonia on the internet as he was searching for permaculture communities, and it is the Christian identity of Koinonia that convinced him to join. Demonstrating Permaculture on a Local Scale This religious agrarian mix of permacult ure and Christianity is quickly becoming I think that permaculture is one of the next other gifts Koinonia has demonstr ated: racial fellowship, Habitat for Humanity, Civil Rights campaigning, and peace activism. For Taylor, this gift is important because it is loving, non Christian o modern Christian consciousness. Taylor argues that such work is important for Koinonia to carry out because people within the Christian

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205 faith is starting to look for that. People in the Church are getting disillusioned and nd connecting t just a way of looking at the world, and it can be applied to anything. Koinonia is now applying permaculture to their local campus and in so doing they are developing Christian religious agrarian values and practices. This work is important for Taylor and others at Koinonia, because from various Christian subtraditions and exposing them to permaculture by providing trainings. Such work led For me, the reason I think I was able to Taylor marry with the vision of Koinonia, and she feels that Koinonia has a role to play in shaping the future of Christian earth relations so these become more sustainable and in harmony with God. My interview with Taylor also uncovered her views of nature and how her own understanding of sustainable farming practices influences her lifestyle choices and thus concepts of proper human nature relationships in a local setting via food choice When asked what the role nature plays in her religious beliefs, Taylor a just inspires awe in me. The way things work in harmony with is the right system. And the way that like life and death cycles through it is really big for me. creation, Taylor emphatically responded by saying, Oh as well. That, the earth is not something separate from me that I am allowed to use, i something that I need to work to be in harmony with.

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206 living at Koinonia, Taylor is able to grapple with putting into practice her desire to live in harmony with questions and some t I was vegetarian and I was for ten And I stil fine with eating the meat of animals raised by Koinonia is because etter for the earth and better for those animals in the long run for them to be raised this way. monocrop field of soybeans and spraying chemicals on it or even organic soybeans, like produce from Brazil is not a good practice. t Taylor spends a lot of time thinking about her food choices and how these food choices influence various ecosystems. By practicing permaculture and consuming the products grown locally on to grapple with, develop, and put into practice religious agrarian ideals that challenge the industrial farming model. However, these ideals are part of a larger Christian worldview that sees the land as a sacred creation and that sees Koinonia as having a role to play in One influenced religious agrarian practice of permaculture is Emily Hoffman, one of the attendees of t he

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207 Feb ruary 2010 permaculture training Hoffman communities, Jubilee Partners and her participation in the training provides another example of a lived network. 13 This is because both Jubilee and Koinonia are New M onastic communities, fellowship together throughout the year, and Jubilee itself was started by a one time Koinonia member. Both communities are committed to peace and wa r ravaged countrie s are given homes at Jubilee where they are taught English and are given land so they may start their own gardens. Jubilee has a non certified organic garden on site where Hoffman works, so she decided to attend the permaculture training as a way to learn more about permaculture so that Jubilee can transition to a permaculture design. When asked about what got her interested in supporting local sustainable agriculture, Hoffman r light bulb [went off as] I was tending the first garden that I had and was watching the food grow and eating it and just realizing this is good work to do. To grow food to put in it makes a lot of sense. D, showing that the embodied, religion from below theoretical approach of lived religion is able to capture the emergence of religious agrarian sensibilities. it felt like, obviously since the beginning, Adam and Eve tended to their food. It made sense 13 http://jubileepartners.org/ Accessed June 3 rd Jubile e Partners is an intentional Christian service community in rural northeast Georgia. Our primary ministry is offering hospitality to refugees who have newly arrived in the U.S. We seek to understand and live by the radical implications of following Jesu s Christ. We are deeply concerned about how to be effective peacemakers and how to promote justice and understanding among our neighbors and around the world. We look to the life and teachings of Jesus as our own starting place, but we work to build bridge s with people from

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208 make sure it come s from a good source and tend to it and not be disconnected from it in anyway, so the connection I guess felt like something that God sees as good for us. Similar sentiments are expressed by Paterson and Taylor, so for these religious agrarians participa agriculture are activities that are pleasing to God. For Hoffman, this divine connection with food also provides a connection with the land and with the seasons. As she explained, I guess if you need to put food in your body, why would you not be connected to it. only a connection with a theocentric creation, but it is a connection that is made readily available by the participation in localized, sustainable agriculture practices. Farming Practices t hat Benefit the Local Members of both the Hazon and Koinonia communities value local landscapes, local farmland, local farmers, local economies, and local produce wh ich lead to practices of localized sustainable agriculture. At Hazon, the concern for the local incorporates themes such as taste and freshness, creating an agrarian infused kosher that reflects Jewish diets and ethics in the modern world; an aversion to using what are perceived as dangerous chemicals and poisons on lo cal farmlands; and a desire to support local farmers. At Koinonia and in the lived networks of its members the concern for the local incorpor ates themes of self sufficiency; not using what they perceive to be toxic chemicals on their own farm lands (see next chapter); a desire to live and their view that they have a calling to Christians alike. I will briefly summarize local practices of agrarian farming that both groups

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209 embody (or attempt to embody) before moving my exploration to the religious agrarian Hazon S ome of my research subjects in Atlanta do grow some fruit a nd vegetables and herbs in their back yard. However, mos (Orr 2001; Donahue 2001). As such, they support local farmers and businesses at farmer s markets and by being members of CSAs. Farmer D has his own local business that builds organic gardens in backyards and at Jewish community centers entertaining ideas of growing food on their own campus. However, most of the people I rese arched support sustainable farming practices by entering into a CSA partnership with Riverview Farms, a family owned farm in the northwest foothills of Georgia. 14 I visited Riverview Farms on two separate occasions once to get a tour directly from the owne rs, and the other time on a field trip to the farm with members of CSI. The latter visit included a picnic on the farm, followed by a farm tour so that the CSA members could learn more about from where their food came. Quite a few families attended this and some brought children not a small feat as Riverview is one and a half hours away from the synagogue. Riverview is bounded by the Coosawattee River and nearby is Carters Lake, an old Cherokee center. The farm is surrounded by pine plantations, meander ing creeks, and contains fertile valley soil of the Appalachian foothills, which are visible in the distance. There are hay and alfalfa farms, corn monocrops, cattle farms, small rural 14 http://www.grassfedcow.com/

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210 towns, 4x4 trucks with hunting dogs in back, and a plethora of Baptist churches all in the vicinity, so that Riverview is an oasis of progressive organic farming practices within a sea of rural northwest Georgia politics, farming, and a cultural mix of the two. This part of the state is similar to the rural poverty of Ameri cus rusty trailers, churches, and abused land seem to go hand in hand with a slower pace of life compared to that of Augusta, Atlanta and Athens. Riverview is farmed by Tricia and Ron Daniels, a husband and wife team who live on the property with their young who used to farm the land by growing monoculture row crops of soy and corn and by raising hogs. Unfortunately, these practices led to a significant amount of debt, so that by the late 1990s Mr. Da niels was in a cycle of ever increasing debt coupled with increasing use of chemicals. In 2000, twin brother, Shannon, moved back to the farm (Tricia and Ron Daniels met at the University of Georgia where they were chemists, with Tricia hailing from Americus and Ron stating th at the Agriculture School of UGA was simply a funneling device for Agribusiness interests) and began to transition the farm to organic. They are now certified organic, with Tricia Daniels serving on the board of Georgia Organics. They also have resident interns, as part of their goal is to teach a new generation of farmers about how to run a successful small organic farm operation. Their father is on board because for the first time in ye ars the farm is financially solvent, and their customer base expands each year. One of the oldest, and largest, certified organic farms in the state, our goal is to work with the environment to enliven the farm

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211 throug h the mutually supported functions of soil, grasses, and animals as we produce organic vegetables and meats. With detailed attention to soil quality, animal husbandry, grass production, and crop diversity, our methods surpass organic certification requirem ents. 15 On their 200 acres, the Daniels grow 150 cows and butcher eight to ten hogs a week for their meat CSA. They utilize a clover rye vetch cover crop to build nitrogen and soil humus; grow corn and soybean to feed the hogs; let the cattle free range and feed on grass; store the waste run o ff from the hogs in a pond and use it to water the fields two times a year; and grow collards, radishes, turnips, garlic, cilantro, black beans, tomatoes, squash, carrots, strawberries, and a variety of other vegetables. In all, Riverview has fifteen acre s in rotation with various vegetables, and the rest goes into growing grains and letting animals pasture, with Shannon Daniels using some of the corn to stone grind on site and sell around the region as organic corn grits and corn meal. The Rabbi was one of their first CSA members and this early relationship led to Dorothy Goldstein tracking Tricia Daniels down when the original CSA partnership with as Daniels points out, so it is vital to their success to have a CSA partnership with CSI. When asked if there were tensions with anyone because religion was part of the CSA partnership, Daniels here on our knees every 15 www.grassfedcow.com Accessed June 3 rd 2011.

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212 it is sold out of the truck, and serves two farmers markets in Atlanta. By participating in a CSA partnership wi th Riverview, Hazon members create lived networks with local farmers (organic apples and eggs come from other farmers and Riverview adds these into box shares), support the financial stability of a family farm, and indirectly support the organic farming pr actices and thus preservation of 200 acres of farmland in Georgia. The later link was one of the reasons one CSA member brought her young child to Riverview on the Hazon picnic so that, in her words, her child The abil ity to visit a w orking, sustainable family farm and to get fresh produce from that farm one day a week throughout the gro wing season was an important reason this CSI member joined the CSA. I n the process she felt she contributed to creating a vibrant, str ong, nourishing, and sustainable local food culture. Koinonia Koinonia has a long history of farming, the results of which can be visibly read on the landscape. The most prevalent visual aspect of this history are the large pecan groves that dominate part s of the campus. As these provide the main revenue for the community, and because they are farmed conventionally, these groves are now an anomaly compared to the rest of the sustainable farming practices now being instituted by Joel Taylor under the commu It must be noted that Koinonia members, working with researchers from the University of Georgia and Georgia Organics, are attempting to transition a few of their pecan trees to organic production. The biggest problem is th at mites enter into the fruit right at birth, so that the nuts never fully develop. Another fungus attacks the leaves of the pecan trees, killing the leaves and thus impacting pecan production. Taken

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213 together, both are major threats to pecan growers indu stry wide and the only successful defense has been to utilize industrial fungicides and pesticides in order to get pecans to reach maturity. sustainable farming practices. They have u pick organic blueberries and muscadine grapes; they use pecan shells, muck out the chicken coops, and use cardboard to build soil; use cover crops to build nitrogen and soil; rotational graze with their small but growing cow herd (along with sheep and g oats and hogs) which they are slowly building up to make a meat CSA; provide milk and meat for those in the community from their goats (and meat from pigs, turkeys, geese, and rabbits [who also supply compost]); have bee hives for pollination and honey pro ducts; have pear, apple, and other fruit trees; and grow vegetables and fruits in the garden: strawberries, greens, squash, corn, beans, rhubarb, tomatoes, and a variety of other crops, all of which end up in the community kitchen. Lastly, a few communi ty members ar Americus a few days a week to look for discarded food in dumpsters which they bring back to feed the animals and turn into compost. Community members see this practice as a way to take waste out of la ndfills and to use local resources to build the soil and animal health of the farm. The fields adjacent to the buildings on campus are designed along principles of permaculture design, with the goal being a mixed edible forest that has annual food crops within it, while also providing habitat to chicken, geese, ducks, and pigs, who will compost and turn up the soil. Swales have been built in some of these fields to catch and retain groundwater, while a chicken mobile is moved throughout the fields so tha t

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214 the chickens fertilize targeted areas. Across from the buildings and adjacent to the main pecan groves is a fenced in eighty acre pasture that holds sheep, goats, and cows. Koinonia members also engage efforts to build a herd of the endangered Pin eywood cattle, a breed that is naturalized to our bioregion but are nearly extinct since the introduction of European breeds and excessive crossbreeding. Our hope is that the re introduction of Pineywoods will nourish our land and help to create a stable e 16 Lastly, in efforts to further their move towards local sustainability while being a demonstrat ion plot for God, Joel Taylor and Lisa Jones attended a three day workshop at a farm in Tennessee devoted to Holistic Resource Management. This workshop was a systems thinking approach to managing land resources and increasing production, while at the same time building biodiv ersity and improving the quality of life for those who use it. Holistic continue learning how to heal our land and to grow an abundance of healthy food 17 Koinonia added their own emphasis to the final part of this email communication, signaling their continued commitment to stewardship and caring for their local campus. This commitment is thoroughly shaped by the institutional history of the community, i ncluding the values put into practice by various members, past and present. However, it is also a commitment that takes seriously the goals and standards of sustainable 16 http://news.lowthiandesign.com/t/ViewEmail/r/16399EE4DA448305/862D169265B7109BF6A1C87C 670A6B9F Accessed June 3 rd 2011. 17 http://news.lowthiandesign.com/t/ViewEmail/r/AD7E18584ABA6B3F/862D169265B7109BF6A1C87C 670A6B9F Accessed June 3 rd 2011; bold in original.

