Agrarianism and the Ethics of Eating
KeywordsGreen Revolution Environmental Ethic Shrimp Farm Shrimp Aquaculture Rural Society
“Agrarianism” refers to certain schools of thought and forms of life which regard farming and related vocations as exceptional in that farmers are independent, self-sufficient, and self-determining and work in step with nature, the local ecology, the seasons, etc. Independent yet attuned to their ecological setting, agrarian farmers think and act holistically. Working in and with nature, agrarian farmers view themselves as stewards of their ecological setting and who keep an eye on the environmental health of the area. To agrarians, city folks lead dependent, other-directed lives, artificial and out of step with nature. The agrarian life is built on trust, neighborliness, and cooperation, unlike the alienation and distrust of city life. Dwelling in stable communities, rural agrarians nurture a sense of personal identity that is rooted in place and local history and color. Moreover, Agrarianism regards tilling the soil, cultivating crops, raising livestock, producing food stuffs, etc., as transformative toils and virtue-engendering endeavors. Yes, farming is toilsome; however, agrarians deem that this very hardship engenders the farmer’s traits of determination, perseverance, and know-how. Agrarianism holds that such virtues are nurtured in farmers via their interactions with nature as they work to forge fecund order out of wilderness.
Why the continued relevance of Agrarianism? Humanity’s connection with terra firma is breaking up as people flock to the cities worldwide and increasingly lead artificial, disconnected lives. In the developed nations, the few remaining family farmers feel caught between global agribusiness and big food processers. Meanwhile, city dwellers have slight awareness of the source of their food, which they know as the packaged products on supermarket shelves. In the last half century, industrialized agriculture has rapidly introduced economies of scale and cheap food for consumers; however, this productive efficiency comes at a high cost to the environment. Synthetic chemicals, such as those used as pesticides and fertilizers, can certainly improve agricultural productivity – at least in the short term – but they can also have deleterious impacts on surrounding environments as pollutants of soil, water, and the atmosphere. They can also contaminate farm products too. The widespread use of antibiotics in intensive animal production has resulted in their loss of effectiveness for disease control not only in animals but also in humans. And then there is the matter of an often reduced attention to the welfare of the animals in the production units of industrial farms.
The ubiquitous rise of these phenomena is fueling new calls for Agrarianism and agrarian values. In recent decades, people have been returning to rural lifestyles or at least greening their urban settings.
Age-Old Agrarian Views and Virtues: Classical Antiquity
The agrarian life and virtues were esteemed in classical Greece and Rome. In Works and Days, the Greek bard Hesiod depicted the rural life. Works and Days celebrates the dignity, toil, and generosity of the farmer and teaches prudential morality. Toil steadfastly, incessantly! Grow your bounty step by step! Cooperate and share with thy neighbor; thy kindness shall be returned in kind! (Robinson 1968, pp. 20–21). Xenophon and Aristotle lent support to Hesiod’s agrarian virtues. In classical Rome, such writers as Cato, Pliny, and Cicero and poets as Horace and Virgil celebrated the agrarian life and values. Horace wrote poems set on his Sabine Farm or in a country town, which express the farm’s bounty, beauty, and proximity to nature. Virgil’s Georgics celebrates the piety of country life in sections on field crops, trees, livestock, and bees. Virgil offers didactic teachings about farming but with wider horizons. In the Georgics, he affirms moral tenets and philosophic views of wide import. Virgil’s farmer stands for broader humanity. For him, farming is the premier human activity across the world. Virgil laments the disappearing solitary farmer who worked his own land as a falling away of humanity from its core vocation.
In classical China, the Confucian virtues reflected the agrarian society but were the virtues of the feudal landlords rather than of those who tilled the soil. Thus, in Confucius’ Analects, rural folk question his wisdom and quixotic ideals. And, in the Mencius, followers of the school of Tillers (Nongjia) question Mencius’ separation of ruler and ruled, advocating a rural egalitarianism. The Tillers held that society was born with the development of farming and that healthy societies were grounded in humanity’s propensity to till the soil together.
