My new book Deep Agroecology: Farms, Food, and Our Future is now available in both print and eBook editions.
A quarter of a century ago, I had the privilege of serving as National Coordinator for Earth Day USA. I partnered with the Seventh Generation Fund to help bring the Council Circles project and curriculum to hundreds of North American communities.
Now I’m happy to bring forward a book that again brings a council circle of wise voices together to offer native and agrarian wisdom ways forward for human beings and for our earth.
The way we tend the land that produces our food, and the way we eat, are the key factors in our physical, moral, and spiritual survival and development in this tumultuous era.
Elizabeth Wolf, my wife and partner, has played an indispensable role in bringing this book to life in a powerful and elegant way. I’ve dedicated the work to her, with love and appreciation. ~ S.M.
Both the print and the eBook editions of Deep Agroecology are now available through Amazon, and soon also through other sales outlets
The Ways We Farm and the Ways We Eat
Will Determine the Destiny of Life on Earth
While deep agroecology is new territory, it’s natural territory, not just for farmers, but for all people. Farms are the foundation of our civilizations, and that foundation is undergoing massive upheaval. We must be about building a new agrarian foundation that can support in a healthy, spiritually intelligent way the high-tech, digital waves of culture sweeping so profoundly around the world.
Farms and farmers can build that foundation, but only with the intelligent involvement and active support of people and communities who depend upon them for survival.
Table of Contents for Deep Agroecology
Chapter 1 Right Names
Chapter 2 Industrial Farms and Food
Chapter 3 Elements of Agroecology
Chapter 4 Webs of Light and Life
Chapter 5 Elements of Deep Agroecology
Chapter 6 This is the Holy Land
Chapter 7 Tierra Viva
Chapter 8 What Are Farms For?
About the Author
“Thank you, Steven McFadden, for rich and moving clarity, as you weave for us the many threads of ‘deep agroecology.’ The vision you capture is not a choice, for in this dire moment for our Earth, it is life’s only possibility forward.” ~ Frances Moore Lappé, author, Diet for a Small Planet and cofounder of Food First and the Small Planet Institute
“Deep Agroecology is an engaging encyclopedia of why ecological farming is the roadmap to human and planetary health. McFadden challenges us to work within the interconnectedness of all life. Concepts as far ranging as modern physics, microbiology, spirituality, and social networks are woven together, leaving the reader with a new world view. A must-read for students of the good food movement…It did change the way I perceive the world — in a way that didn’t leave me running for the hills (as the scientist in me often does when scientific and spiritual worlds merge).” – Linley Dixon, Ph.D., Associate Director, The Real Organic Project
“Steven McFadden uses the words of farmers, scientists, philosophers, and indigenous elders to convey a deeper concept of agroecology that cannot be coopted by corporate agribusiness…The future of humanity depends on our heeding the wisdom of deep agroecology.” – John Ikerd, agricultural economist and author of Crisis and Opportunity: Sustainability in American Agriculture.
“First of all, let me just say that it is such a pleasure to read your writing, and I cannot say that about many people. You actually know how to write, which in truth means to pour spirit and meaning into earthly language. Everything I read was beautiful and felt true…This book is a little gem and very much needed right now.” – Robert Karp, former Director Practical Farmers of Iowa, and the Biodynamic Association
“Your many ideas are like lovely jewels, strung together.” – Alice Bennet-Groh, Temple-Wilton Community Farm
“A transformation of agriculture practices is essential for a sustainable future. In this well researched book Steven McFadden provides compelling information that is required reading for those invested in a better future for the planet and humanity.” – John Thompson: Eco-psychologist and founder of The Nature Code
“Steven McFadden, in his Deep Agroecology: Farms, Food and Our Future, beckons the reader to wake up to the cries of our wounded planet and our suffering farms. If we cannot heal our farms, our civilization has no future. Steven offers a way forward, by blending indigenous agrarian wisdom with contemporary tools of sustainability. Deep Agroecoology implores us to put into action our love for the planet.” – John Peterson, The Real Dirt on Farmer John
Reviews of my other agrarian books
Farms of Tomorrow: Community Supported Farms, Farm Supported Communities
by Trauger Groh and Steven McFadden
Whole Earth Review on Farms of Tomorrow: “This is the best book to access the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement, including philosophical, spiritual, practical essays and how-to (including financial discussions). This is the source for tools, organizations, farms, and networks concerning the renewal of agriculture.”