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215 agriculture and environmental agrarianism, yet that does so in a larger Christian cont ext, making Koinonia an exemplar of religious agrarian concerns about locality. The Local: Coda Agrarianism edited b y Norman Wirzba, Thompson asserts agriculture and, by extension, sustainability is thus appropriately attentive to dimensions of place or locale, on the one hand, and local or regional history, on the T he Jews of Hazon and the Protestants of Koinonia are both working in unique and similar ways to build agriculture and sustainability at local levels, bounded within religious and re gional histories. They are on the vanguard of developing a domestic religious agrarianism. It is important that this journey does not degenerate into either land fascism or political and/or religious posturing. Rather, the development of a religious agr arianism is an iterative process that requires community the willingness to learn, and an engagement with po litics (see chapter on six ). However, this process is clouded by out migration (whether from Koinonia, synagogues, CSA membership, or religious id entity in general); by absentee ownership of lands or the practice of farming methods that are perceived to be inimical to sustainable farming practices (for example, the industrial methods utilized on lands that bound Riverv iew and Koinonia, respectively) ; and by the lack of transparency in laws (especially the U.S. Food Bill) and /or the resistance regional laws put in place that limit governmental support of practices that support the health of the local.

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216 r worked with are progressive in terms of their critique of industrial agriculture and what they perceive to be governmental complicity. Yet they are conservative in that they want to farm the right way and want to conserve local lands and the best of loc al cultures. Indeed, many are critical of industrial progress (but use it as needed --for example, they may buy new tractors and organic certified chemicals and use new labor saving technologies) and therefore would join with the New M onastics in criticiz ing empire. Furthermore, the can contemplate and explore, respect and love, an Ransom 1962 : 19 20). It is this reification and striving for terroir that links agrarian s from Bailey to Ransom to Berry to Jackson, to my research subjects at the Food Conference or at Koinonia or Riverview Farm. All are also united in love, respect, and care for the local, and for my research subjects, this love and respect is also motivat ed by and grounded within religious worldviews.

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217 CHATPER 6 CONCEPTS OF HEALTH From Soil to Bodies, Health Matters Religious agrarians, like ecological agrarians are concerned about health: of the land, of human bodies of soil and food, and of the la rger society. Furthermore, ecological agrarians in their understanding of how these various health concerns are interrelated in part influence religious agrarians For both, the health of one affects the health of all the rest ( Wirzba 2003: x). The conce rn for a viable and healthy existence provides the focal point for the content of this chapter In it, I discuss the aforementioned health concerns, emphasizing what religious agrarians bring to the table that is explicitly different than ecological agrarians: a concept of health that is rooted within religious traditions, for religious agrarians operate within religious worldviews that contain normative narratives about the h ealth of society. By participating in sustainable agriculture that support s locality, health, and justice, religious agrarians are able to put into practice their religiously motivated values Human Health This section explore s various claims about the importance of agrarian thought and practice as these relate to concepts of hu man health. I divide human health into two categories: physical and spiritual, as ecological agrarians and religious agrarians both comment on these two aspects of human health when dealin g with the subject. I will weave in an analysis of relevant litera ture from both agrarian types, while also highlighting my own research data that shows the strong concern for health that motivates the values and practices of religious agrarians.

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218 Spiritual Health our emotional and spiritual Food For Thought (2009: 70) I separate the various rhizomes of health for heuristic reasons, even though agrarians believe they are interrelated. Even undercurrent of ps ychological, emotional, and mental health, which ties into physical health, which ties into social and ecological health, and vice versa. The notion t hat we are losing t he agrarian bond with the earth is a critique not only of the dominant industrial cult ure and its impact on human land relations but also of how industrial life has severed a spiritual bond with the earth. Agrarians believe the human earth bond is expressed in farming and agrarian communal practices and that this bond tempers the extreme ecological anomie. They believe, f urthermore, that human health, both spiritual and physical, is intimately related to the health of local ecosystems. Environmental thinkers often asse rt that human psychological, emotional, and spiritual health is intimately wrapped up with embeddedness in the more than human world (Abram 1996 ; Berry 2006) Some scholars and theorists pai nt a picture of an imagined Golden Age when all humans lived in p erfect harmony with their local e nvironments and therefore enjoyed abundant health. Others criticize such narratives, labeling them as nave and claiming they offer a simplistic and reductionistic view of the deep human past. Other scholars point instead to a need to balance the material/environmental demands of the city with the c ountry instead of fixating on fictitious understandings of human earth relations. For example, environmental historian William Cronon argues that instead of pining for an unrea listic eco age, we

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219 need to mo ve beyond a dualism between faulty humans and pristine nature and realize we are embedded creatures in a particular place that has shaped and been shaped by human action. This realization should thus make our actual lived loca l environments the purview of our focus in matters of environmental and societal health (Cronon 1995). Most ecological agrarians would side sympathies with environmental eth icists and ecopsychologists. R eligious agrarians in contrast, fall all throughout the gamut. For example, Paul Robinson, Ben Peters, and Stephanie Paterson from Koinonia are all significantly influenced by the writings of Daniel Quinn and the ecoanarchist Derrick Jensen. Both of these writer s argue for a reduction in human numbers and consumption patterns in favor of a bioregional, neo animist spiritual relation with local landscapes and both authors have achieved significant followings within the sustainability milieu. Nonetheless, most rel igious agrarians would agree with Wes Jackson once these needs are addressed and the sincer e attempt to meet them is begun, questions arise about human nee ds and expectations: what is healthy food? What is a healthy dwelling place? What is a healthy society? Religious agrarians believe that human health contains a spiritual and/or religious dimension, and that this dimension includes proper human nature r elations to which the agrarian ideal speaks. Such a relation takes on specifically Biblical dimensions for Paul Robinson at Koinonia, who when asked if he would posit that there are certain ways humans should responded by saying yes. He continued, stating that this view of proper human God relations impacts both his values and practices, as it should

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220 and in the process told h umans [via the Bi ble] to care for that creation [so we] should obey the commands of God because God seeks to love an other parts of creation i depending on the interpretation of that really dictates how you look at your relationship to treat it differently]. New Testament, coupled with belief in the creation story of Genesis, that gives humans a clear directive in their role on the planet and how they are to relate to the rest of creati on. What is significant in Robinson here to love. Many psychologists and psychotherapists have mentioned the importance of love, acceptance, and nurturance in the healthy development of humans. For Robinson this love and nurturance comes from God and is to be manifested by humans being of humans is intimately related with how humans interact with and t spiritually impoverished. This Christ centered view of spiritual health and its implication for proper and health y human land relations was expre ssed by Patrick Smith, who works in the fields at Koinonia and helps milk their cows and goats and sl aughter their chickens. Smith

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2 21 Omega, and the reason behind Creation about any sort of ministry while neglectin g the, the first Gift, [meaning that] live in harmony with Creation, then Smith inner spiritual hea lth is impossible to have without a healthy relationship with Creation, and this therefore influences his decision to support sustainable farming practices that further the health of his own spiritual and physical body, as well as that of God. Similarly, Ruth Jacobs explains how she has recently adopted the Orthodox Jewish practice of ritual h and washing before eating bread: To do the ritual wash you pour water over your right hand and then your left hand and you raise your hands up and you bless your han ds and then without saying anything else or doing anything else you go to the bread. And then I take the bread I just baked with my own hands and you bless the bread. And suddenly there was such a link, to realize that alchemy of bread baking, and that i hands, blessing what sort of humanity can do, the technology of heat and our hands and craftsmanship. So that also for me was really really powerful, to see that Judaism gives us all of this. The in that, such an awareness of just working with whole foods and whole ingredients and creating nourishment for yourself out of it. spiritual presence, grounded within the Jewish tradition, with physic al nourishment, seen especially in the practice of her baking her own bread. Jewish connections between spiritual practice (and health) and physical health were also made at the Hazon food conference, where three different workshops were devoted to the ro le fasting can play in a healthy Jewish life. Altogether, Christians used spiritually evocative terms and saw sustainable farming as a task of stewardship and thus religious health more often than the Jewish people I interviewed This is reflected in th is section the majority of the passages I quote about spiritual health are from Christians, because they tend to speak in these

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222 terms. This does not mean that agrarian ideals do not factor into Jewish concepts of health, but rath er that physical health wa s more of a motivator than spiritual health. The religious/spiritual component of agrarian ideals for my Jewish research subjects tended to come out in regards to concepts of justice and in the Jewish injunction to do no harm/do not destroy, rather than i creation and how living in harmony with this was spiritually beneficent. Physical Health Most of my Jewish and Christian research subjects used similar language when asked about the benefits of organic farming methods compared to industrial/conventional farming methods in regards to human health. Most of these answers also contained considerable overlap with the claims made by supporters for organic agr iculture in regards to the perceived physical health benefits organically farmed products have on human bodies. These benefits are seen to be nutritional, neurological, regenerative, and disease fighting/longevity inducing. 1 For agrarians proper, and es pecially ecological agrarians, the benefits of sustainable agriculture may be spiritual and physical. The physical health component tends to be highlighted, and although the agrarian conception of physical health overlaps with more recent concerns about d isease prevention and claims that chemicals are bad for human bodies, the traditional agrarian concern with physical health (where it 1 http://ota.com/organic/benefits/nutrition.html The Organic Trade Association is a leading lobbyist for organic farming interests. T provides evidence that organic foods contain, on av erage, 25 percent higher concentration of 11 nutrients than their conventional counterparts. The report was based on estimated differences in nutrient levels across 236 comparisons of organically and conventionally grown foods. Source New Evidence Confirms the Nutritional Superiority of Plant Based Organic Foods, http://www.organic center.org/reportfiles/5367_Nutrient_Content_SSR_FINAL_V2.pdf Accessed June 6 th 2011.

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223 occurs) is more focused on the ameliorative effects that attend to honest manual farm labo r. This labor is seen as health y for body and soul and is believed to lead to wholesome foods that are equally healthy for the body. Furthermore, such labor is and thus a society] will either produce healthy humans or, if we fail to see the 2000 : 83). My research suggests that religious agrarians are indeed very concerned with their physical health and they believe that local org anically grown produce is superior to any variety of conventionally grown produce. This concern is a motivating factor for many CSI Hazon CSA memb ers. For example, Isaac Segal argued that the value of a health factor. Not quite knowing concerned about chemicals, Segal e there might be synergies between being a Jew and joining a CSA to get chemical free organic food, Segal said supposed to take care of it [ see here overlap with some Koinonia me mbers], not trash the place [ an assumption that using the chemicals of industrial farming is not healthy for the earth]. And same things with your bod y [a shared assumption that industrial farming chemicals are bad for human bodies]. Just stewardship and where this beli ef came from, Segal admitted it does not come from

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224 Torah or a rabbinical teaching, but rather it is a Jewish duty in the sense of it being a mitzvoth. Gottwald to search for a CSA and he heard a bout Hazon CSI from a Jewi sh friend who As Gottwald became educated about sustainable agriculture and read more literature about the side effects of industrial agriculture, he became convinced that organic agricultu re should be the default method Besides being a member of the CSA, Gottwald is also on the bo ard of the Georgia Conservancy while becoming very passionate about food and environmental issues over the last few years. He also decided to stop eating meat after learning about th e effects of a meat primary motivator [of this deci sion] was health. You know, read inh umane treatment of the animals [and how] treated with hormones and with drugs eres ted in correlation between educating oneself about the perceived ills of industrial agricultural practices and the desire to switch to supporting sustainable agricultural products with such desire bein g influenced by concerns about physical health. Such concerns about health and the perceive d benefits of supporting sustainable and agrarian farming practices motivated many of the 600 Hazon conference

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225 participants as well. One woman in the audience dur ing a discussion about sustainable current of excitement in all of my research su bjects, both Christian and Jewish: many of them feel they are part of a new movement within their tradition/s that are paying attention to religious agrarian concerns. Not only are they paying attention, they are actively motivated to put these concerns, and the values that underlie them, into some sort of practice. example, every day of the conference there were three meals served in the cafeteria (always with kosher option table that had a Jewish perspective on food or some factoid about the benefits of sustainable agriculture. One table talk sign at breakfast dealt with the difference US FDA regulates natural foods, whereas the USDA regulates organic food and farmers pay for certification. Given the conflicted sources of information out there and common misunderstandings abou t what counts as natural vs. organic, the table talk sign read: listed? More than five? Are any of them hard to pronounce? Remember the words of (Pollan 2009). By these daily signs, the conference organizers communicated ideas about what is healthy vs. harmful food,

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226 These concerns about the relation between far ming techniques and human health are growing in the at large North American food culture. While statistically still in the minority, there are nonetheless more people buying organic, sustainable food products nationwide and many do so because of health co ncerns. These consumers are in large part convinced that organically grown food is healthier for our bodies than industrially farmed food with its attendant chemicals and fertilizers. Many parents opt for organic foods for their newborns and young childr en and do so because of concerns about their children ingesting chemicals. Meanwhile, others are worried that some industrially farmed food items can be carcinogenic due to the large amounts of pesticides and chemicals used in their production. Many rel Goldstein was instrumental in bringing the Hazon partnership to CSI and organizes the CSA pick up at the s ynagogue. She is also in charge of signing people up for the CSA. toxins [are] business supporting, I think i important to people and very important to our membership. to join for personal health reasons. Yet, significantly, she poin ts out that the members are also from all walks of life, are