The Tillers’ ideal of rulership was adopted from the agrarian sage, Shennong, renowned for identifying herbs, crop plants, and medicinal and poisonous plants and for teaching people how to farm. Hence, Tiller kings worked the fields alongside the people, while their queens wove fabrics and performed domestic tasks with the other women. The Tiller kings did not receive state funds but earned money from working their own fields. The Tillers disputed the Confucian notions of administrative elites and division of labor, arguing that egalitarianism and self-sufficiency were the proper grounds of a stable society. Disputing also the idea of stratified prices of basic goods, they insisted that food staples, regardless of quality or demand, should be sold at fixed prices to ensure fair distribution. A follower of the school of Tillers once told Duke Teng, “A worthy ruler feeds himself by plowing side by side with the people, and rules while cooking his own meals. Now Teng, to the contrary, possesses granaries and treasuries, so the ruler is in effect supporting himself by oppressing the people” (Lau 1970 100f; Graham 1979).
Physiocracy, an early economic theory that stressed land and agriculture, arose in the eighteenth-century France. Its leaders, Francois Quesnay and Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot, were influenced by Chinese agricultural policy. Quesnay advocated such a laissez-faire agrarian policy for France. The Physiocrats stressed rural labor and extractive industry, including grasslands, pastures, forests, mines, and fishing, as sources of national wealth. They saw the consumption of farm surplus as the basis of trade and industry, which themselves produce no net product. Naturalists, the Physiocrats believed that if the human order were brought into attunement with the natural order, society would be healthier. They not only stressed agriculture in economics but rejected the shallowness and artifice of urban life and praised natural living, especially as farmers.
Modern Western Agrarianism too held that wealth originates from the land and that farming is the foundation of other vocations. Modern Agrarianism drew on John Locke, who asserted that those who work the land should be its rightful owners in Second Treatise of Civil Government(1690). This labor theory of value influenced Thomas Jefferson who shaped how nineteenth-century American homesteaders viewed the ownership of their farms. In a letter to John Jay, Jefferson wrote, “Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, & they are tied to their country & wedded to its liberty & interests by the most lasting bonds” (1785; Jager 2004, 12).
Agrarianism was a leading theme in the eighteenth-century British georgic poetry. The poets Stephen Duck, Mary Collier, and Thomas Gray sang of the hardships as well as the virtues of farm life. They followed Horace in exploring the themes of town vs. country and the happy man, but Virgil’s Georgics held center stage for them as a model for expressing agrarian life and virtues poetically. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, European Romantics stressed the individual and viewed nature as a spiritual force. At a time when the wilderness was vanishing across Europe, they identified “nature” with the remaining mitigated wilderness of farm fields and woodlots. To the Romantics, farmers lived in touch with nature – positioned to experience moments of transcendence from the mundane world.
In eighteenth-century America, Agrarianism was espoused by Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Taylor of Carolina, and others. Mid-nineteenth-century voices included the transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. The next wave featured philosopher Josiah Royce, land reformer Henry George, botanist Liberty Hyde Bailey, writer Hamlin Garland, followed by the Southern Agrarians of the 1920s and 1930s, and novelist John Steinbeck. Volumes 3 and 5 of The Economic History of the United States cover the conditions and practices of agriculture in nineteenth-century America: The Farmer’s Age: Agriculture 1815–1860 by Paul W. Gates and The Farmer’s Last Frontier: Agriculture 1860–1897 by Fred A. Shannon.
a Southern way of life against… the prevailing way; and … agree[ing] that the best terms in which to represent the distinction are…, Agrarian versus Industrial…. Opposed to the industrial society is the Agrarian…. Technically, … an agrarian society is one in which agriculture is the leading vocation, whether for wealth, for pleasure, or for prestige--a form of labor that is pursued with intelligence and leisure, and that becomes the model to which the other forms approach as well as they may. But an agrarian regime will be secured readily enough where the superfluous industries are not allowed to rise against it. The theory of Agrarianism is that the culture of the soil is the best and most sensitive of vocations and that therefore it should have the economic preference and enlist the maximum number of workers. (Davidson et al. 2006)
Prominent agrarian voices in the mid-twentieth century include Aldo Leopold (1887–1944) and Rachel Carson (1907–1964). Leopold saw the farm ethically as a place of conservation. He believed that harm was done to ecosystems out of the farmer’s misguided sense of private ownership, which had eclipsed the idea of rural community. Following Thoreau, he expanded the idea of community to include the environment and the farm. Leopold wrote several essays and A Sand County Almanac (1949). Carson alerted the world to the environmental threat posed by DDT and other pesticides in Silent Spring (1962). She proposed using biological and ecological means of pest control. Silent Spring provoked debate over environmental ethics, government regulation of industry, and the appropriate uses of technology. Carson extended some of Leopold’s ideas about land ethics, such as human duties to the natural ecology.
