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Cultivating An Ecological Conscience

Essays from a Farmer Philosopher

List Price: $18.95

August 30, 2011 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 416 Pages | ISBN 9781582437521
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“These essays make clear to all what some of us have long known: that Fred is one of the wisest, sanest, most practical, and most trusted voices in the movement to reform the American food system.” —Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

For more than thirty years, Frederick Kirschenmann has explored the ethical and practical principles of sustainable agriculture. An accomplished theologian, philosopher, and third-generation farmer, Kirschenmann is a dynamic leading voice in the dialogue about the challenges of modern agriculture.

Cultivating an Ecological Conscience follows Kirschenmann’s personal and professional evolution as a lifelong proponent of new agrarianism. Together with agricultural economist Constance L. Falk, Kirschenmann has compiled a collection of his essential writings on farming, philosophy, and sustainability. In this fascinating blend of personal history, philosophical discourse, spiritual ruminations, and practical advice, Kirschenmann shares candid, valuable insights about the agricultural challenges facing the modern world and the necessity of achieving ecologically sound and responsible stewardship of the land.

This rich book follows the development of Kirschenmann’s long and distinguished career, from childhood lessons learned on the family farm to his inventive approaches for addressing contemporary agrarian issues. More than a mere retrospective, these these essays serve as an introduction to the life and wok of an extraordinary agricultural thinker.

FREDERICK KIRSCHENMANN is a Distinguished Fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Ames, Iowa, and president of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture at Pocantico Hills, New York, has published essays in many books, including Agroecosystems Analysis, Farm Aid: A Song For America, and Sustainable Agroecosystem Management.

CONSTANCE L. FALK (editor) lives in New Mexico.


“Fred Kirschenmann may not be as well known as Wendell Berry or Wes Jackson, America’s other indispensable farmer-philosophers, but the publication of this superb collection of essays should fix that. These essays make clear to all what some of us have long known: that Fred is one of the wisest, sanest, most practical, and most trusted voices in the movement to reform the American food system.” —Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

“There’s almost nobody in America more entitled to write about farming than Fred Kirschenmann. We’re past the moment when agriculture was something we could forget about—in a warming world, there’s no more crucial topic, and here’s the short course in how to think about it!” —Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

“Fred Kirschenmann is a rare seasoned elder, always ready to display good sense on matters agricultural, cultural, historical, ecological, religious, and more. Who among us can match his experience, gained from a combination of work in the academic world plus another successful life at work on his North Dakota farm?” —Wes Jackson, president of The Land Institute and author of Consulting the Genius of the Place: An Ecological Approach to a New Agriculture

“Fred Kirschenmann’s life and thought lie in the fertile and practical intersection of theology, farming, and science. He is a practitioner, thinker, and visionary of extraordinary power. This collection is immensely valuable as a collection of his writings, but even more so as a portrait of the possible union of ethics and agriculture as the foundation for a durable relation to the land.” —David W. Orr, author of Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect

“I have been reading Fred Kirschenmann, learning from him and relying on him, for many years. He is a necessary man.” —Wendell Berry, author of Our Only World

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