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227 typically informed about health and food issues, and combine this concern with concerns for supporting small local farmers who they believe grow healthy food in healthy ways. Farm Health Agrarian thought is intimately related to concepts of holistic farm health. These concepts have a long standing in sustainable agriculture circles and networks, with an underlying tenet being that the farm is an ecosystem that needs to be properly managed and car ed for if it (and the soil, animal, and plant life dependent upon it) is to be healthy. Metrics of ecological agrarian health for a farm include clean water devoid of chemical and manure run off; healthy and vibrant microbial life in the soil; seasonal an d polycultural plant and animal breeding and planting; minimal loss of plant and animal life to pests, diseases, and parasites; a sense of fulfillment and challenge for those farming the land; and offering healthy products to the wider community to consume Too many books, articles, and movies speak to these ideals, and to the hard work that is required to meet them. A large part of this dissertation has already cited much of this literature (see especially chapter two ), and the last chapter on locality equally explored this issue while also highlighting the practices undertaken to create farm health. So here I will make brief mention of concerns about farm health (and the values that underlie them) before moving on to concerns about the health of socie ty. I do so by utilizing the work of Maria Rodale, whose grandfather is J.I. Rodale, the founder of one of the magazines that has helped develop consciousness about organic foods in the United States, Organic Farming and Gardening Maria Rodale has follo wed Organic Manifesto

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228 This book begins with a common narrative about the health benefits of organic vs. industrial agriculture: The technological mindset that would dump billions of po unds of deadly chemicals onto the soil, and mix the genetic material of different species, and build factory farms where livestock are treated like industrial commodities, and clone animals in order to give them a uniform size, has a deeply arrogant view o f the natural world. It regards Nature as something to be conquered and controlled for a short term profit. The organic movement embodies a different mindset. It takes the long view. It seeks the kind of profit that can last for generations. It regard s the natural world with a profound reverence and humility. It aims to work with Nature and considers the whole notion of controlling Nature to be absurd. At the heart of the organic movement is a belief in the interconnectedness of things ( 2010: xi) While she neglects to comment about the perceived salubrious or non salubrious benefits of large scale organic agriculture, Rodale nonetheless mentions the underlying values and worldviews behind these two types of agriculture. Her narrative is similar to the agrarian both religious and ecological narratives of my research subjects, especially in regards to the concept of h ealth. Torah is found a religious command ment, a religious imperative, t he results of which we understand was the next year crops would come back stronger, and we now understand the science behind that. But the religious directive ex ists right there in Genesis and is repeated in Exodus and Deuteronomy, to have respect for the land. And to let the land have a Sabbath just as we indeed have its modern counterpart in sustainable farming practices, seen when modern farmers let fields lie fallow and they rotate their crops (a practice followed by some industrial farmers). This practice leads to increased health of microbial life in the

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229 soil and thwarts certain blights and root base d diseases that typically develop if the same crops are planted in the same fields year after year. Rodale also explains her concerns about health in part one of her book, titled She writes ituation to varying degrees. We are all being poisoned, contaminated, sterilized, and eventually exterminated by the synthetic chemicals we have used for the last 100 years to grow d our food : 4 5). Rodale takes this concern for physical health and links it to farm health, showing that within agrarian circles, the concerns for and beliefs about health in regards to agricultural issues are interrelated. This conce rn is echoed by Beatrice Tischler, who shared with me her belief that, and you really do, there were times when the rivers and lakes were closed because of nitrate ru n Tischler perceived ills of industrial farming have mixed with her Jewish identity and motivate her to su pport sustainable agriculture. She also explained that this same identity foll ows the concept of tikkun o lam to heal the world ) have an obligation agricultural people, the Jews -w e have a strong obligation to treat the land, to rotate crops and not to deplete it and not Rodale continues by arguing for the abandonment of chemicals and adoption of org anic growing methods. She provides evidence that once organic farming m ethods are adopted and soil is resto red organically, then crop yields become comparable to the

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230 latest chemical yields and are actually higher in years of drought and flood. She also points out that organic field s require only thirty percent of the fossil fuels used in conventional fields when growing corn and soybeans; organic fields need fifteen percent more labor inputs (which supports local economies and thus societal health); the net economic return is equal or higher; and lastly, organically farmed fi elds store more carbon and nitrogen in soil, which can help offset global warming (2010: 151 2). 2 Rodale uses the latest comparative statistics in grounding her manifesto, and feels she offers a compelling picture of farm, individual, and societal health. Such a comprehensive view of the importance of healthy human land relations is shared by Lisa Jones, Executive Director of Koinonia, who states that, And it just seemed to me, to pour things toxic o they did first at Koinonia is that they came and bought a broken down old farm and nurtured it back to the community this history is a guiding inspiration for the health based religious agrarian re for the healing of Koinonia when she introduced herself to the participants of the permaculture You are part of the healing process. The physical and spiritual healing of Koinonia Jones, participation in and sharing of the religious agrarian practice of permaculture is leading to the healing of the land and spirit of Koinonia. We now turn to concepts of societal health from 2 For a personal narrative/manifesto/memoir that eschews chemicals entirely, see Fukuoka (2004), itself first published by Rodale Press in 1978.

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231 agrarian perspectives, seeing once again that ecological a nd religious agrarians speak much of the same language in respect to this component of health. Societal Health Agrarian concerns about societal health include concerns about the health of democracy, the ills of industrialization of farm and workforce, oppr obrium towards overconsumption and lack of concern for and identity with a local place, and lamentation over the loss of societal respect for good farmers who steward a part of the community. elocalizing of production. From the civic perspective, agriculture and food endeavors are seen as engines of local economic development and are integrally related to the social and cultural fabric of the community. Fundamentally, civic agriculture repres ents a broad based movement to 2007 : 19). Thus, concerns for relocalization (vs. industrialization) are by default concerns for democracy, sustainable and local economic development, and community health Agrarians believe that their vocation is part of a larger panacea to help bring these social health concerns together. At Koinonia, Katie Taylor passionately addressed these concerns during our interview. She stated, I feel like permaculture and organic gardening is going back to part of who we are: we have to take care of [the earth] just like we have to take care of ourselves, we have to be gentle, we have to be overwork the soil and not to overwork the earth is not to destroy things by taking so much to make a profit

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232 Here Taylor they have the money to buy any food they want and furthermor e, the food they buy tends to be unhealthy for soil, body, and society. Because industrial farming grows things only for profit, and d amages the earth and soil, Taylor is concerned that human communities are also being damaged, with the poorest of the poo r suffering (see connections here to agrarian concerns for justice and locality). These values and beliefs, based on a larger Christ centered worldview of fellowship and justice and ke permaculture design. Nigel Savage expressed similar sentiments from a Jewish perspective during his opening reception speech at the 2009 Food Conference when he told the audience that, ncient gifts to offer the world -without arro gance -to make a sustainable world. As families and individuals we have roles to be a blessing to the In essence, Savage underlines the link of sustainability and health with individual, family, and community. In Savage Movement is part of a larger societal movement towards sustainability, with food as the vehicle of transformation. With their willingness to work with and include non Jews, Hazon is forging lived networks and helping shape the sustainable food movement f rom a movement [which] is challenged by the need to bring together many distinctly different local food system efforts into a definable community food mosaic. This mosaic i llustrates the vitality of what is emerging as a social movement as well as a fledgling 2007 : 333). My Christian and Jewish

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233 research subjects are indeed part of a social movement that has political and societal prescriptions, and they actively put their religious values into practice in these two realms. Wendell Berry e xpresses similar thoughts about the health of society from an ecological given by to hel p, or at least, to do no To help, or to try to help, requires only knowledge; one needs to know promising remedies and how to apply them. But to do no harm involves a whole cult ure, and a culture very different from industrialism. It involves, at the minimum, 2005: 65). Religious agrarians are helping to build this non industrial culture for i n their lived networks, lifestyle choices, and interpretation/s of their own tradition/s, religious agrarians act with compassion, humility, and caution. They also have strident critiques of the industrial mindset and its manifestation in policy and farming. Therefore, many religious agrarians are sym pathetic to the critique of CAFO farming and industrial slaughter of animals raised in these environments. They support the work of Eric Schlosser (2005) and his research about those who work on slaughter lines and how these workers (typically immigrant) are emotionally impacted by their work, and how they are shaped by this workplace trauma and thus impact their families and society. They are also typically in agreement, and have in many cases been isms of the U.S. Farm Bill (criticisms shared by Wes Jackson and Wendell Berry [2009]) and CAFO farming methods (2007).

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234 Furthermore, they are part of lived networks with Slow Food International and its goals to create healthy societies through the enjoyme nt of communal meals made with locally sourced, sustainable food eaten at a leisurely pace. A workshop at the Food Conference highlig hted this link by explicating about the Jewish concept of hospitality ( hachnasat o rchim ). Koinonia has been living out th e ideals of Slow Food in their own Clarence Jordan inspired way since the beginning of the community. And of course by markets and joining CSAs, my research subjects are engaging in lived practices that from their perspective directly contribute to societal health. According to the leading agrarian writer Gene Logsdon, the contributions that entail to a modern agrarian lifestyle are needed if we are to approach sustainability as a society. In fact, he is so concerned about societal h were to the Dark Ages: places to preserve human skills and crafts until some semblance of common sense and common purpose returns to the pu xii). By supporting and participating in the agrarian ideals manifested by sustainable agriculture, the religious agrarians I research are contributing common sense and common purpose to society while realizing they live in agricultural networks that are 2011: 300). Animal and Soil Health As mentioned above, many of my research subjects are sympathetic with the criticisms of CAFO feedlots and the way farm animals are raised and slaug htered. Koino nia is actively breeding and raising its own animal herds and flocks, which they slaughter, dress, and consume on site. Their animals are free range, grass fed, naturally cared for with minimal use of antibiotics (only when their health is a t stake and

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235 companionship throughout the day. Riverview Farms treats their hogs and cows the exact same way. My research subjects who do eat meat all claim to buy free range, organi c, antibiotic and n itrate free meats and eggs ( the Jews I researched who follow kosher guidelines eat no pork products at all). The religious agrarians I research are also concerned about how industrial farming treats soils, as seen in some of the previ ous For example, when asked about the perceived benefits and values of organic farmi ng methods, Noah Gottwald answers that, I guess the legal definition of organic and the arily always one and the same thing, but and not having too much pesticides and run off, or with animal farming and treating waste properly and treating the animals pr operly and not giving them hormones to make them grow faster and not giving them antibiotics so that you can keep more of them in a closer knit area without them getting sick. experience of driving past hog farms in North Carolina, where about the downstream impacts on the environment to know that that smell is unhealthy Gottwald als, and for the perceived impacts that industrial farming has on local wildlife and waterways. What is

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236 significant about this answer is that Gottwald exhibits knowledge about the contested meanings of organics, and his own perspective on the issue has be en shaped by lived experience. Before leaving Koinonia, Ben Peters was on the garden crew and spent his days working in the organic garden and permaculture designed fields of the campus. He worked closely with Joel Taylor in deciding what would be plante d, where, and how much, as well as deciding what animals to range where on any given day. His own research into industrial vs. organic farming, coupled with his experience at Koinonia, led him to say that the value of organic agriculture is, [At its] be s t [it] is part of a healthy human ecosystem, [and] its main function would be to provide food for humans. Conventional agriculture would be part of the unhealthy system of earth exploitation and its main [function] would be to produce money through the fac ilitated destruction of largely about profit motive for corporations, where this concern engenders unhealthy fertilizers or in plow ing, [because] excessive plowing might produce short term increases in yield but it can lead to the desertification of an area. scale organic practices can have the same results so that scale is an issue. He also recognizes that, some conventional farmers really care about the earth and some organic farmers are doing it just for the money. industrial farming, and also by his experience living at Koinonia and seeing the pecan trees, and knowing it [is] dangerous to walk after some of the stuff they did. Like with the spraying and stuff. refers to the signs that are erected under the pecan

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237 groves after the trees have been sprayed with industr ial chemicals. The signs tell visitors and residents alike to not walk in the fields for twenty four hours in order to lower their chances of getting sick from the chemicals. This lived experience, coupled with seeing industrially farmed fields and susta inably farmed fields next to one another, has influenced views about soil health. Another member of the farm crew at Koinonia, Patrick Smith, received a degree in animal science and worked on a large scale dairy farm in the Northeast. Since moving to Koinonia with his family, he has been heavily influenced by Jim Everett and enjoys working with the animals and in the fields. When asked about the value of organic farming methods, Smith opined that it is the sustainability factor, the health factor chemicals being ingested into the body and whatever kind of unforeseen damages they do to the human body. We all feel safer eating foods that are naturall y grown without chem religious agrarian worldview, in that the above views about health are directly I think [health] lines up with a Christi an view of stewardship of creation, caring for the soil, supplementing the soil. Like Peters, Smith fields of Koinonia where according to his analysis there is a clear difference in the heal th of soil and food between the sustainably farmed fields and those fields that were in industrial rotation. These beliefs and observations became a typical topic of conversation amongst those working in the fields, and many members expressed excitement at seeing the community embracing more permaculture practices