Recent agrarian thinkers are dubbed “neo-Agrarians.” Prominent among them are Wendell Berry, J. Baird Callicott, Paul B. Thompson, Gene Logsdon, Eric Freyfogle, and others. They view the world through green tinted glasses. They espouse the old agrarian views while tackling new fields, such as biotechnology, environmental studies, and new technologies on the farm. Wendell Berry has written books, essays, and poems on farm life, rural community, connection to place, sustainable agriculture, etc. He is a public defender of agrarian values. J. Baird Callicott applies a Leopoldian ethic to the problem of global climate change. He advocates a multifaceted non-homocentric environmental ethic that accords with Leopold’s assertion that “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise” (Leopold 1949). In Callicott’s view, an effective environmental ethic must address real-life ecological concerns in a holistic way. Paul B. Thompson brings the tools of philosophic analysis and ethics to bear in examining the environmental significance of farming in books and articles, such as The Spirit of the Soil (1995). In The Agrarian Vision (Thompson 2012), he focuses on sustainability ethics and agrarian philosophy. In several books, Eric Freyfogle explores ways for humanity to live sustainably by responsibly attuning human activities and communities to the environment.
Neo-Agrarianism attempts to incorporate the agrarian values of other traditions, as well as new knowledge to deepen and broaden its view. The past offers lessons, but in the global village today, neo-Agrarians must adopt an inclusive vision for the future. In planning the new rural community, they must register twenty-first-century global trends and society yet stay committed to sustainable living. As humanity is a part of nature, neo-Agrarians constantly remind humanity of the need to integrate human activities with natural processes.
Signs of New Life
Despite the environmental challenges posed by industrial and corporate agriculture, there are signs of new and deepening agrarian awareness. In the developed world, there are biodynamic agriculture, permaculture, and growing demand for organic food sourcing, and in the developing world, there is an upsurge of peasant labor, rural women, youth, and indigenous peoples’ movements, which are autonomous, multicultural, and free of divisive ideological, political, and economic commitments. Such movements were inspired by the Chicano farm worker organizer César Chávez of the 1960s. The new farm labor movements emphasize peasant or family farming based on sustainable practices using local resources and following local traditions. Such peasant farmers draw on their heritage, utilize local resources, and produce organic food stuffs with few external inputs. Their production tends to be aimed locally for family and community consumption and domestic markets.
Biodynamic agriculture is inspired by the work of Rudolf Steiner, especially his insistence on maintaining (1) sustainable soil fertility and (2) the relationship between plant growth and cosmic rhythms. Biodynamic agriculture stresses a holistic, spiritual understanding of nature and human life and thus aims at self-sufficiency in compost, manure, and animal feed, with little minimal external and nonnatural input. The keynote of biodynamic landscaping is preservation of ecological diversity. Biodynamic methods are being adopted worldwide. For example, tea plantations in Darjeeling are retiring chemical fertilizers and returning to traditional worm compost, manure, and biodynamic floral preparations.
Permaculture involves the construction of sustainable human living spaces in keeping with local topography. It draws upon the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems in developing sustainable solutions to the problems of one’s living environment. It stresses cooperation with nature and care for the earth and people. Its holistic, integrated approach emphasizes contemplation and minimal impact. Permaculture regards human beings as nature’s kin, related to all life in the biosphere. It encourages people to revere the mystery of existence and approach nature with humility. Permaculturists propound ethical action principles, such as (1) conserve, use only what is needed; (2) stack functions, get multiple outputs from each element in the system; (3) repeat functions, meet each need variously; (4) reciprocate, use outputs of one element to meet needs of other elements in the system; (5) appropriate scale, make output match need scale; (6) diversify, use multiple elements to increase resilience; and (7) donate surplus, do not hoard.
