Archives For Agriculture


[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”300″ identifier=”1640090959″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”207″]”This Kindly Working Love”
A Review of 

The Farm
Wendell Berry

Hardback: Counterpoint, 2018
Buy Now: [ [easyazon_link identifier=”1640090959″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ]
Reviewed by C. Christopher Smith
The newly released book The Farm by Wendell Berry is a worthwhile purchase simply for its beauty. A trade reprint of the hard-to-find letterpress edition by Kentucky’s Larkspur Press, this new book retains the elegance of the original in both its design and its monochrome drawings by Carolyn Whitesel.

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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333 identifier=”0316342262″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”218″]A Book About Us
A Review of

The Ground Beneath Us:
From the Oldest Cities to the Last Wilderness, What Dirt Tells Us About Who We Are
Paul Bogard

Hardcover: Little, Brown, 2017
Buy Now: [ [easyazon_link identifier=”0316342262″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ] [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B01GZY28PO” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ]

Reviewed by Sam Chamelin


Paul Bogard is all of us.

Well, most of us.  Bogard established himself as an important voice for environmental issues in his highly recognized The End of Night.  Bogard’s first book took us on a journey to the stars, or the lack thereof, highlighting the loss of genuine darkness in our LED-saturated culture, and how that shapes us and our environments. Bogard shows himself fluent in a variety of languages – science, technology, anthropology, and even theology.  In The Ground Beneath Us, Bogard continues honing and sharpening his multi-faceted voice, turning his attention to the soil with a similar literary recipe. The Ground Beneath Us is a well-paced, diverse exploration of the various grounds that humans trod, from the paved surfaces of Manhattan to the thawing tundra of Alaska, both in how we have shaped these grounds, and how the ground shapes us.

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Wendell Berry

Today is the 80th birthday of Kentucky farmer/writer Wendell Berry!

I realize that there is some irony in doing this (Berry was, after all, the man who stood firm and penned “Why I am not going to buy a computer“), but to commemorate the occasion we offer the Top 10 online recordings of Berry to date. These recordings, some brief and some long, serve as a wonderful guide to the breadth and depth of Wendell Berry’s work: fiction, poetry, technology, community, land, etc., all the great genres and themes in which he has written.

***  [easyazon_link cloaking=”default” keywords=”Wendell Berry” localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Books by Wendell Berry[/easyazon_link]  |  [easyazon_link cloaking=”default” keywords=”Wendell Berry Poems” localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Poetry[/easyazon_link]   |  [easyazon_link cloaking=”default” keywords=”Wendell Berry Novel” localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Fiction[/easyazon_link]  ***

Hope you enjoy these recordings!

#10 – On Online Community

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[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”B00CLCUIT8″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”107″ alt=”Book Giveaway” ]Our Latest Book Giveaway…


We’re giving away 3 copies of  Ragan Sutterfield’s new book
Cultivating Reality: How the Soil Might Save Us.
Each winner will also receive a copy of Ragan’s 2010 book Farming As A Spiritual Discipline.

[ Read an excerpt of Cultivating Reality … ]

May 6-8 are Rogation Days. This church holiday, introduced in 470 AD, is a special period of asking (rogare means “to ask” in Latin) during the three days leading up to the Feast of the Ascension.  It has long been a tradition in the church for farmers to have their crops blessed during these days and to pray for a good growing season. 

To celebrate Rogation Days, we will be giving away a set of Ragan’s two books on each day. Readers who enter on May 6th or 7th will be eligible to win on the subsequent days of the contest.

**** If you don’t want to take your chances, you can get the book from the publisher at a 20% discount


Enter now to win (It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!) :


1) Receive our free weekly online edition via email – or – LIKE our Facebook page (LGT: More info… )


2) Post the following message on your blog, Facebook Page, or on Twitter:

I just entered to win two books by Ragan Sutterfield from @ERBks! You can too:


3) Leave a comment below noting which option you chose for #1 **and** a link to your post for #2 before 11:59PM PT on Wednesday May 8, 2013.
(Leaving a comment is essential as we will draw the giveaway winners from among the comments left.)


We will draw the winner at random after each day of Book Giveaway ends, and will notify them ASAP.


[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”B00CLCUIT8″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”107″ alt=”Ragan Sutterfield” ]An excerpt from Ragan Sutterfield’s new book:

Cultivating Reality: How the Soil Might Save Us

Paperback: Cascade Books, 2013.
Buy now: [ Cascade Books – 20% Discount ] [ [easyazon-link asin=”B00CLCUIT8″ locale=”us”]Kindle[/easyazon-link] ]

Watch for our review in our next print issue…  (Subscribe now!)

We’ll be giving away 3 copies of this book (and Ragan’s earlier book Farming as a Spirtual Discipline) for the next 3 days!Stay tuned…


Ragan Sutterfield – Cultivating Reality [Excerpt]

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The Best Agrarian Books
ERB Playlist #2
Compiled by Ragan Sutterfield

This is the second in an on-going series of “playlists,” in which we recommend books around a particular theme.

