Follow Heaven on Earth Agrarian Road Trip

On Monday I listened to Dr. Ellen Davis talk about reading the bible from an agrarian perspective.  She was in Louisville to provide theological grounding for the Heaven on Earth Road Trip (HEART) to the US Social Forum.  HEART is sponsored by the Presbyterian Hunger Program.  Fifteen participants are traveling to visit with congregations and community groups who are participating in the grassroots sustainable and just food movement.  Follow HEART’s journey on the Food and Faith blog, which has links to HEART activities, photos, and blogs.

What stuck with me most from Ellen Davis’s talk was a thought from Wendell Berry – that to be an agrarian you need to know what it is to have just a little land.  In the US we thought that we had so much land that we could use it carelessly and never run out.  We’re starting to realize the devastating effects of this. 

Davis added that in biblical times, the Israelites did not have the luxury of ample and fertile soil.  The Israelites’ agricultural techniques and care for the earth reflected that.  Davis suggests that to be an agrarian you also need to be able to imagine what it would be like if your land loses its fertility.

In reflecting on this, I realized that most Americans likely don’t have a concept of the necessity of fertile land.  With our industrialized food system we have become so disconnected from farms that many people focus more on “convenient” food packaging than the importance of fertile land.  We have a lot to learn from reading the bible from an agrarian perspective.

To learn more about Dr. Ellen Davis and her book Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible, read this post on Food and Faith, the Presbyterian Hunger Program blog.

If you are excited about playing a role in the food system: getting to know your farmer, buying locally, planting your own food, and knowing what you are eating, follow HEART and learn about exciting programs around the country.

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