Rural Trends in East Asia
In Postwar East Asia, land reform and land to the Tiller movements led to a resurgence of the independent farmer. In the 1950s, agriculturists from the United States visited various East Asian countries to teach the latest farming methods and introduce efficient, fair marketing. Following Thomas Jefferson, the Neo-Confucian thinker Xu Fuguan (1902–1982) argued that such independent farmers could serve as the pillar of democratic development in East Asia. However, following the success of land reform, cash-strapped regional governments took advantage of the surpluses created by the farmers to prime the well for industrialization, which in turn drew national attention and funds away from the farming sector. In consequence, the hearts of the next generation were set on elegant city life in modern industrial society. In recent decades, regional governments have started to realize the importance of the agriculture and food sector. Moreover, some people are beginning to return to the countryside for respite from the ubiquitous crowds, traffic, noise, and pollution of city life in East Asia.
Throughout East Asia, the age-old peasant societies have vanished, and rural societies have become less dependent on farming. Economic challenges have been pressing rural societies to diversify their economies. Dedicated farmers are increasingly in the minority. Even rural farm labor is in short supply. Though farm labor was abundant in the recent past, it is no longer easy to recruit farm hands. Rural occupations have diversified because farming cannot support the rural population. Additionally, rising farm operating costs are spearheaded by expensive farm machines, advanced seed, fertilizers, and pesticides as well as by the training and education needed for advanced farming. Living costs have risen, as well, due to new lifestyle trends introduced by globalization. Industrialization also pushes these changes in rural society, and urbanization is penetrating rural society through regional urban centers that relay global trends. To survive, regional rural communities have to be made more attractive to the youth. Local community leaders and boosters brainstorm not only about developing industries but about attracting new businesses to create work opportunities. Still, agriculture remains a key factor.
In Taiwan, joining the WTO caused several crises in the agricultural sector, primarily from the curtailment of rice subsidies and other price supports. Some farmers turned to raising niche and value-added crops to make up for higher overhead. A major innovation has been organic rice production. Over time, the organic farmers in Taiwan have come to appreciate the ethical dimension of their activity and now practice sustainable farming just because “it is the right thing.” In addition, enterprising farmers are sidestepping the traditional food marketing system, which favors the middleman, to establish their own brand names, even to deliver their products directly to consumers. Some even distribute catalogs; survey consumer satisfaction, needs, and requests; and inform customers about harvest and processing schedules. Japanese and South Korean farmers are being similarly proactive and innovative.
In China, while organic crop and range livestock production are being introduced, this development is fueled more by entrepreneurs with an eye to the bottom line than by dedicated farmers who love their vocation. The entrepreneurs’ mixed motives undermine consumer acceptance of Chinese organic certifications. Moreover, the ubiquitous soil and water contamination in China makes the organic crop and range livestock quests quixotic there.
The Green and Blue Revolutions
“Blue” has joined “green” as an environmental red button word. The idea of “blue revolution” recalls the green revolution of the 1960s and 1970s but refers to water in terms of fresh water supply and aquaculture. Fresh water supplies are dwindling due to a host of factors, such as melting glaciers, reduced rainfall, chemical and biological contamination of ground water as well as of lakes and rivers, accelerated desertification, etc. Fresh water supplies are dwindling just as human populations are soaring, and experts predict a huge impact to humanity and to the biosphere during the present century. Recent reports of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) warn that as fresh water supplies dwindle, the world will face massive human suffering in the forms of starvation, famine, migration, violence, and possibly warfare as nations fight to secure life-sustaining fresh water resources for their populations. In this respect, the blue revolution will include projects to increase world supplies of fresh water by a wide variety of means.
In recent decades, Indians have realized the importance of the green revolution for increasing agricultural output to overcome starvation, feed a soaring population, and improve the standard of living of rural people. Over time, it was found, however, that the green revolution had a serious impact on fresh water supplies. The experts had led the farmers to concentrate just on crop issues, especially crop output, and did not take a holistic approach and take into account local ecosystems. They tool piecemeal approaches to specific problems and completely neglected such collateral issues as the quality of fresh water supplies and the health of the environment. Many farmers still utilize this blinkered approach to farming, though it may erode the fertility of the land they farm. As people realize the danger posed by the dwindling fresh water supply, farmers are increasingly encouraged to take off their blinkers and think about their crop issues holistically in terms of the water/food/energy connection. The time has come to initiate a blue-green “turquoise revolution” that takes a holistic approach to challenges and risks of water as well as of land.
