An Agrarian Vision: When Work and Place Jive

Wendell Berry says, “From an ecological and agrarian point of view, the most
urgent problem of agriculture, as of the human economy as a whole, is that of
local adaptation–that is to say, of making a beneficent and conserving fit
between work and place.”

This is from his forward of Ellen Davis’ 2009 book – Scripture, Culture, and
Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible
, which will be recommended
reading for all going on the Heaven on Earth Agrarian Road Trip

Ellen Davis, who will be providing a theological orientation at the beginning of the trip, clearly makes the case that local adaption is a scriptural and therefore
religious issue. Berry –

From an agrarian point of view, the Exodus was a movement from the flat, easily tillable land of Egypt to “the narrow and precariously balanced ecological
niche that is the hill country of ancient Judah and Samaria.” The people
of Israel had to re-make their economic life to conform to a landscape that
allowed “only the slightest margin for negligence, ignorance, or

The last in a series of questions he asks gets you imagining what might of
happened, but also what could we help happen?!

“What would America be now if we white people had managed to bring with us, not just a Holy Land spirituality, but also the elaborate land ethic, land reverence, and agrarian practice meant to safeguard the holiness of land?”

Berry takes the onus of the loss of agrarianism and the widespread destruction of the land off of the Bible itself. Instead it is how people have misunderstood and
wrongly applied the Bible. He concludes –

“Applied religion, without a local orientation and a local practice, can be as irresponsible, as dangerous, and as sloppy as modern science similarly

FukuokaFarm_Image11-11_400x268 The
important lessons in this book, if acted on, can be a remedy to such misapplication. Our hope, too, is that the Agrarian Road Trip will be a small part of reorienting
ourselves to the agrarian way, which was so foundational to the teachings of
the Bible.