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The Agrarian Vision: Sustainability and Environmental Ethics

by Paul B. Thompson

Availablecloth$40.00s 978-0-8131-2587-9
Availableweb pdf$40.00s 978-0-8131-7381-8
Availableepub$40.00s 978-0-8131-3980-7
Culture of the Land
336 pages  Pubdate: 07/30/2010  6 x 9 x .875  1 chart, 1 figure

As industry and technology proliferate in modern society, sustainability has jumped to the forefront of contemporary political and environmental discussions. The balance between progress and the earth’s ability to provide for its inhabitants grows increasingly precarious as we attempt to achieve sustainable development.

In The Agrarian Vision: Sustainability and Environmental Ethics, Paul B. Thompson articulates a new agrarian philosophy, emphasizing the vital role of agrarianism in modern agricultural practices. Thompson, a highly regarded voice in environmental philosophy, unites concepts of agrarian philosophy, political theory, and environmental ethics to illustrate the importance of creating and maintaining environmentally conscious communities. Thompson describes the evolution of agrarian values in America, following the path blazed by Thomas Jefferson, John Steinbeck, and Wendell Berry.

Providing a pragmatic approach to ecological responsibility and commitment, The Agrarian Vision is a significant, compelling argument for the practice of a reconfigured and expanded agrarianism in our efforts to support modern industrialized culture while also preserving the natural world.

Paul B. Thompson, the W. K. Kellogg Chair in Agricultural, Food, and Community Ethics at Michigan State University, is the author of numerous books including The Spirit of the Soil: Agriculture and Environmental Ethics.

“Paul Thompson has truly been an inspiration and mentor to all of us interested in ethics and agriculture. His many publications have provided a unique contribution to the history of American thought. This work on agrarianism provides us with yet another stellar analysis of an important ethical issue. The agrarian philosophy which Thompson articulates in this new analysis, probably his best book yet, provides us with a fresh, pragmatic approach to fulfilling our ecological responsibility whether we are farmers, policy makers, or eaters.”—Frederick L. Kirschenmann, Distinguished Fellow, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University, and president of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

“Thompson shows the centrality of agriculture and its communities not just to our livelihood, health, and security, but to the beauty and sense of place that unites us historically and politically. With this book he brings all the power of analytic philosophy to environmental ethics.”—Mark Sagoff, director of the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at the University of Maryland and author of The Economy of the Earth: Philosophy, Law, and the Environment

“A valuable and important synthesis of Thompson’s pioneering work in the philosophy of agriculture and the environment. This book makes a compelling case for the vitality of the agrarian tradition and its role in the search for sustainability in the twenty-first century.”—Ben A. Minteer, author of The Landscape of Reform: Civic Pragmatism and Environmental Thought in America

The Agrarian Vision takes us beyond the virtues of human-scale agriculture to examine the ethics of food linked to agricultural production. By enlarging his focus to food, Thompson illuminates the linkages between food and agriculture, rather than agriculture as a source of industrial inputs. By doing this, he deepens the discussion on sustainability to include the normative frame of agrarianism. Brilliantly written, The Agrarian Vision is a must read for those involved in the many strains of the sustainable movement.”—Cornelia Butler Flora, coauthor of Rural Communities: Legacy and Change

"Thompson's book shows just how much heavy spadework remains to be done for a full recupation of the agrarian ideal... [and] will be of use to anyone seeking to articulate a twenty-first century agrarian vision."--Agricultural History

"Thompson's The Agrarian Vision is a timely and major contribution to bridging the rapidly growing movements of sustainable agriculture and localization with the fields of environmental etheics and sustainanbility. Perhaps most compelling is its vision of how we can re-embed ourselves and out communites into patterns with a compelling moral vision that contributes constriuctively to sustainability." -- Daniel T. Spencer

"A timely and major contribution to bridging the rapidly growing movements of sustainable agriculture and localization with fields of environmental ethics and sustainability."--Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences

Paul Thompson has written a wise, important book for...a post-agrarian culture...The essays recollected and revised for The Agrarian Vision span Thompson's career. They bear the mark of a teacher, scholar, and public intellectual, not an ideologue. Thompson presents ideas clearly and generously. -- Roger Epp -- Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

While scholarly and rich, Thompson's book is also accessible and lively, illustrated more often than not by engaging stories and vivid examples. The more people who read--and enjoy--this book, the better our public dialogue about sustainability will be. -- Kristen Hessler -- Great Plains Research