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238 and at seeing the direct results these practices were having on the health of the C ontemporary soil science can be interpreted to support the religious a grarian concern for soil hea lth. For example, Rodale writes han 1 percent of all the : 11). In her analysis, Agricultural chemicals have statistically and significantly been implicated in causing all sorts of cancers, behavioral problems, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, a intelligence, infertility, miscarriage, diabetes, infant deformities, and low birth weight. And with endocrine disruptions come genital deformities, early all this research comes from the few scientists courageous enough to swim against the tide, to resist the easy funding offered by chemical and pharmaceutical companies and the pressure of their peer s who rely on that funding (2010: 36 37) Therefore, for s upporters of sustainable agriculture, it makes sense to put into place farming practices that honor and support life in the soil; thus, adding toxic chemicals to the soil depletes this microbial life. who mixes Jewish and biodynamic beliefs, expresses such views about stewardship and concern for soil health: about our obligation to till and to tend with responsibility about generations who are goin g to follow. Putting chemicals into the food and soil and water, responsibility we have as hum ans want to take care of yourself, your family and children, raise them healthy [grown by] conventional, industrial farming techniques. And it also makes sense from an ecological standpoint, and as far as a business, you invest in your soil. You invest in the biology of your soil, and science and soil biology and even the golf course industry now accepts that the biology of the soil is

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239 t he most important aspect of weed, pest, and disease management. It all starts with the quality of your plants based on the quality of your soils. The quality of the humans and animal health is based on the quality of the soil. answer provides a snapshot of the agrarian concern for health and the interconnectedness of soil, animal, food, society, and ecosystem. He also passionately points out that it is a moral imperative, both for present and future generations, to properly steward the earth. A lthough Jewish, his views are very similar to those of Peters and Smith as all three operate within a religious agrarian worldview that is, in their respective cases, influenced and shaped by their own experience living and working on sustainable farms. with soil, animal, and social health. However, one topic in regard to animal health that dominated the proceedings was t he status of the kosher diet. Two topics in particular s tood out in this debate, and these were the fidelity of kosher processing plants to kosher law and the debate about a sustainable kosher option. Those Jews in America that keep kosher were rocked when it came to light that sher processing plants, Agriprocessors, located in Postville, Iowa, was shut down on May 12, 2008 because of Immigration and Customs the plant, so that its status as be ing a trustworthy source of kosher products (in a ritually slaughtered as well as in a social justice sense) was called into s erious disrepute. Parts of Conservative Jewry have responded to this event by developing their own kosher certification that is b ased on Heksher Tzedek or a certificate of social justice (the new

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240 schochets are treated, and justice in how animals are slaughtered. 3 To be kosher certified, a kosher inspector called a mashgichim (singular: mashgiach schochet or ritual slaughterer (who must be Orthodox for food to be kosher) must then kill each a nimal along various kosher laws in order for the animal products to be considered kosher. Most Conservatives and all Orthodox Jews in America follow kosher dietary laws, so the Agriprocessors event was a huge issue for American Jewry because one of the la rgest suppliers of kosher products was possibly not following kosher law, and was definitely not following legal hiring practices. 2010: 10 11), it is evolving at a more rapid pace due to the Agriprocessors event, as well as the development of the contemporary Jewish Food Movement. Arthur Waskow popularized ecologically conscious ways is meeting with the J ewish farmers, foodies, a nd activists of Hazon so that a new investigation of wha t kosher means is under way. While there is a long tradition of vegetarianism in Judaism, there is also a long tradition of kosher slaughter. This tension exists in Hazon as a group, but most of my research subjects 3 See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/23/jews ready to roll out ne_n_800492.html for coverage of this new seal (accessed June 10 th 2011). See also http://www.zeek.net/711kashrut/ for an interview with Rabbi Morris Allen who is spearheading the heksher (hescher) tzedek movement (accessed June 10 th 2011). Lastly, see http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/12/magazine /12kosher t.html?pagewanted=1&th for an in th 2011).

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241 do eat meat and as mentioned search out organic meat where and when possible. 4 They also have to find kosher meat, which makes it a harder task, so that the demand for sustainably raised meat that is kosher certi fied is on the rise within quite a few Jewish communities. For example, Rabbi Gr eenberg notes butcher for many years, and the closest is in Atlanta. And we have a relationship where he brings kosher meat to th is community every six weeks, and we made a commitment ecific schochet made it so the synagogue found it easy to embrace a similar CSA relationship with a farmer in the local Meanwhile, N aomi Eisenberg explained that she stopped buying kosher meat becau se for her kashrut is not only about cleanliness and keeping people healthy, but also about cruelty to animals and to make sure they suffer as little as possible when Agriprocessors in 2004 via footage from undercover cameras so that when the story broke, Eisenberg stopped buying kosher meats except for chickens. Today she now buys free range antibiotic free, hormone free kosher chickens from Whole Foods. 4 Food for Thought vegetarianism. And there are also many sources in Jewish tradition that clearly permit, and encourage, meat eating, especially for celebration. It seems clear that we and the planet would be better off if most of us ate less meat, but clearly whether you choose to eat any meat is up to you. Either way, we believe and Jewish tradition teaches that meat consumption is something we should do thoughtfully,

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242 familiarity with her own tradition and suggests that her observance of kosher laws inspires her to find sustainable raised and humanely slau ghtered kosher products. In fact, one of Eisenberg c hochet for the meat raised on Riverview Farms so that this meat can become a part of the CSA offering. Ruth Jacobs expresses similar distaste abo ut kosher products that are mass produced and artificially flavored. For Jacobs whe it can be so incredibly processed, and so much just junk, just shortenings and other things to crea te things that oth if we can move this community away from the processed ko sher foods and into whole foods an d say those are really actual ly A reinterpretation of kosher is seen by Jacobs to be consistent with the deep past You know, the Jewish cycle is so intricately linked to agriculture and food, and so when we live in a world where things are processed, and we can in some ways defy maybe the rules through food technology, I think that our bodies suffer in terms of health, and I thi nk that spiritually something is lost. agrarian concerns about health where this embrace can have spiritually beneficent see links betwe en personal, societal, and ecological whole foods. From he is able to put her own religious

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243 agrarian convictions, her lived experien ce, and her Jewish identity into practice while influencing the lifestyle choices and health of other Jews in her community. The most damning critique of meat eating and animal agriculture and the impact animal agriculture has on the environment came from Rabbi Hillel. He passionately explained that large their whol e life scale industrial kosher plants are not the pious old saintly Jews. These are the money grubbing mafia kind of Jews who will kill and kill and kill and they make their living in a disgustin g a disconnect between the deepest Jewish values and the way that we actually live our Jewish life. production, is a desecration of our values! [As Jews, we should not] change [our] values to accommodate the socio economic realities of meat production in the 21 st century. stop eating [ our ] values! You sto even though ou h obligations, the Torah co mpels you to be sustainable in [ our Hillel explains that Torah compels [Jews] to take care of farm ers and to not put small farms out of cheap food? Where is that written in the Torah? Where is t hat guarantee? Y

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244 Those are the ethical and religious imperatives, not the availability of cheap n imperative. This passage is important to my argument for a concern for animal health, while also showing a modern challenge to the perceived corruption of what kosher has become under the dictates of industrial agri culture. It also shows once again that many religious agrarians perceive the issues of health, locality, and justice to be intertwined. In this case, there is concern for the health of animals, but also the concern for justice in supporting local farmers Lastly, this passage directly points to th e issue of values: for Hillel Jewish values have been compromised by Jewish support of industrial agriculture and its for profit model. For Hillel this goes against the teachings of Torah and the com mandments of God, which For Hillel, to keep kosher in to not eating meat is the only possible way to follow the spirit of kosher; only by not eating meat can a Jew fol low the commandment to not be cruel to animals. I conclude this section on soil and animal health by relating the story of Aitan Mizrahi, a young farmer who is attempting to be sustainable in his farming due to his Jewish values. Like Daron Joffe and oth er young farmers at the Hazon Food of his friends in the new Jewish food movement, he is intrigued by traditional Jewish rituals but observes only those he finds personal ly meaningful 2010: 300). In his words, I very much identify as a biblical Jew. The beard is symbolic of my Judaism; it reminds me of who my ancestors were and how they would walk

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245 the hills of Judea with their goats and their sheep. They had a deeper relationship to the land, and how that land connected them to the holy spirit how some Jews refer to God in casual conversation]. I know how I want to raise my animals, and I believe that how the animal is raised transfers to its meat and milk. If the animal is nervous or stressed, her milk will taste poorly. But when my goats are out in a pasture and are getting good hay and clean water, you can taste that the milk is a l ot fresher, a lot cleaner. And I think that translates to the meat as well, on a spiritual level (2010 : 300 01). Such sentiments about the way animals are treated and how this translates into a superior tasting product that is healthier are shared through out food activist networks and circles, and also increasingly with in religious agrarian networks. Although involved in religious agrarianism in different ways, from farmers attending a Hazon Food Conference to participating in a per maculture training at K oinonia, all believe that how we farm influences the health of the body, the spirit, the community, the soil, the animal, and the land. They believe further that there are clear religious reasons to farm for health in sustainable agrarian ways. Planetary Health The last health concern of religious agrarians is that of the planet. This includes the health of the global climate and the health of regional and global rivers and supplies of groundwater for agriculture has a strong influence on both climate an d water. For example, up to sixty percent of all the freshwater in the U S is used for agricultural purposes, which is precipitating a rapid drawdown of the Oglalla aquifer. Furthermore, many of the industrial chemicals used on farms end up leaching int o groundwater and thus the water table in the form of run off. 5 Sometimes the run off contains an imal 5 to excess nutrient run off from industrial farms, coupled with excess amounts of flood waters entering the

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246 waste and excrement, or it contains chemicals that stew in manure lagoons on factory farms, which can also leech into groundwater tables Studies furthe r suggest that agricultural chemicals account for two thirds of all water pollution. High concentrations of chemicals lead to hypoxia so that marine dead zones have doubled in size every ten years since 1960 This doubling correlates with the increased u se of ever more toxic chemicals used by industrial farmers. On top of this, intensive animal agriculture is a larger contributor to global warming than is transportation, meaning what we farm and how we farm it truly does have an impact on a planetary sca le that future generations will have to deal with. 6 Given these planetary impacts of industrial agriculture, it is no surprise that many of my research subjects are developing a lived, religious agrarian response. For example, Paul Robinson states that, and His instructions on h ow to live. And then the next thing that pops into my head is how is this damaging the earth and the environment? So immediately when I walk into a room I notice like lights are on, appliances are on, and poss Robinson y inspired Christian and theocentric worldview thus leads him to make Gulf from the Mississippi. See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/14/gulf dead zone predicted largest in history_n_877188.html?ref=fb&src=sp for more information. Accessed June 15 th 2011. 6 For an analysis of the impacts climate change will have on soil organisms, see Pritchard (2011). This ana lysis points to the intricately linked, self reinforcing feedback loops that influence agriculture (a point that drives holistic approaches to farming, including those of religious agrarians).

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247 more closely commandments. Another one of my research subjects is Russell Bain, a self described Christian Bain s second training at Koinonia and part of what brought him back was the Christian a tmosphere. When asked how being a Christian and following the example of Jesus translate s into starting a permaculture business and having passion for the earth, Bain answered, Because I bel ieve that Jesus was connected in a perfect way with nature, with everything and with God, [so] I believe that when we connect with earth in a perfect way, we can live in a perfect environment. If we allow ourselves to be natural, which would be removing ou r fears and anxieties, and be really be one with nature is to allow nature to be nature. And whenever we disturbs the entire system. Not just the ecosystem, but our entire permaculture system: earth care, people care, fair share, the whole thing. if we want to be closer to God then we have to protect the earth as well. expressed by one of the panelists from the vegetable monologues, who exists in the simple presence of plan similar ecological hermeneutic was present at Hazon during a Friday night S habbat prayer service led by Rabbi Steve Greenberg. He explained to our small group of six that S habbat is the only commandment Jews ha ve to do and is punishable by death According to Greenberg observing shabbat is about facilitating the six day a week movement of doing to a divinely mandated day of simply being. In Greenberg was will be=being He interprets belief in Yahweh) to mean ve and argues it is

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248 is because for Greenberg, Jews believe that God is Being, and according t Being is One; therefore, all things are of one creator and are interconnected. by asking This question brought in an ethical component that challenged those present to look at I creation. In this theocentric understanding, there is an ethical demand to extend the love we feel for ourselves to the rest of the created world, so that living in ways that contribute to the health of the world becomes a vehicle for recognizing the oneness of God. Moreover, f abbath as reminder, tells Je ws that they must love god and do so all the time, so much that they are to bind it to their bodies and doors and to teach this love to their kids. He further pointed out that in Deut 6:5 9 and Deut 11:13 21, it is written that God loves his chosen people and gives Israelites abundance but that the Israelites must be faithful if they were to stray by worshipping others, or in a modern context by worshipp ing money or watching too much TV the recognition of God as Being is an ecological teaching that should be remembered (re member: to re join with God) every Shabbat. I found this to be a very explicit teaching about the planetary and ecological implications of a Jewish view about God, su ch that it was

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249 Similar views about interconnectedness are legion within agrarian writing. For e things without which neither agriculture nor a society of any kind can begin or continue. Talk about self interest! Our care for them is the outward and visible sign of our care for 09: 6 7). psychological, and spiritual ecosystem that includes all the species from soil microorganisms, creatures small and large, and plants to neighbors, nearby towns, instituti ons like schools and churches and merchants, and large urban areas, as well as wilderness, geological formations, and light from distant stars. The water we depend on for agriculture and sustenance is related to it all, too, never quite contained, even in the 2009 : 174 where mono 2009 : 176). Most religious agrarians share this expansive view of health, from the microbial to the personal to the societ al to the planetary Their understanding of health tends to be nuanced and is built upon lived experience, personal res earch, and religious teachings. They also believe that health is threatened, even destroyed, by industrial society and agriculture. Th Ben Peters is killing the planet, agric ulture, Peters points to sustainable agricultur e.

