Celebrate Earth Day and the Culture of the Land

Springtime is here, and that brings Earth Day- one of our favorite holidays around the office! Whether you celebrate by planting a tree or garden, taking a walk, turning out the lights for an hour or two, or just recommitting yourself to doing all the little things you can to help preserve our planet’s ecosystems, The University Press of Kentucky has some great books that can inspire your Earth-love.

The following books come from our Culture of the Land series, edited by Norman Wirzba, and is devoted to the exploration and articulation of a new agrarianism that considers the health of habitats and human communities together. Far from being a naive call to return to the land, the books show how agrarian insights and responsibilities can be worked out in diverse fields of learning and living: history, politics, economics, literature, philosophy, urban planning, education, and public policy. Agrarianism is a comprehensive worldview that, unlike other forms of environmentalism that often presuppose an antagonistic relationship between wilderness and civilization, appreciates the intimate and practical connections that exist between humans and the earth.

A full listing of the titles in the Culture of the Land series can be found here.

Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: Essays from a Farmer Philosopher documents Kirschenmann’s evolution and his lifelong contributions to the new agrarianism in a collection of his greatest writings on farming, philosophy, and sustainability.

“Fred Kirschenmann may not be as well known as Wendell Berry or Wes Jackson, America’s other indispensable farmer-philosophers, but the publication of this superb collection of essays should fix that. These essays make clear to all what some of us have long known: that Fred is one of the wisest, sanest, most practical, and most trusted voices in the movement to reform the American food system.”–Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

In From the Farm to the Table, over forty farm families from America’s heartland detail the practices and values that relate to their land, work, and communities. Their stories reveal that those who make their living in agriculture–despite stereotypes of provincialism perpetuated by the media–are savvy to the influence of world politics on local issues.

“Rural America is not somehow ‘behind us,’ a part of a past that is no longer central to our lives. For all of us, Holthaus shows, the thinking of rural people is relevant to the well-being of the nation and far more complex than we have realized. This book provides fresh insight into what is going on in the rural countryside and what farmers themselves have thought about those changes.” –Donald Worster, author of Nature’s Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas

Coming in Fall 2011:

The costs of industrial agriculture are astonishing in terms of damage to the environment, human health, animal suffering, and social equity, and the situation demands that we expand our ecological imagination to meet this crisis. In response to growing dissatisfaction with the existing food system, farmers and consumers are creating alternate models of production and consumption that are both sustainable and equitable. Growing Stories from India demonstrates that conventional agribusiness is only one of many options and engages the work of modern agrarian luminaries to explore how alternative agricultural methods can be implemented.

“This book is highly significant for its stunning cross-cultural leaps that work. Sanford’s call to environmentalists to turn their minds from wilderness to agriculture is of enduring significance.”—Ann Grodzins Gold, author of In the Time of Trees and Sorrows: Nature, Power, and Memory in Rajasthan

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