The Call of the Land: An Agrarian Primer for the 21st Century
“This book is just terrific…McFadden is dealing with sacred science, the sort of wisdom we require for our survival.” —LARRY DOSSEY, M.D., author of Healing Words and The Extraordinary Healing Power of Ordinary Things
“The Call of the Land provides an incredibly thorough guide for all who are interested in discovering or further understanding the changes taking shape across the country. In this surprisingly compact book, the author manages to assemble a meticulous overview of the people, places, and concepts in what he coins the ‘Agrarian Renewal.’ You will be amazed by the diversity and vision embodied in the movement so thoroughly and vividly described by Steven McFadden.” —ANA SOFIA JOANES, director of the film FRESH
“The Call of the Land is an important and timely primer on a resurgent agrarianism taking place around the nation. As the challenges of the 21st Century begin to bear down, we can take solace, and find pragmatic solutions, in the back-to-the-land work of progressive farmers, ranchers, conservationists, and many others. Hope dwells in the grassroots. This book is a great guide on where to look.” — COURTNEY WHITE, Executive Director, the Quivira Coalition, author of Revolution on the Range: The Rise of a New Ranch in the American West
“The great value that The Call of the Land offers is the encouragement that comes from seeing what so many others are doing to revitalize America’s agrarian roots and branches…Steven McFadden has pointed the reader to hundreds of grassroots efforts to join, emulate or use as inspiration to plant our own gardens in whatever form makes the best sense for each of us. A hopeful work!” – DEBORAH MADISON, author of Local Flavors, Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers Markets, and Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
“In the face of widespread turmoil and resignation, The Call of the Land shows us that our hands, minds, and hearts, when used as one, are already healing ourselves and the planet earth. Author Steven McFadden reminds us that the seeds to a new future are being planted right now, that farms are meccas of cultural and ecological renewal, and that healthy agri-CULTURE is the sattvic incarnation of the Green Revolution. – FARMER JOHN PETERSON, Angelic Organics
“In this updated edition, Steven McFadden continues his significant work of identifying various agrarian projects where the vital link to nature is being restored. The Call of the Land serves as a valuable resource at a crucial, make-or-break juncture because there is just no ignoring Earth’s distress signals. “ – JULES DERVAES, Founder of the Urban Homesteading® Movement, Director of the film Homegrown Revolution
“We humans have lately entered into a collective techno-trance in which our primordial ties with land have been all but forgotten. Urban consumer lifestyles lead children to believe that food comes ultimately from the supermarket; that nature is merely something to be seen on dedicated cable channels. In reality, we are as dependent as ever on soil, water, weather, and biodiversity, even as we overuse, upset, and destroy these foundational elements of life. Steven McFadden helps us remember the essential, and points to the only sane path ahead–a profound emotional reconnection with the physical ground of being.” – RICHARD HEINBERG, Senior Fellow-in-Residence of the Post Carbon Institute, author of the Last Energy Crisis.
“It’s inspiring to read about all of the wonderful efforts Steven McFadden details in this book. With the dedication of Steven and all of us, we will achieve a future of healthful food, diverse farms and vibrant communities.” – TERESA OPHEIM, Executive Director, Practical Farmers of Iowa
“The Call of the Land will inspire you with page after page of innovative projects across the country that are having a positive impact on how we eat. Explore this comprehensive list of positive ideas and then implement them in your own community.” – INGRID KIRST, Community CROPS Executive Director, Lincoln, Nebraska
“McFadden’s call to action is clearly written and well referenced with a robust list of current websites and a bibliography for general reading on positive methods for resolving our food security challenge. Anyone interested in a good contemporary overview of challenges and solutions will find the book valuable.” —CHARLES FRANCIS, Director, Center for Sustainable Agricultural Systems, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
“The author has been a keen observer-participant of the agricultural scene for more than 30 years and has witnessed firsthand this revolution: those who grow and consume food are speedily awakening to the perils of industrialization of food production and finding new ways … to make ‘food with the farmer’s face on it’ the norm. With his research and interviews McFadden presents hundreds of new ideas and resources … all sound and all hopeful.” —WOODY WODRASKA, author of Deep Gardening
“McFadden has assembled a collection of information that promotes the growth of locally grown, sustainable food. The Call of the Land offers… a pathway toward a 21st-century paradigm shift that many feel will be necessary for sustainable, reliable, environmentally friendly food production in the future.” — CAROL EVANS LYNCH, Master Gardener, Nature’s Companion
“…Readers new to this movement sometimes struggle to identify a primer that is accessible and grounded in real-world examples. The Call of the Land lends itself as a tool for such readers, as it not only illustrates a foundational agrarian ethos historically argued by Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson, but it also outlines a variety of practical models and approaches to inform the practice of local food system development. — KIM L. NIEWOLNY and NANCY K. FRANZ, Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development
A future where we all become part of the farm organism: “The concepts of community supported agriculture (CSA) grab at the imagination: reconnect with the land and farmer, know exactly where your food is coming from, work toward self-sufficiency. Such a utopian vision clashes gloriously with the disconnected, “cocooning” lifestyle of many people.
“This textbook for the CSA movement, first published in 1990 and “revisited” in this volume published in 1997, lays out the philosophies and actions that brought CSAs into our awareness today. You might know a CSA farmer, and perhaps even are a CSA member. But unless you’re the farmer herself, or on an advisory board for a CSA, you probably have not considered many of the philosophical questions.
In half-a-dozen essays comprising a third of the book, questions are explored such as: Should farmers or the CSA own the land? How should farmers’ retirement be arranged? Should animals be part of the farm, and should meat be part of the CSA shares?
“Three basic rules of such holistic farming are offered: 1. Do not work too many hours (leave time for observation, reflection and meditation). 2. Buy for the farm as little as possible from the outside world. 3. Take all the initiative for your actions on the farm out of the realm of the spirit, not out of the realm of money.
“Part of the book consists of essays by CSA farmers on their own operations; many were written for the first volume and updated, so the trials of time can be seen. The final section contains blueprints for operating a CSA: how to get started, and how to buy and hold land. Samples from farms show budgets, marketing materials and typical share content. From philosophy to examples, Farms of Tomorrow Revisited shows us where the CSA concept could take society, and the movement’s limitations, especially in solving current agriculture issues.” – Bill T.