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250 Rabbi Greenberg offers a similar analysis from a Jewish perspective, stating that, ocally, recycling, treating the environment with care [is what] I understand us to Lisa Jones believes re create the garden. e on the brink of either making a decision to go ahead and be a partner and re create the garden or go As Exec utive Director of Koinonia, Jones is actively working with the rest of the community to live as sustainably as possible, as such a religious agrarian lifestyle helps to re create the garden and to partner with God. T hus, whether from the commandme n t s of Torah or the Rabbinic tradition, or whether from Protes tant readings of the Bible, religious agrarians are committed to bringing about the health of soils, animals, human spiritual and physical bodies, communities, and planetary ecologies. They are equally committed to issues of justice, the subject of the next chapter

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251 CHAPTER 7 JUSTICE FOR ALL: FROM SOIL T O WORKER, FROM INDIV IDUAL TO COMMUNITY A Concern for Justice Agriculture is in the foundation of the political, economic, and social Liberty Hyde Bailey (2009: 103) A concern for justice mobilizes many sustainable food activists and inspires the motivation for many of their practices. This holds for ecological agrarians, and even more so for religious agrarians. For the latter, such an emphasis on justice stems from identity formation brought about by being part of traditions that have long standing critiques of the manipulation of power, greed, hubris, and blatant acts of injustice. Many of the people I interviewed have read religious scripture, such as the He brew Prophets, where critiques of power are central. Many have also been raised by religious parents or attended and participated in religious services where an emphasis was placed on the value of treating other humans in just ways. Many of them also des ire to extend such compassionate and ethical care towards non human life forms and towards what is perceived to be a sacred, holy, or divine creation. In this chapter I examine the importance of justice in religious agrarian thought and the ways that agra rian practices and lifestyles embody concerns for equality, fairness, and empathy towards those most vulnerable to abuses of power. Politics and Food Many agrarians believe because (Lappe 2010: 242) Their commitment to social justice motivates many sustainable food activists to engage in political actions and organizing, in addition to their farming activities. The simple act of creating self regulated organic

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252 certifying agencies in the early days of the nascent organic movement was itself a political statement, as well as being a critique of the perceived injustices of the industrial food paradigm and its attend ant practices. Such critiques and political mobilizing have been present in sustainable food circles for decades and these concerns are still front and center. Along with intrinsic concerns for justice from within religious traditions, religious agrarian s also adopt justice based critiques of the industrial food system advanced by ecological agrarians as they articulate their concerns and ideals for just food and farming. day constrained by the playing (Patel 2007: 7). Such constraints can and do lead to tragedy: loss of farms and livelihoods, loss of regional culture and social capital, and increasingly, the loss of lives due to suicide, as many farmers the world over take their lives out of shame and frustration because they are unable to repay farming related debts. Meanwhile, t hose sympathetic with the industrial farming system, while lamenting usiness, then those who succeed are better able to handle the dictates of market capitalism. For these supporters, the market eventually will lead to efficiency in food production and in the development of technologies that save labor and lead to greater productivity. We see here again a war over narrative tropes, with religious agrarians siding (Patel 2007 : 11). While the division between sustaina ble and industrial farming is one of metaphor, narrative, and ideas, it is equally one with material

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253 repercussions, including political ramifications in legal codes, agricultural policy, and international commerce (and in the flesh and blood bodies of farm ers the world over). Religious agrarians seek ways to farm that honor creation, health, and locality, but that does so in a way that is just for all involved while also providing for a living wage for all involved. They view justice as a bottom up concern beginning with soil organisms, farm animal s, farm laborers, farmers farm communities, and consumers of local, sustainable foods. From this perspective, agribusiness corporations are seen as the boogey man, creating an uneven, toxic, unjust playing fiel d that harms everything that is seen to be good about sustainable farming and agrarian lifeways. 1 Given these beliefs, many religious agrarians are motivated to model, support, as CSAs (Patel 2007 : 34). Given the severity of modern day agriculture from the perspective of sustainable agriculture supporters the loss of genetic diversity and topsoil, the poisoning of waters, twin epidemics of obesity and malnutrition/starvation, and the corruption of democracy by agribusiness interests, to name some of the more common claims for those in the sustain able agriculture milieu it is imperative to develop and embody healthy, just alternatives. 1 The sustainable agricultural milieu is similar to the radical environmental milieu in this diagnosis about corporate malfeasance, especially in regards to the machinations of the Monsanto Corporation. They differ in their prescriptions, although the lines blur; for example, many supporters of sustainable plo ts for genetically modified organisms. For more on the analysis of corporations and their perceived role in despoiling the earth and a lso civil democracy, see Taylor ( 1995: 115 )

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254 As has been explored, religious agrarians share these same concerns, pronouncements, eval uations, and critiques, but ground them within religious worldviews. Altog ether, the need for hope and change are also motivators as religious agrarians attempt to put their religious values about justice into practice to show that demonstration plot fo r God, where these religious agrarians practice permaculture and Indeed, the last of this triumvi rate is explicitly linked to issues of justice. Such concerns, despite shortcomings in practice, are also found at global levels of sustai nable food networks. The result is that tropes, narratives, and concerns for justice are locally embodied in lives of religious agrarians helping to contribute to processes of microgloba lization (Huey 2005; Cetina 2005). At the same time, they are simultaneously spread at global levels via modern day technologies, helping to form international lived networks built upon the shared premises of agrarian concerns. While there is a long tradition of religious bodies, institut ions, and leaders focusing on j ustice and ethics (Runzo, et al 2003), it is only more recently that there has been an explicit link to environmental issues. These issues range from over consumption to issues of carrying capacity and acceptable human popu lation levels to genetic modification of food to loss of species diversity, and now to social and environmental justice issues (Chapman, et al 2000 ; Brunk and Coward 2009). Food is an element that unites all of these concerns, so that by focusing on iss ues of justice in regards to agricultural practice and policy, religious agrarians are offering a wide ranging critique of modern industrial farming, technologies that harm the earth, and

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255 neoliberal capitalism. At the same time, they are re inventing and re imagining their own traditions to make them relevant to various ethical concerns of today. This is seen for example in Judaism with the development of Magen Tzedek a new kosher [f] ounded on the principle that we are what we eat[.] M agen Tzedek is an ethical seal signifying that kosher food has been prepared with care and integrity. Products carrying the Magen Tzedek seal reflect the highest standard on a variety of important issues: employee wages and benefits, health and safety, an 2 The 2009 Hazon Food Conference even held a session about Magen Tzedek and was advertised movement fo r sustaina ble, responsible consumption [that] promotes increased sensitivity to the vast and complex web of global relationships that bring food to our This provides clear evidence that religions are changing in regards to contemporary food issue s. The process of change involves adapting and inventing new religious agrarian ethics, ideals, and practices that are able to address the changing technologies, policies, and consumer identity and habits of the industrialized food system The Jewish concern for justice in regards to religious agrarian concerns shows the process of the renewal and reinterpretation of tradition. For example, this is present in the work of Nigel Savage, who on May 31 st 2011 sent an email to the Hazon list serve with th e following passage: Nowadays shabbat as a concept stands mostly by itself. But in the biblical narrative it's intertwined with a series of other iterations of seven The 2 http://magentzedek.org/ Accessed June 15 th 2011.

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256 Torah teaches that rest for a person and rest for the land are connected to each other ; to do one, we have to do the other. In both cases, we do not "allow" the land or the person to rest; we require it. The Torah makes the further presumption implicit in its day, and being slowly relearned explicitly in ours that shabbat and shmita nec essarily involve concern for the most vulnerable within a society; rest for oneself and rest for the land requires concern for the landless, the day laborer, the widow and the orphan. Today we might add the illegal immigrant, the non unionized, those witho ut health benefits or retirement plans. 3 Here is an explicit call for concern about how the lowest in society are treated, where i n Savage speak to concern for the land and for the po or. Hazon is updating this concern and this system: soils, field workers, slaughter house workers, and those working in the agribusiness industry without the bene fits of union representation. Food for Thought has long made the connection between food and social justice, exhorting us whenever e slaves in Egypt; our memory of our experience of injustice is intended to be a constant reminder to do justice 2009 : 93). The memory and consciousness of this experience inspires those in the Jewish Food Movement to embody the concept of tzedakah or justice. By remembering various Torah and Talmudic passages and teachings about justice, Jews 3 http://www.hazon.org/go.php?q=/readingroom/emailArchive/emails/Omer,_Shmita,_FairFood,_ Sabbatical. html&tr=y&auid=8434202 Accessed May 31 st 2011.

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257 ve in the agrarian world of the biblical land of Israel; yet the underlying is : 94). These issues of justice and food production are indeed relevant to many of my Jewish research subjects. For example, the CSA programs in both Gainesville and Atlanta donate excess food to regional soup kitchens. In this arrangement, rather than wasting the fresh produce, th e leaders of both CSAs organize pick up a nd drop off volunteers who bring leftover shares (from people who are out of town or who can not pick their share up, or who even order an extra share specifically for the food bank) in their cars to soup kitchens. Furthermore, f or Isaac Segal, the concept of justice resonates with his conception of what it is to be a Jew. As he be a Jew: you lead a good life and you take care of the people and the planet and the identity made Segal excited to see leftover s the CSA. Like Segal Noah Got twald also emphasized t he strong social justice component I know that my Jewish upbringing definitely has a social justice component to it. And my environmental consciousness also has a social justice good to the environment a For the purpos es of my argument, Gottwald explained that this Jewish

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258 concern for justice indeed extend that the treatment of not just the animals on a farm, but the workers on the farm, is have motivated Gottwald to adopt religious agrarian practi ces like joining a CSA. Meanwhile, Ruth Jacobs explained that she donate s excess food she purchases the corners of our field, some of it needs to go to those who don ( from Leviticus 19:9 10). Bea trice Tischler echoes both Segal and Jacobs by explaining that the Talmudic prohibition against wasting food, bal taschit inspires her to Tischler Eisenberg is explicit in her understanding of Judaism and justice. For her, the tzedakah aspect of Judaism has influenced her decision to join the responsibly for the planet and all the life upon it, or to destroy it. If they choose to repair it, then Jews are to act with tzedakah, which for Eisen berg is thus inspired to practice supporting sustainable agriculture because of her desire to support local farmers and she sees this as a commandment given by God. Such a concern for justice is intricately wrapped up in the o left the farm he had started in Wisconsin and went to California where he taught farming to youth in a youth prison. Joffe followed this experience by be ginning a

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259 nonprofit to set up gardens in low income communities and he also beg an planting gardens i and environmentally conscious business. We discount and do as much as we can to support those types of initiatives He links this work to his religious values. When asked what inspires him to undertake work for justice despite the challenge it places on his ability to earn a living, practice acts of kindness and to look out fo strong awareness through my Jewish roots of being persecuted. We have family who were in the Holocaust, Holocaust survivors, so very aware and conscious of wish commitment to justice, coupled with own lived experience of ancestral oppression, inspires him and other Jewish religious agrarians to practice sustainable farming and to do so with a focus on justice issues. Dorothy Goldstein echoes t hese co ncerns and this identity and they influence her approach to organizing up at CSI in Atlanta. Goldstein explains that actively build upon the relationship she formed with Hazon while living in New York City by beginning when she and her family relocated to

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260 Atlanta In fact, Goldstein Rabbi Hill el, and the leadership of CSI were awarded a grant from Hazon to become one of the first national From a sociological perspective, such r eligious agrarian practices undertaken with institution al support can create community while also allowing people to deepen their relationship with their relig ious identity and heritage. They can also allow people to dialogue about the interrelated issues o f locality, health, and justice. This has been the experience of Goldstein over the up at CSI. The power of numbers available from a religious institution means that for the Jewish community [is able to] put their purchasing power into local family farms. ver up committing for several years and who become engaged with the process and find out about it an incredible sense of co mmunity and an intergenerational sense of community brings everyone in contact with people across the age spectrum and brings families together with other families and people in conversation day to day lives, but they do happen around the pick up table. Goldstein continues, this time weaving in the s pecific justice component o f the CSI/Hazon CSA partnership, by explaining that CSI has a partnership with the Atlanta volunteers to bring any leftover produce or shares to an emerge ncy food provider. For incorporates very strong, universal and Jewish values of

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261 providing access meeting food security needs but also through access to healthy and nations of So those are all opportunities to [work for] social justice through supporting loca l agriculture and meeting hunger needs; volunteering together; having informal avenues of conversation; participating in some educational programs; and giving t he Rabbi a platform to do a lot of both formal and informal teaching about the environment T hese various components are united under the banner of supporting local, healthy, justly produced sustainable food, while also being rooted within the larger Jewi sh tradition. They are also united in the eyes and t notes that on Wednesday nights during the growing season, about fifty Jews come to the synagogue to get organic produce from a local farmer. He points out that not th at many Jews come on a Wednesday night for minyan and to pray evening prayers. So which is the more Jewish venture? Which sustains the religious and spiritual life of the Jews of our congregation more? Traditio nal daily prayers, or tomatoes? Right. I think you could argue tomatoes. interpreted this scenario to mean that, it shows is that these are not ideas and values hat they see their to t hem that their synagogue would ethical imperative which Jews should be supportive of and we should s peak about as a nd this is a much higher animal.