“Making a mixtape (or playlist) is the opposite of indifferent. It’s heartfelt, purposeful — often a subtle form of flirtation. … [The playlist] is a way of making yourself known, an interpersonal form of show business, of making news, of replicating sounds and words you find important. It’s like poetry, because poetry is what you can’t say in any other way.”
– David Dark, The Sacredness of Questioning Everything
(Our 2009 Book of the Year. Read our Review…)

*** Watch for more ERB playlists in the coming weeks and months, and for a forthcoming essay on playlists as a way of doing theology.

[ Previous Playlist – #1 St. Francis ]

The Best Agrarian Books - Wendell Berry“Agrarianism,” Wendell Berry once said, “is a habit of mind.” This habit of mind “is not so much a philosophy as a practice, an attitude, a loyalty and a passion – all based in close connection with the land. It results in a sound local economy in which producers and consumers are neighbors and in which nature herself becomes the standard for work and production.”  This way of thinking, this standard of living is one I’ve been trying to understand as a lived reality for over a decade now. Through this time and work I’ve collected a large number of books that have been my guides, many on the side of theory, several on the side of practice.  Here I want to offer a list, by no means comprehensive, of a few of the books I’ve found most helpful.

The One Book

Wendell Berry’s The Unsettling of America is perhaps the most important book of contemporary agrarianism.  Without Wendell Berry agrarianism as it stands would not exist and this book set the stage for everything that came after in Berry’s work.  If someone asks me for one book to read on agrarianism, this is the one I recommend not only because it covers so much ground with so much wisdom, but also because if you The Unsettling of America you will inevitably want to read more.

The Classics

Contemporary agrarianism didn’t come from no-where—there are a host of writers who formed the groundwork for contemporary discussions and returning to these writers it is amazing how prescient some of their arguments are.  The agrarian classics I’d put on a must read list include Tree Crops by J. Russell Smith, Farmers of Forty Centuries by F.H. King ( get a free ebook edition when you sign up for the weekly ERB email digest), The Soil and Health by Sir Albert Howard, and The Holy Earth by Liberty Hyde Bailey.

The Books I Go Back To

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Breaking Through Concrete - D Hanson, E MartyAn excerpt from

Breaking Through Concrete: Building An Urban Farm Revival.

David Hanson / Edwin Marty

Hardback: U of California Press.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Watch for our feature review by Alden Bass later this week…

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Putting in the Seed
Robert Frost

You come to fetch me from my work to-night
When supper’s on the table, and we’ll see Continue Reading…


“For Farmers, For Landowners,
For Citizens and Neighbors

A review of
??American Georgics:
Writings on Farming, Culture and the Land
Brian Donahue, Sara Gregg, Edwin Hagenstein, eds.

Review by Rachel Reynolds Luster.

American GeorgicsAmerican Georgics:
Writings on Farming, Culture and the Land
Brian Donahue, Sara Gregg, Edwin Hagenstein, eds.
Hardback: Yale UP, 2011.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

American Georgics: Writing on Farming, Culture, and the Land, offers readers a concise and well-heeled collection of agrarian thought and writings from the founding of our Republic through the current wave, including speeches, essays, excerpts from novels, and poems. The writings in this volume trace the evolution of “the economic, political, social, and ecological dimensions of agrarianism” (372). Some of the authors will be most familiar to readers of agrarian writing including James Madison, Henry David Thoreau, and Wendell Berry; others, such as Jesse Buell, Louisa May Alcott, and Nate Shaw (Ned Cobb), will come as delightful surprises. The collection is rich in many ways but one of its greatest strength comes from the variety of perspectives offered but perhaps the most striking aspect of reading American Georgics is its undeniable relevance to our current political, economic, and agricultural moment.

Editors, Edwin C. Hagenstein, Sara M. Gregg, and Brian Donahue present the pieces in a fairly linear and chronological fashion beginning with the development of our nation’s identity and governance, and passing in turn through a burgeoning industrial economy, American Romanticism of the mid-nineteenth century, the advent of industrial agriculture, regional agrarian movements of the early to mid-twentieth century, and other back-to-the-land movements that would follow, and on through the current zeitgeist of locavores, school gardens, urban farmers, and the gourmetism of real food. The book is laid out in seven sections following these themes, introduced by a thoughtful essay on the grouping, and then each individual piece is preceded by a contextual biography of the author.

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A Brief Review of

Fields of Learning:
The Student Farm Movement in North America.
Laura Sayre and Sean Clark, eds.
Hardback: The University Press of Kentucky, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Amazon – Kindle ]

Reviewed by Sarah Winfrey.

It sounds almost idyllic: students stream out of classes, where they’ve worked and wracked their brains studying everything from math and science to English and Spanish, and head straight for the fields, where they use their hands and lithe young bodies to coax produce out of the ground. Add to this picture an image of these same students sitting down, several hours later, to a meal featuring the fruits of their labors, and you have what many people think of when they bother to think of a student farm at all.

However, as usual, the idyllic picture doesn’t tell the whole story, and that’s where Fields of Learning comes in, to fill in the gaps. Much goes on behind the scenes of a student farm and this book touches on everything from funding a farm to what it takes to start one to practical aspects of integrating what goes on with the farm into the rest of an institution’s curriculum. It will mostly interest those who have been part of a student farm (whether as student, faculty, staff, or in another role) or those who are looking to start one, though those focusing on educational trends will find information of value, too.

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