Fish and shrimp aquaculture have arisen as another a key facet of the blue revolution – that is, the effort to farm an array of aquatic species. As in the case of the green revolution, the blue revolution is touted as a way to feed the world’s hungry; however, blue revolution producers to date mostly aim at high-end seafood production for the affluent consumers rather than at mass seafood production to feed the poor.
While salmon and shrimp farms are most prominent forms of aquaculture, aquaculture includes a wide variety of operations, aquatic species, and management systems. Aquaculture is not limited to just one form of industry or set of operations, so it is difficult to manage or regulate. While there is constant interest in expanding aquaculture operations and production, new models of aquaculture development are needed which would be ecologically attuned, incorporate technical ecosystem design and ecological principles, and be adaptable to local environmental settings. Aquaculture on any scale makes a significant environmental impact, as does land agriculture. Future aquaculture operations must be ecologically friendly, that is, enhance natural fisheries, reclaim broken ecosystems and habitats, and offer a holistic vision of the coastal areas. With new forms of aquaculture development that incorporate environmental planning, humanity could become stewards rather than destroyers of the world’s coastal aquatic ecosystems. In short, to succeed, the blue revolution most must be greened and turn turquoise.
Some Problems with the Blue Revolution
Aquaculture is often touted as offering the promise of a blue revolution in fish production. Like agriculture’s successful green revolution, aquaculture is promoted as a way to increase food production from the sea. To date, however, industrial aquaculture has wrought serious environmental and social problems. As local ecosystems and species have been adversely impacted, indigenous coastal peoples have lost their food supplies, livelihoods, even their homes and cultures, to industrial aquaculture. Meanwhile, the affluent consumers of the fish products are unaware of the negative effects of farming the sea.
In recent decades, shrimp aquaculture has spawned long-term environmental and social problems, including degradation and loss of coastal resources, tainting of waters from nearby estuaries and coastal bays, and loss of fish breeding and nursery grounds to shrimp farm operations. The shrimp aquaculture farms disrupt coastal ecology. Precious mangrove forests and diverse ecosystems are cleared to make way for the farms. Crucial coastal habitats, including mudflats, sea grass beds, and coral reefs, are degraded or despoiled. And waterways and underground aquifers are increasingly contaminated due to the farms. Ironically, shrimp farming uses clean fresh water but causes water pollution, often fouling its own nest. The use of antibiotics, pesticides, and water additives, combined with pond residues of unused feed and waste, leads to disease and pond closures. Shrimp farms, like other forms of aquaculture, create risks of genetic contamination and reduced biodiversity. Accidental release of farm shrimp or fish can negatively impact the native species. Moreover, a key factor impacting local fisheries is selective catching of wild shrimp larvae to restock the shrimp farm ponds. As global fisheries decline, the shrimp fry fishery for aquaculture has a high bycatch rate of up to 20 lb of fish lost per pound of shrimp larvae caught. Vital habitats have been lost for fish, mollusks, and crustaceans, as well as for birds, migratory species, and endangered species near the shrimp farms.
In Asia, the average aquaculture farm lasts for only a few years before pollution and disease problems cause pond closures. Overstocking and overuse of feeds and water additives are practiced. The key problem is that shrimp farming is being conducted even though the technology is still in the R&D phase. Serious problems remain to be solved. The shrimp product itself contains health risks. The farmers’ use of antibiotics, pesticides, and feed additives raises serious questions for consumers. Some of the antibiotics used in shrimp farms are close to antibiotics used to treat human diseases. Due to public concern over health risks, Japan has identified over fifteen antibiotics used in shrimp farms and has banned shrimp products with these antibiotics.
The Ethics of Eating
People the world over are increasingly concerned about the rapidly expanding degradation of the environment and biosphere. And they are becoming aware of the environmental implications of farming operations and practices and, by extension, of their eating choices. Farming activities occupy up to 50 % of the earth’s land surface and exert serious impacts on the environment. Additionally, vast numbers of the world’s poor people farm marginal lands and waterways and in hard times turn to global charities to carry on. Global hunger and environmental ethics concerns thus intersect, as environmental degradation erodes the livelihood of the poor.