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262 For Hillel, s ynagogue is a place where Jewish values and teachings are discussed, challenged, and put into practice. He supports use it allows the Jewish members of his synagogue who are CSA members to put into practice their Jewishness. As seen, this Jewishness has a strong ethical component that Hillel Wednesday CSA pick ups are a time when Jewish ethics, values, and identity get put into community practice, not only in minyan prayer but also in embodying a higher level of kashrut. An ability to put values into practice is an important component of personal identity and happiness. Many of the peo ple I interviewed, observed, and worked with for this project all expressed joy, satisfaction, and a sense of meaningfulness as results of their participation in religious agrarian practices. For many, this joy was in part because they believed they were able to put their religious values into practice, while also doing something they believed is positive for the environment and their local community. To paraphrase Aldo Leopold, to receive an ecological education about the interconnectedness of life leads to the realization that we live in a world of wounds. For many, these wounds are felt at an emotional level (Roszak, et al. 1995) Thus, one of the results of developing a worldview that is influenced by environmental and ecological sciences is a concer n for the earth (whether this is seen as a divine creation or not) and the desire to act, both personally and politically, for the protection of the environment. The wounds can creep in when a person feels overwhelmed and burns out because most metrics of environmental health are in steady decline and continue to get worse. Therefore, by participating in religious agrarian practices rooted in religious identity and

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263 community, religious agrarians are able to act in productive ways for justice, health, and local environmental health. In their lament about the failures of the environmental movement broadly that while public support for the environmental agenda is broad, it is also frightfully shallow. This has implications not just for the challenge of passing legislation but also arguing for the need to create an environmental politics tha t motivates and inspires people to become environmentally active, both in practice and in financial commitment to local and global NGOs. This argument is built upon their analysis of social science literature, which suggests that people are happy and enga ged when they are in flow, serve others, interact with others, and live a meaningful life (2009 : 204). It is precisely for these reasons that religious agrarians, and the larger ecological reformation occurring within religious traditions globally, are a leading edge in the changing landscape of the environmental movement. concerns about justice, by participating in community, and by being grounded in a cosmology of meanin g, religious agrarians are actively challenging the industrial food system and are leading the way towards a new way of putting religious and environmental values into practice. This religiously based practice helps heal both inner and outer wounds that a ttend to seeing creation being despoiled by human activities like industrial agriculture. This active mix of both challenge and healing applies equally to Jewish and Christian religious agrarians

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264 We have seen that Judaism contains a strong ethical compo nent. The same holds true for p ermaculture. During the 2010 PC training at Koinonia, Chuck Marsh shared the core ethical tenets of PC. These are care of the earth, care of humans, care of the community, and respect for the intrinsic value of all living beings. In this worldview, care of the community entails fairly sharing the products of the earth, which ideally should be grown and distributed along the design parameters of permaculture. Therefore, a native value of the permaculture system is to share with those around you. Such sharing and compassionate commitment to justice has been central to the vision and mission of Koinonia going back to its beginning. Modeled after the radical and egalitarian sharing of the early corporate church as describe d in Acts, Koinonia has always been a place of voluntary poverty and simplicity that has challenged the iniquities of society. Food and fellowship have been central to this challenge from day one, from working across color boundaries in the fields to shar ing of food across color hospitality and education of Koinonia, so the fair share tenet of permaculture is easily grafted onto a culture and institution already used to campaigning for issues of justice. As Sylvia Castle explained [issues over environmental issues] although the neat thing about permaculture is it tries to incorporate all [of them] so it [is] mo Koinonia members have protested the School of Americas, campaig ned for peace in a post 9/11 world, collaborated on immigrant rights with Jubilee, and created a monastic co mmunity on the margin of empire In all of these activities, justice has been an explicit value. This concern also has led Koinonia to forge networks with business

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265 partners who share the same concerns. It is also represented in individual lifestyles and actions of community members, Americus region The concern for justice even motivated Ben Peters to become a community member. Prior to joining Koinon ia, Peters had done justice work in Philadelphia but realized life in the city was not spiri tually or physically healthy. Rather, h e realized that, I want[ed] to be someplace [where I] to be oppressed or to be suffering. I feel like in the city you use an infrastructure that could be built with unfair labor [and] experience. Whether seeing the chemicals Koinonia uses on its pecan trees or realizing the eco footprint (and social footprint) of living in cities Peters understood that his concern for the earth and for justice obligated him to change his lifestyle. This realization prompted him to move to Koinonia so could learn about and implement permaculture farming techniques while also honoring his commitment to live in intentional community all while striving towards a Christ centered life. whole life is caring about a certain small gr oup of religious minded people up until [I realized that] people need to be treated fairly no matter what their religion or whatever and it just expanded to all creatures, you know whether they be animals or plants or rocks or

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266 ked if this motivation to car e comes from his faith, Peters responded by saying I guess when I read the Bible, like when I read Jesus in the Gospels, it was a different picture than when I had as a kid, so I went from being very sectarian to being, I felt like what Jesus was saying was that he was calling a certain group of people to come follow his teachings to bring about the kingdom of God, which is a term I believe means a world of right relationships. provides a place wh ere he can work on right relationships, Peters responded by [because] suffer, or at least try to minimize the ways that I cause people to suffer, so I heard of this place [and ] I decided to try it out to do that I had to grow my ment to subsidize corn which is causing Mexicans to lose their land because they can buy our corn cheaper because of the subsidies we have and the opening up of trade agreements. religious values (his interpretation that Jesus preached an ethics of right relationships) influence his views about the earth and that when Jesus taught, what Jesus was aiming for was equality and you inequality produces a lot teachings was also held by Clarence Jordan and is one of the reasons all of the permanent members of Koinonia take on vows of voluntary poverty their room and board is covered by the community, and they earn a little bit extra per year, but ideally

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267 they share what little profit is made from sales of pecan products and work rather to challenge th analysis, right relationships include our relationships with food: how it is grown, who grows it, and the governmental policies that influence this. By living at Koinonia and putting into practice agrarian and perm aculture farming techniques, Peters is able to live in a way that is co nsistent with his food justice values. Stephanie Paterson is equally motivated by justice issues and before her visit to She also feels that God is the only ruler over anything, as he is the Creat or talked about in Genesis When asked about why she it is that she is so concerned about justice and equality and caring for people and the earth, Paterson answer I believe that God is in every living thing. God is in the soils and God is in the rocks and in the water and in taking s the most important thing to me is taking A nd being obedient to God. And who I am Paterson even extends her desire to abide in caring relationships to the earth, for these are not mainstream Christian views, but nonetheless she is comfortable and happy to call herself and Christian and she feels she is doing the work of Christ.

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268 Paterson admits that her own understanding of Christ was influenced by her exposure to the religious agrarianism of Koinonia. In fac it was that important until I came here and now I realize t hat [to] love your neighbor as yourself and [to] love God -like if we love the earth, [then] be able to provide enough if we practice permaculture and organic farming more and more and we begin to live more problems. You know, we could, we can so that everyone has a place to live. Paterson and caring relationships. We also see in her the interrelated religious agrarian concern s for locality, health, and justice, which for Paterson are explicitly linked to her Christian identity and understanding of God. This was reinforced at the end of our c onversation, I believe that living more sustainably is o ur solution to poverty and I think Jesus had a big heart for the poor and that was really what he talked Another community member shared how ethical business practices are a key s business model. These practices include using Fair Trade chocolate from the Divine Chocolate company and using fair trade coffee beans they buy from a local b usiness, Caf Campesino. Koino n i a is also looking into becoming a certified fair trade busines s as well, meaning they would be recognized for paying their workers a living wage and offering them health care. Katie Taylor is in charge of

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269 maintaining and deepening these business relations and she explained that using fair kinds of relationships. I guess I see marketing not so much from a competitive standpoint but from more of a grass roots standpo verting people away from the big is going into our pockets, Everybody [wins,] right down to the people growing the products and making a big thing for me and my philosophy. Once again, individual values influence lifestyle choices. In this instance, the values are ones of mutuality and cooperation, and the choices are sharing and a bottom up economy based on justice and fairness. In this alternative economic model, small business owners and workers who produce sustainable, fair trade products are privileged over the profits of corporations. These values of sharing and of protesting exploitation of worker and soil also motivate Patrick Smith who lives with his family on the ed who walks to work in the fields during the week. One of the practices he is involved with at Koinonia is dumpster diving, which he believes fi ts pretty well with the idea of funnel some resources that are headed to a landfill and feed hogs or feed people or chickens or what have you or turn it into compost even and possibl y even recycle some of the containers that this stuff comes in [then] I think that can be seen as ministry as well. And fits in wit t he waste of industrial culture becomes sacraments that can be culled from dumpsters and or

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270 ending up in a landfill, it becomes an object of eco ministry that helps the health of Koinonia. Because of its own storied history and its relationship with Habitat for Humanity, Koinonia receives thousands of visitors each year. Their catalogue and products are also mailed to thousands of others around the country each year. Therefore, Koinonia is able to impact Christian (and non Christian) food consciousness far outside the boundaries of its f ew hundred acres. In the same vein, as the leading vo ice of the new Jewish food movement, Hazon is able to shape in profound ways the progressive edge of Jewish food choices. Both 2011) and will continue to help shape religious agrarian disco urses about and understandings of just, humane food and food choices. By participating in conferences, giving talks, through their websites and publications, and by participating in lived networks, my research subjects are already acting upon the realizat plant gardens but start engaging as fair food citizens to alter the larger policies and institutional practices that are driving the [food] system (Hesterman 2011 : 132). The history I h ave been outlining suggests that religious agrarians will only become more visible, organized, and vocal in fair food discussions and policy proposals in the coming years. Given the historical interplay between religion and politics in the United States, and given the religious agrarian worldview, it seems an obvious given that the concern for justice will continue to mobilize and capture attention within religious subcultures in America. Such attention will most likely lead to continued

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271 support for or pa rticipation in Fair Trade networks; providing soup kitchens with local, organic produce; and active lobbying at local, state, and national levels for laws that value drive n by members of religious institutions, they will most likely become persistent efforts, whether within a subtradition or across ecumenical lines. The search for justice in food production will also grow in large part because if the industrial food system fails in its promises of feeding the masses healthy foods and appears instead to be brittle and flawed (a very real possibility during this century of ecological limits), then alternative cultural narratives about farming will percolate into mass consciou sness. Many of my research subjects are evidence that this percolation of environmental agrarian concerns into popular culture is already underway, as many have read Berry and Pollan and seen Food, Inc. Furthermore, i f limits of health and justice are m et, then America will most likely undergo an even more profound dialogue about farming and food choices, and religious agrarians will be situated to lead this dialogue, especially within communities and networks of faith. Such a dialogue will most likely comprehensive view of the larger culture that cuts across every concern we have in creating a sustainable society: poverty, the environment, racism, even finding and cultivating a meaningful life rather than a merely pr osperous one. Agriculture is one of those great cultural intersections where environmental concerns and social justice issues, including the economy, come together and play themselves out for good or prosperity, is the keystone for Holthaus 2009: 118 119).

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272 These sentiments are already on display in religious agrarian worldviews, with the concern for justice interweaving itself with concerns for health and locality. Such interacti on is seen in the following sentiments expressed by Rabbi Hillel as we discussed f ood issues in his office at CSI: around. Globalization turns out to be very significantly limi ted and restricted things. A nd the risk that we expose our farmers to, financially, in order for us to have cheap available food [is unacceptable]. Which is just cutting off our own future. Yo do it. Nobody can really sustain their own life. And self communities. It is precisely this interconnectedness that motivates religious agrarians to put their values into practice. For religious agrarians, this interconnectedness occurs in three interrelated sets: the first is an interconnectedness of farms, people, and communities. The second is an interconnectedness of locality, health, and justice. The final interrelated set is the interconnectedness of the Divine/God/Jesus and creation. Here we see that perception and values drive practice and behavior in regards to striving for a religiously inspired sustainable life. Yet, we also see that lived experience, whether smelling the stink of CAFO feedlots to reading signs that warn about the dangers of just sprayed industrial farming chemicals, equally motivate religious agrarians to practice sustainable lifeways. F or religious agrarians, this iterative process of emplaced and embodied value and meaning making is thoroughly grounded in lived networks, religious identity, and a holistic, theocentric worldview.

