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Book Blog – Vol. 1: “The New Agrarianism,” Issue 1


I have two weeks until I start my third farm project which will be based in Northeast Ohio on George Jones Memorial Farm on the outskirts of Oberlin. In the meantime, I’m going to weave a book club style format into the blog posts starting with chapter commentaries from Eric Freyfogle’s book, The New Agrarianism. Instead of a book club though, I’m calling it a “book blog” 😉

Agrarian typically refers to the values upheld in land stewardship. And is often used to describe farm life and the practice of growing food. But with roots dating back to ancient China, agrarianism can been seen as a social movement to strengthen communities by developing a strong connection to the land and all it offers. The book, The New Agrarianism, is a collection of essays and short stories by some of today’s most prolific writers on the food movement including Wendell Berry, David Orr, Gene Logsdon and others.

Let’s start with Scott Russell Sanders‘ “The Common Life”…I’ll keep it short and sweet. My take away from Scott’s essay is we need to have a very deep appreciation and awareness for the land so much so that we feel it in our toes and the pit of our stomach. As he so colorfully describes, it is the same visceral feeling we get when a person we like looks over at us and smiles, when you get a hole-in-one, a cold shiver from a summer rain or the sound of a police siren. It goes deep! The love and respect for the land should go that deep. Scott says it best when, “Loggers would stop seeing every tree as lumber and developers would not see every acre as real estate.” He quotes Aldo Leopold who compared land to a community. A community is made of rocks, soil, water, plants, animals and…yes, humans. We’re all a part of one community!