The sustainable agriculture movement took shape during the 1980s in the United States, connecting the rural economic crisis with the environmental problems of agrichemicals and soil pollution. Sustainable agriculture promotes farming practices that sustain local ecosystems and topsoil as a necessary alternative to the industrial farm model. It embraces not only environmental protection but social fairness by arguing for sustainable farming methods and for the well-being of farm hands and consumers. Social fairness includes economic equity for farm hands as well as access to basic food stuffs for the poor. A popular way to practice sustainability ethics is to buy locally grown food in season from the producer, for example, at farmer’s markets.
The local food movement advocates setting up locally based food economies that encourage sustainable food production to enhance the environmental and public health of a locale. It defends local economies by buying locally produced food products and services rather than those delivered by distant giant food companies. In short, the local food movement encourages consumption of local food stuffs and use of reliable short supply chains.
Local food systems are the key to implementing local food values. The concept of local food systems covers how food is produced and reaches consumers, as well as consumer food options. It includes the notions of food chain and food economy. Local food systems stand in stark contrast to the industrial corporate model of food systems wherein producers and consumers are often widely separated. Local food systems reflect close relationships between producers, retailers, and consumers in particular locales. The local food systems are nuclei working to ensure the ecological and social sustainability of local communities. “Local” in this discourse is measured in geographic distance but is also understood in terms of basic ecological units demarcated by climate, soil, watershed species, and local agriculture practices. These units are called ecoregions or foodsheds, that is, locales where food is produced and consumed.
Why should people eat locally? A community supported agriculture system enables consumers to support local farmers; obtain fresher, healthier food; and better understand how the food is grown. Local eating also fosters relationships between farmers and consumers. Shopping at farmers markets often features health sessions, dissemination of information, and a space for community engagement. Local farmers’ markets build community sociability and maintain local traditions while creating unique senses of community. Locally grown goods do not need to be transported cross-country or constantly cooled in large refrigeration units. Besides, locally grown foods are better because of the farms’ smaller size. Local farms produce far less waste in quantity and concentration than do factory farms, which seriously pollute the surrounding air, land, and waterways. Locally grown foods support free-range or pasture-grazing farming methods, decreasing the need for factory farms, with the accompanying waste and its effects on surrounding areas.
With the rapidly increasing world population, efficiency is crucial to reducing the widespread malnutrition today. In this respect, the questionable effectiveness of a local food system is challenged for reduced productivity per farmer that might result in decreased food supply as well as the need for agricultural expansion into new lands. Such expansion, a major contributor to global deforestation, is a huge problem, especially in regard to greenhouse gases and biodiversity. Further research on the difficulties of implementing local food systems is needed to find ways to avoid these side effects associated with small farm production.
In closing, the question arises, why Agrarianism today? Humanity’s connection with the living earth is breaking up as people flock to the cities to lead artificial, disconnected lives. In the developed nations, the few remaining family farmers feel caught between giant global agribusiness and big food processers and retailers. Meanwhile, city dwellers have passing awareness of the source of their food, which they recognize as the packaged products on supermarket shelves. In the last half century, industrialized agriculture introduced economies of scale and delivered cheap food for consumers; however, this productive efficiency comes at a high cost to the environment. Moreover, industrial farm operators often neglect livestock welfare and depend on dangerous chemicals, which damage ecosystems and contaminate soil, water, and even food. The ubiquitous rise of such phenomena is fueling new calls for Agrarianism and agrarian values. And, in recent decades, people have begun to rediscover rural lifestyles or at least green their urban settings. This is important, for the survival of humanity will depend on people’s acceptance of sustainable agrarian values and practices to reduce climate change and restore the health and well-being of Mother Nature on whom human life depends.