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273 CHAPTER 8 CONCLUSION: A HARVEST OF IDEAS A Changing Landscape (of Farmlands and Religious Studies) Over the last three chapters I have explored key themes that emerged during my research. The repeated references to, concerns for, and attempts to articulate religiously grounded ideas of locality, health, and justice define religious agrarianism. Furthermore, various lived networks within which religious agrarians participate, help shape, and, in return, are shaped by influence this definition. Consistent with a lived religion methodological approach to s tudying religion, I have explored the themes of locality, health, and justice. Theology, scripture, and orthodox teachings of the understandings. Yet religious agrarianism i s significantly a bottom up phenomenon, shaped by the values and practices of religiously motivated individuals and groups who point to and cite scripture a nd orthodox teachings as needed but who are not defined or bound by them. Rather, religious agrarians pick and choose what is most helpful as they articulate an ecological and agricultural sensibility that is already present in their lives, most often from their own prior lived experience. T his lived experience helps shape individual and group approach es to the environment, to agriculture, and thus to religion. Such an iterative process leads to selective interpretation or re interpretation of teachings, doctrines, and scripture so that these become doctrines put to use to support an emergent religiou s agrarian worldview. In this way, religious agrarianism is both a social construct -reacting to the politics, economics, environmental footprint, and cultural workings of both industrial and

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274 sustainable agriculture models -and a lived religion that morph s into lived networks that reinforce its social construction. In the remainder of this concluding chapter, I offer both comparison and contrast between my research subjects by exploring similarities and differences between how Jewish and Christian religio us agrarians conceive of locality, health, and justice. I then return to network theory, environmental philosophy, and religious studies theory to fin alize my analysis and argument about religious agrarianism and its emergent role in the religious landsca pe of the United States. Let us briefly revisit, compare, and contrast how religious agrarians use, shape, and re invent aspects of their traditions in order to validate, justify, and inspire their religi ous agrarian lifestyles. In this way, we see how the emergence of a religious agrarian worldview is a unique and recent development in North American religious history while it also signals the continued development of g reen religious sensibilities. Man y analysts assert that religion is central to the worldviews that underlie For example, Eric Burkett claims that, Religion, of course, takes many forms, but its most interesting form to da te is food. Many folks, it seems, have embraced food, or food activism, as a new religion 1 I do not agree here with Burkett religion in large part because the alternative food movement is too broad, lacks a central lacks defined rituals; however I do sympathize with his recognition that the modern 1 http://www.grassrootsnetroots.org/articles/article_20315.cfm Accessed Friday, June 29 th 2011.

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275 foodie landscape (and the sustainability aspect of this landscape) is peopled with man y such people to crusade for food issues and to enact foodie lifestyles. I f anything, however, my research subjects place their food concerns within a larger containe r: their own faith traditions. My research also challenges an analysis offered by the leading agrarian writer Gene Logsdon, who asserts that, religion, like the ancient pagani were, and for the same reason They view it as a product of organized urban power trying to gain control over them trying to colo nize research and experience blinker his gaze from seeing that there is an emergent, modern form of agr arianism: religious agrarianism. Clearly the modern agrarians of my research do not hold antipathy towards religious systems. In fact, most members of Hazon are residents of urban centers of power, and they use this position to help local sustainable far mers. In terms of locality, my urban Jewish research subjects were interested in fresh food and taste. Many come from a culinary background where their parents cooked traditional Jewish meals in the kitchen. Quite a few also grew up with backyard gard ens and missed the taste of fresh food that they enjoyed in their childhoods. Therefore, for the majority of my Je wish research subjects, concern about the local meant the ability to enjoy fresh, seasonal food while cooking meals for friends and family an d Shabb at dinner. This is not to imply that the only concerns about the local were for fresh, seasonal

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276 urban residents who join the CSA in order to get fresh food in a uniquely Je wish community setting. When other values and motivations about concerns for the local appeared in my research about Jewish religious agrarians, it was contextualized with in a few key Jewish concepts, which may also overlap with values about health and ju stice One was tikkun olam or the Jewish mandate to heal the world. Another was bal taschit the ethical mandate to not destroy or waste. Another motivating factor was interpretations of Jewish scripture and teachings that highlight the agricultural past of Jewish people. Some Jewish religious agrarians draw inspiration from the many blessings and seasonal holidays surrounding food that they locate within their tradition and espec ially in Torah or the Talmud By participat ing in sustainable agricult ure -whether directly or through a CSA membership -these Jews invest renewed meaning into this ancient part of their religion. Some Jews are also motivated by the human responsibility, given in Genesis, to be ste wards of the earth. They interpret this m andate as a duty to care for local landbases by farming in healthy ways, as seen in the work of Farmer D Many are also motivated by a desire to support (and even start) local businesses, although this is a more secular concern (unless those started are sustainable farms, eco camps, or kosher slaughterhouses that serve Jewish clientele). In comparison, members of Koinoni a are much more concerned about the environmental health and ecological well being of their immediate community This is i n large part because the Christian agrarians of my research lived and worked on the land which provides their food and that they are to steward This land is outside their

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277 windows and they walk across it everyday on the way to morning prayer at the chapel to work at their various duties within the community, and when they are taking a leisurely stroll along the peace trail through the pine forest on the edge of their property. Many of them have also participated in permaculture trainings, so bring a perm aculture view of intentional design to their vision for what their locality will resemble; this vision is even codified in the operating protocols and guiding parameters of the community. However, specific Christian beliefs, theologies, and concerns reg include Creation Care and holding an incarnational worldview meaning that by seeing the earth as being both the creation of and home to God, there is a Chri stian obligation to care for the earth. For many in the Creation Care movement, this charge to care for the divine creation is seen as a blessing and a potential vehicle for grace rather than a task to soberly undertake in fear. Members also view Koinonia and compassion are put on display for all to see Included in this demonstration plot is divine relations by permaculture and other agrarian practices. Members also hold a Christ centered commitment to radical poverty and sharing that is inspired by the life and teachings of Jesus (as well as Clarence Jordan and contemporary New Monastics), who is viewed by the community as being either the Savior or th e human being par excellence Lastly, members of Koinonia believe that we how we treat that Kingdom matters

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278 While morning services and noonday mealtime prayers did re fer to nature (Joel Taylor, Koinon morning prayer at the chapel), most prayers and passages I witnessed during these times of day referenced concerns about peace and reconciliation and about staying true to the vision of Koin onia. Few of my research subjects directly c ited passages from scripture, b ut many believed that they were carrying the vision of Clarence Jordan forward into the twenty first century. Many also c ited Jesus as thei r moral and spiritual exemplar, e specia lly in regards to justice However, after our initial interview and after working many hours together and conversing in the permaculture fields of Koinonia, Paul Robinson approached me with a scrap of paper that contained two passages from the New Testame nt that influence his view of locality and health and that motivate his actions. These were Colossians 1: 15 17, which states that all things, including all things on earth, were created in Jesus; and Hebrews 1:3, which shares that the Son radia glory. Thus, for Robinson these passages inspire a life that is dedicated to serving, sustaining, and keeping healthy local ecosystems, as these are created by God and serve as a reminder of the radiance of both Jesus and God. Others were inspired by th e Genesis vision of stewardship, while the Sermon on the Mount motivated still others, although this influenced v isions of justice more than locality In regards to religious agrarian concerns about health, members of Hazon were influenced by the concept of tikkun olam which directly speaks to healing and health. Many of the Jews with whom I spoke see this healing to be an interconnected healing built upon healthy food, healthy local economies, healthy bodies, a healthy Jewish

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279 identity and community, and healthy, sustainable human earth relations built upon agrarian farming practices. Others actively enacted Jewish rituals that are designed to bring a Jew into presence with their food while also giving thanks to God. They felt that these practices, and the emotions precipitated by them, were heightened because the food being consumed was sustainably grown. Others believed in the concept of which related to the health of bodies and the salubrious effects of sharing sustainably grown food at communal meals. Lastly, some Jews explained that they felt the need to re examine and re imagine what it means to be kosher in an age of CAFO foods because how kosher food products are raised and pr ocessed directly relate to Jewish concepts of health and justice both In comparison, the Christians I studied are concerned about the various aspects are not to harm it. Furthermore, they believe they are called to model holistic farming to visitors who visit Koinonia. In this respect, those at Koinonia believe they are following the unique institutional culture of demonstrating new, harmonious ways of being in society, wi th this harmony now extending to human earth relations via permaculture. Lastly, both kinds of religious agrarians believe that they are commanded in some way, through revelat ion, scripture, and/or teaching, Meanwhi le, both Christian and Jewish religious agrarian concerns about health are influenced by ecological understandings of soil and physical health. In other words, members of both religions agree and believe that the chemicals used in industrial farming are p oisonous to the earth and to human bodies. In this secular reading of

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280 various pro sustainable agriculture literature studies, and media, m y research subjects are aligned. Moreover, in their analysis of what this means to their religious identity they ar e also more synonymous than divergent: many view these poisons as being an af front to a Divine creation or an affront directly to God. Both groups also share similar secular critiques of our societal health at large: America ns consume too much, consumes t oo m uch unhealthy food, and do not make an extended effort to support local, small scale family farms. Finally, both religious agrarian groups I researched were ex tremely motivated by concerns about j ustice. For those at Koinonia, issues of justice hav e motivated the community since it was founded. This concern is still present today and extends to how all those involved with industrial agriculture are treated (workers, animals, soils) and the concern even motivates their purchasing decisions. It also inspires them to be members of the New Monastic movement. Many point to the te achings and examples of Jesus and Clarence Jordan as their motivation for holding concerns about justice and how justice is a part of diet and food choice. This concern is as strongly echoed by my Jewish research subjects, who almost all claimed that Judaism takes justice to be a central concern; this concern is found in scripture, sermons and teachings, and for many such a message was imparted by family members during formativ e childhood years. While at the Food Conference, Rabbi Jacob Fine, Assistant Director of Hillel at the University of Seattle, presented an articulate synthesis of the various Jewish religious agrarian concerns for locality, health, and justice that neatly summarizes much of my own research. This occurred on a Friday morning talk

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281 talk was to build on Jewish tradition in order to frame a contemporary Jewish food ethic. He re living in a new many religious agrarian Jews recognize that there are new food issues that the tradition must address, and not system. The concern to keep kosher motivates Jewish agrarians and is conspicuously absent in Christian agrarian circles so that this is one of the b iggest differences between Christian and Jewish religious agrarians. The whole process of living a Jewish life guided by Jewish ethics, mitzvoth, commandments, and laws is unique t o the Jewish agrarian worldview. Jewish agrarians and food activists tend ed to warp environmental agrarianism into the woof of the much longer, larger, and more meaningful Jewish tradition in which they were raised. For Jewish agrarians, this tradition stretches back to the earliest patriarchs and the agricultural cycles of th e earliest Israelites and proceeds through the Rabbinical tradition up to today, where kashrut and Torah must deal with health, justice, and environmental issues brought about by industrial agriculture. Fine identified ten ingredients that a new Jewish fo od ethic should include/upon wh ich it should be built. The first ingredient is or avoiding cruelty to animals, and which relates to all three religious agrarian tropes. The next two ethics are interrelated, and they are lishmor et or the injunction to protect the earth, and bal taschit a concept readily used by other Jews I researched.

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282 The fourth ingredient of a modern Jewish food ethic is or the injunction to not oppress laborers, evidenc ing a conce rn for health and justice both. This ethic is related to his fifth and sixth ingredients, kavod habriyot or ayn mahazikin yidei outei aveirah which means ing prod ucts from ag industry companies Number seven was hillul Hashem related to abstaining from genetically engineered ingredients and to not taking shortcuts s to be kosher). Number eight was lifnim mishurant ha din system that is beyond kashrut, that is beyond just, that is beyond healthy. Lastly there was feeding the hungry based on Torah (gleanin gs of the field for the poor and donating ten percent of a harvest to the poor) and concepts of tzeddek and the final ethic was shmirat haguf We see here many of the same motivating values, concerns, and teachings from th e Jewish tradition that influence and shape Jewish religious agrarianism. Many of these values emerged in my own research and were shared in chapter four review. These Jewish concept s of justice, the teachings and laws from To rah and the r ab binic tradition, and the agricultural bedrock of the early Jewish identity all contribute to the formation of an emergent Jewish agrarianism in North America of which Hazon is the leading voice As Fine put it and us being here [at the Food Conference] together is one of the reasons. When looking back

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283 Evidence of the interlocking concerns for locality, health, and justice are also becoming increasingly abundant in various Christian settings, and not only at permaculture trainings held at Koinonia. For example, the Lake Junaluska conference 2011 (Lake Junaluska is part of the Uni ted Methodist Church). This was an ecumenical conference (with an interfaith component) for Christians concerned about the state of Creation. One presentation topic was permaculture, and Zev Friedman -who also was a teacher at the 2010 training at Koinon ia -taught this module. This reflects the network links connecting agrarian activists and farmers. Other presentations addressed Sustainable Agriculture, Beyond the Basics in Greening your Church, Faith Principles of Creation Care, Creation Care and Pove rty, and Triaging the Train Wreck of Climate Change. 2 These various concerns are becoming more omnipresent across and within Christian denominational lines, supporting my overall argument that the subset of attractive to particular segments of North American religion. Furthermore, the attractiveness of the values relating to locality, health, and justice that permeate the religious agrarian worldview has specific consequences in the form of concrete sustain able agricultural practices Place/s, Boundaries, Resilience, and EcoPhenomenology New Futures for Religion As the practice of religion in North America continues to unfold in this century of growing climate destabilization (Hartsgaard 2011), issues of environmental and ecological health and trauma will become a more pronounced focus. This issue will 2 http://www.lakejunaluska.com/uploadedFiles/Lake_Junaluska/Upcoming_Events/Spirtual_Enrichment/ Caring_fo r_Creation/Caring for Creation.pdf Accessed Thursday, February 17 th 2011.

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284 come to dominate sermons, hermeneutics of a tradition, exegesis of sacred texts, and will present a challenge to orthodoxy and orthopraxy as seen in the above talk devoted As humans descend the other side of Peak Oil and are forced to live 1993), both their values and practices will change. The social constru ctionist and lived religion approaches to religion I utilize in this dissertation both expect such changes My research reveals that this process is already occurring, especially in regards to sustainable agrarian and sustainable food issues, and that th is process is greatly enhanced by memberships in lived networks. Values about the local, health, and justice motivate religious agrarians to participate in sustainable agriculture lifeways. These values are directly shaped and influenced by religion, and also by society, politics, participation in lived networks, and environmental science. I have found that segments of North American religion are indeed changing and reconstructing their values and beliefs in order to live out these emergent environmental ly centered values, at least in regards to sustainable food production and environmental agrarian mores. The fusion of religious environmentalist and ecological agrarian concerns within North American religious agrarian communities suggests that these c ommunities will continue to develop religious values and sensibilities that will take seriously the b iocapacity of local bioregions. Because the practice of sustainable agriculture ding a method of farming that can renew soil and society, the bio cultural construction of religious agrarianism will continue (Baker and W inkelman 2010). This process and these constructions will signal a continued shift upon the Nor th American religious landscape.

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285 American politics, business practices, interfaith interaction, and cleavages and debat es within traditions Religious agrarian s are at the forefront of this eff ort to put ecological agrarianism, sustainable agriculture, and religious teachings into lived practice. The vanguard theologies, affective emotions towards the earth via green cosmologies, and institutional practices of religious agrarians will influen ce religious ethics and thus the material environment in various ways. One important influence will be the way people of faith transform their relations to their local environments. Therefore, the key religious agrarian theme of locality will continue to grow in importance in the religious future. This is because of the importance local production of food will have in a post Peak Oil, cl imate destabilized future, where growing seasons will shift and the cost of petroleum products for both shipping and fe rtilizers will become cost prohibitive. So although our current lifeways are dependent upon abundant oil and stabilized weather patterns, the reality is that to place, both are complex, interdependent, and dynami c. Consequently, long term sustainable production solutions must adapt to local conditions both cultural and ecological to be suc 2006: 316). Religious agrarians are positioning themselves to be at the forefront of the role religion might play in local adaptation and long term sustainable food production solutions in this century of water, oil, and soil shortages and changing weather patterns. Such an increase in concern for and attention to locality, and how this will shap e religion, signals the re emergence of place. This re emergence also partly calls into question the possibility (desirability?) of a universal and universalized religion and

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286 religious narrative. Lo cality means healthy and just regional foods, regional f ood cultures, regional recipes, regional la ndscapes, and regional networks. It also mean s a more locally oriented religion. This localized religion will be a lived religion and be built menological realit 2011: are constitutive of networks themselves. Within and through networks, actors carve out spaces to dwell, itineraries, and everyday routines, drawing from religious symbols and tropes to reflect on and : 299). The spaces and everyday routines being carved out by North American religious agrarians via lived networks and the translation of values into practi ce are to be found in ranging from Koinonia to Adamah farm. Furthermore, the praxis of religious agrarianism rests upon concepts of localism, health, and justice, and re sults in the sacralization of sustainable farmlands and built environments from compost piles to folding tables that support a CSA box waiting to be picked up to a pasture of free range cows. Religious localism also implies a religious environmentalism f used with ecophenomenology set into a landscape that will shape religious production and praxis. 2000: 5, 153) will invariably lead to local skills and local adaptation to local environments, something that religious agrarianism already is beginning to put into practice. This is seen, for example, in the following chain of ideas shared by Rabbi Hil lel during our conversation at CSI. When asked w hat it was about the CSA that appealed to some families Hey that speaks to me

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287 ethical choice wh ich can be made, which has profound impact beyond our own personal life. I think people are looking for choices they can make that have an impact [and] food is right up t people have taken in and really assimi lated the local food message that the long term health of the earth depends on having lots of farm who feed us and that we cannot sustain a model that every year je opardizes their very exis In fact, for Hillel, to join the CSA means that for him there is no risk and the worse case scenario is that there is a bad harvest of tomatoes. However, Hillel points out that everyone needs farmers to go out of business or my food is gone. Hillel also added that how a local farmer treats their soil is a motivator for Jews to A smaller farmer who is spec ifically dependent on a piece of land may be more likely to take better care of it. But again most economics term sustainable term vision and mind when the short term opportunity for profit is there [which is] why most of the economic mo del is a short term model [whereas] Hazon really stands for vision : its eaters coul

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288 This vision results in a system that is better for our personal ecology, better for the sustenance of the farmers and their families and the business which we depend food, I get good wonderful stuff, the farmer loses the incredible risk that he has to maintain, and spreads that out and spreads th th e environmentalism of it is both the extra icing on the cake and H illel argues for sprea ding risk and reward across local religious culinary, economic, and agricultural landscapes R eligio us institutions and individuals with vision can contribute to healthy and just local economies of scale and ecologies of health. For Hillel, this is a win win scenario for all involved, from local farmers to Jews who can put their environmental ethics and concerns about food into action. of the contemporary state of Jewish environmentalism. While he supports Ha zon and the CSA alliance with Sandhill Farm, he does not believe Jews have reached a critical mass with their commitment to environmentalism, whether local, national, or global. As he explained, when 60 to 70% of Jews [in a given town] have no connection to any kind doing a involved flocking in here b as long as the dollar is still king and industry still runs the world are not going to become environmentally concerned.

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289 Nonetheless, Greenbe rg is thankful for his active synagogue and thinks the Hazon for those people who are going to partake in this, for those people who feel connected to the tradition, this While both rabbis have realistic perceptions of environmental problems and solutions, they find hope and excitement in Jewish religious agrarianism. If such participation is indeed enriching for those involved, then there is little reason to believe this source of enrichment is going t o go away anytime soon. My research suggests that for urban Jews, friends network with and tell other friends about their experience joining a CSA so that more people join. Membership in a Hazon sponsored CSA where Tuv ups are held in synagogues help generate a rich sense of community that is center ed on both food and faith. Such an experience can help offset navigating urban shopping centers where fresh, organic food is either hard to find or is shipped from California. It also allows for a deepening of religious commitment and practice in regards to sustainable agriculture and religious environmentalist values. Christian agrarians share similar concerns about the importance of locality and the need to support farmers and to generate a just, sustainable economy that privileges the local. For some this importance is grounded in experiencing the local as being part of a divine creation. Sylvia Castle shared such a sentiment when she explained, rm

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290 Creator. And you feel part of that Creation. permaculture fields experience, she claims that this connection with creation is lost on many, many people in urban settings and the virtual world. And for many in those situations they long for this peac e a for a Christ centered religious agrarianism. Such seed sowing and transformation must be lo cal. It is a physi cal, spiritual, and therapeutic transformation. or at least witnessing it by walking the fields, emplaces a person within a localized environment that is a manifestation of the C reator. As Executive Director Lisa Jones Koinonia is following a calling to be faithful, sustainable stewards in a loving and just level, directly on their campus and in their immediate ecological surroundings. This call to act is both religio us a nd material. F or religious agrarians, these two domains cannot be separated I]n the extinction of agrarian practices we witness not only the loss of a way of life but the erosion of a cult ural sensibility that underst[ands] intimately and concr etel : 2) The i nter twining of religion and biological materialism, and the influence of this on dwelling perspective points to the fact

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291 except by being in that place, and to be in a place is to be in a position to perceive knowledge is of the localiti es in which the knowing subject lives. To live is to live locally, sey 1996: 18). Religious studies needs to take this insight seriously, for it underlines the importance of locality, in terms of recognizing all humans are embodied being s w ithin a landscape and a culture; and in terms of recognizing all humans need to consume calories. For religious agrarians, there is a more ethical way to obtain and consume calories, and the ethics of this p ath accept local limits, while they also support the effort to better know a local place. Such a shift in religious sensibilities at ever increasing levels is a major hallmark of the religious environmental present and continued future. This shift is al so built upon the growing recognition that our bodies (and our lived body is the material con dition of possibility for the place world while being itself a are connatural terms. The : 25). The attention to place culminates in cultu cultivate it to be responsible for it, to respond to it, to attend to it caringly. Where else but in particular plac : 34). This brings us back full circle to the very same views and sentiments of ecological agrarians and the life work of Wendell Berry. Religious agrarians help bridge the gap between a place based religious ethic and a concern for sustainable agriculture.

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292 This phenomenon is missed by literature on religious studies, religion in North America, and in food studies literature that attempt to explain support for sustainable agriculture in ways that discount religious values and identities. Locally based religions can help counter the n arratives that guide industrial agriculture, such as this claim by Kenneth Adams families of antibiotics, insecticides, fungicides, and weedicides, and other farm ending battle a gainst plant and animal diseases, insects, and the other dangers against which he must wage continual 1976: 88). This narrative has material implications on local soils and farm communities, not to mention the health of physical bodies. Agains insistent and formidable concern of agriculture, wherever it is taken seriously, is the distinct individuality of every farm, every field on every farm, every farm family, and ever y creature on every farm. Farming becomes a high art when farmers know and respect in their work the distinct individuality of their place and the neighborhood of cre 2005: 45). In this cosmology, God knows the feather on e very sparrow and the microbe in every ounce of soil. This cosmology also points to a religion of particularity that is grounded in a place and a culture of place. In the permaculture fields of Koinonia, and in the CSA partnership between CSI and Rivervie w Farm (facilitated by Hazon), and in similar settings the country over, such an emplaced cosmology of the soil is beginning to take root. Closing Arguments C oncern about food issues and environmental health is increasingly shaping relig ion in North America. This is occur ring at local, r egional, and national levels where

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293 t hrough lived networks, members and institutions of traditions are shaping their respective teachings and practices about locality, health, and justice This growth is not only occur ring within traditions, but across traditions so that interfaith concerns about and involvement in religious agrarianism are furthering the influence and impact of the religious agrarian worldview. This is seen for example in the recent on line publicatio n Repairing Eden: Sustainable, Healthy Food Opportunities for Religious Institutions (2009) If my analysis and argument is correct, then the following sensibilities shared by Daron both his interpretation and understanding of his own tradition, and of the iterative shaping of religion and farming will continue to gain in adherents. When asked why he thought religion is beginning to take seriously and engage with sus tainable agriculture concerns and especially Jewish religion, Joffe responded by alignment w like an evolution, so intertwined. I think religion grew out of agriculture in a lot of ways. Joffe and many others, sustainable agriculture, food, place, and religion combine to create an intertwined religious agrarianism that invests the local, health, and justice with political, social, and spiritual meanings. Although religious environmentalism is a recent phenomenon, it is increasing in embodies a predominately ethics based environmentalism, a stance which seems to be unique within the

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294 and Pulver 2009: 169). This movement of religion into environmental ethics finds some of its most vibrant expression and most committed engagement in environmental issues regarding sustainable agriculture. In this way, the translation of religious environmentalist values into embodied practice, grounde d within the places of emergent phenomenon in North American religions. As my research shows, a strong emphasis on caring for the earth is indeed already flourishing within lived networks of religious agrarians and their concerns for locality, health, and justice. most commonly and perhaps most powerfully in religion (Pet erson 2001: 19), th en narrative ethics based upon relationships to place and locality can be realized through religious teachings and practice. This movement is already underway in North American religions, as people of faith are develop ing narratives and ethics (or are ado pting existing ones) around sustainable food production and are couch ing these in religious frames. The result is a sophisticated interweaving of ecological agrarianism and religious belief and practice as has been explored and investigated in this disser tation.

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314 BIOGRAPHIC AL SKETCH earned his Master of Science from the Centre for Human Ecology in Edinburgh, Scotla nd in 2005, and his Bachelor of Arts in religious studies from the College of Charleston in December of 1997. He has also studied ecovillages, worked on organic farms, and has published chapters in a variety of scholarly books and articles and book review s in a variety of scholarly Journals.