- Berry, W. (1977). The unsettling of America: Culture and agriculture. San Francisco: Sierra Club.Google Scholar
- Bowers, W. (1974). The country life movement in America. Port Washington: Kennikat Press.Google Scholar
- Callicott, J. B. (1987). Companion to a sand county almanac: Interpretive and critical essays. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
- Carlson, A. (2000). The new agrarian mind. New Brunswick: Transaction.Google Scholar
- Carson, R. (1962). Silent spring. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
- Charles, D. (2002). Lords of the harvest: Biotech, big money, and the future of food. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Davidson, J., et al. (2006). I’ll take my stand: The South and the Agrarian tradition (75th Anniversary ed.). Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.Google Scholar
- Edwards, E. (1943). Jefferson and agriculture: A sourcebook (Agriculture history series, Vol. 7). Washington, DC: USDA Bureau of Agricultural Economics.Google Scholar
- Emerson, R. W. (2000). Farming (1858). In B. Atkinson (Ed.), The essential writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson (pp. 671–681). New York: Modern Library Classics.Google Scholar
- Freyfogel, E. T. (2001). The new agrarianism: Land, culture, and the community of life. Washington: Island Press.Google Scholar
- Goldburg, R., & Triplett, T. (1997). Murky waters: Environmental effects of aquaculture in the United States. Washington, DC: Environmental Defense Fund.Google Scholar
- Goodrich, J. (1995). Rural life in eighteenth-century English poetry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Griswold, A. W. (1948). Farming and democracy. New York: Harcourt Brace.Google Scholar
- Hansen, V. (1995). The other Greeks: The family farm and the agrarian roots of western civilization. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
- Holmgren, D. (2002). Permaculture: Principles and pathways beyond sustainability. Hepburn: Holmgren Design Services.Google Scholar
- Horace. (1983). The odes (trans: Shepherd, W. D.). Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
- Jacob, J. C. (1997). New pioneers: The back-to-the-land movement and the search for a sustainable future. Philadelphia: Penn State University Press.Google Scholar
- Jager, R. 2004. The fate of family farming: variations on an American idea. Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England.Google Scholar
- Jung, L. S. (2004). Food for life: The spirituality and ethics of eating. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.Google Scholar
- Kupka-Hansen, P., et al. (1991). Marine aquaculture and the environment. Copenhagen: Nordic Council of Ministers.Google Scholar
- Lau, D. C. (1970). Mencius. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
- Lau, D. C. (1979). Confucius: The analects. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
- Leopold, A. (1949). A sand county almanac: And essays in conservation from Round River. Oxford: New York.Google Scholar
- Locke, J. (1690). In J.W. Gough (Ed.). The Second Treatise on Civil Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration. London: Blackwell Press.Google Scholar
- Major, W. (2011). Grounded vision: New agrarianism and the academy. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.Google Scholar
- McWilliams, J. (2010). Just food: Where locavores get it wrong and how we can truly eat responsibly. New York: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
- Meine, C. (1988). Aldo Leopold: His life and work. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
- Moe, J., & Svennevig, N. (1998). Holmenkollen guidelines for sustainable aquaculture. Trondheim: Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences.Google Scholar
- Pichaske, D. R. (1992). Late harvest. New York: Paragon House.Google Scholar
- Pollan, M. P. (2007). The omnivore’s dilemma: A natural history of four meals. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
- Robinson, J. M. (1968). An introduction to early Greek philosophy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
- Singer, P., & Mason, J. (2007). The ethics of what we eat: Why our food choices matter. Emmaus: Rodale Books.Google Scholar
- Strange, M. (1988). Family farming: A new economic vision. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
- Thompson, P. (1995). The spirit of the soil: Agriculture and environmental ethics. London: Routledge Books.Google Scholar
- Thompson, P., & Hilde, T. C. (Eds.). (2000). The agrarian roots of pragmatism. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.Google Scholar
- Thoreau, H. D. (1992). “The bean field”, & “Baker farm”. In W. Rossi (Ed.), Walden and resistance to civil government (pp. 104–111, 135–140). New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
- Virgil. (1982). The georgics (trans: Wilinson, L. P.). Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
- Wilk, R. (Ed.). (2006). Fast food/slow food: The cultural economy of the global food system. Walnut Creek: Altamira Press.Google Scholar
- Wilson, D. (2001). Fateful harvest: The true story of a small town, a global industry, and a toxic secret. New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
- Wirzba, N. (2003). The essential agrarian reader: The future of culture, community, and the land. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky.Google Scholar