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Posts Tagged ‘farming’

One example of how Christians are meeting this call [to sustain forms of economy, community, and culture that recognize the universality of the individual person] is Church Supported Agriculture (CSA), which creates a direct link between family farmers and local congregations. Rather than limit their economic activism to demanding that the state intervene in the market, local churches are creating alternative kinds of economic spaces in which they resist the abstractions of globalization by face-to-face encounters between producers and consumers. In the CSA model, family farmers — most of whom farm organically and practice environmentally sustainable methods — sell their produce directly through local congregations. Parishioners either buy individual products or buy a share of a farmer’s produce at the beginning of the season, thus helping share in the risks of farming. The church serves as a drop-off point for produce and a place for farmers and parishioners to meet. In this space, they avoid the middleman and they personalize the food. Food no longer comes from some anonymous distant place; rather, it comes from another particular human being, and the consumer enters into a relationship with that producer. In this encounter, the person is seen as another self and another Christ, the universal in the particular. (87)

William Cavanaugh, Being Consumed

Judson Memorial Church in Manhattan has started a community-supported agriculture program. (New York Times, Sep 20, 2009)

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A nice piece from New Raleigh :

Hands in the Dirt: Farming with Hilltop Organic Farms

People want to know where their food comes from, who grew it and how. When they meet Fred and understand that he puts his heart into every crop he produces, they feel better about feeding their families that food… Healthy food helps make a healthy community. And a thriving local business helps make a thriving local economy.

Hilltop’s website can be found here.

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Old Laertes

Laertes, who, they say no longer comes to the city now,
but away by himself in his own land
leads a hard life with an old woman to look after him,
who serves him his victuals and drink,
at times when weariness has befallen his body
from making his toilsome way
on the high ground of his vineyard.
(I.189-93)

Homer, Odyssey

victuals (vi’tl)
1. (Usually plural) food, provisions

[Middle English, from Old French vitaile, -aille, from Late Latin victualia, neuter plural of Latin victualis from victus food]

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At ex agricolis et viri fortissimi et milites strenuissimi gignuntur, maximeque pius quaestus stabilissimusque consequitur minimeque invidiosus, minimeque male cogitantes sunt qui in eo studio occupati sunt.

De Agri Cultura, Marcus Porcius Cato

“Farmers indeed in the early and middle Republic formed the vast majority of the Roman electorate. The earliest codification of Roman law, the Twelve Tables of the middle of the fifth century BC, already takes for granted the distinction between assiduus, the self-supporting freeholder, and the proletarius; Cato in the second century BC, and other writers after him, painted a no doubt idealized position of an early Rome composed of yeomen ever ready to defend their country, but the fact that service as a legionary was before 107 in principle a right and a duty of the assiduus alone makes it clear that early Rome was indeed a community of freeholders, for whom military service was as central an element of the citizenship as voting in the assembly. It is no accident that the variety of Roman assembly which elected the consuls was the people organized as an army.” (p. 29)

The Roman Republic, Michael Crawford
Harvard University Press.

yeo’man
(yo-), a noun. (pl. -men)
1. (historically) Person qualified by possessing free land of 40/- annual value to serve on juries, vote for knight of shire, etc.
2. ||Small landowner, farmer, person of middle class engaged in agriculture; || member of yeomanry force.

Hence yeo’manly, adjective

[Middle English yoman, yeman, probably = young man]

yeo’manry (yo-), a noun
Yeomen; || volunteer cavalry force raised from farmers etc.
[-ry]

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O farmers, abounding in good fortune, should they only
come to know their luck! For them, far from battle’s din the land
in its perfect fullness pours fourth spontaneous nourishment.
. . .
No public honor, no tyrant’s purple has swayed him,
no discord driven him to break faith with his brothers.
He is not distressed by wild tribes, allied in war, that sweep down
from the Danube nor by Roman policies that destroy
kingdoms. He neither pities the poor nor envies the rich.
He gathers the fruits that his boughs, that his will acres
readily yield and gives no thought to laws hard as iron,
the Forum’s insanity, and the hall of public records.
(Book II)

Publius Virgilius Maro, Georgics (Trans. Janet Lembke)

barrow

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And your face yet other work and caring for your vine,
for which you can never do enough. Every year the soil
must be turned over three or four times, and the clods broken up
with your two-pronged hoe reversed, and the whole arbor
stripped of leaves. Moving in great circles, work revisits
the farmer as the year wheels around its own tracks.
As soon as the vineyard drops its leaves in the fall,
and the frigid North Wind shakes summer’s beauty from the woods,
the passionate farmer extends his planning to the coming
year and attacks the dormant vine, cutting it back
with Saturn‘s curved pruning hook and trims it into shape.
Be the first to break up the earth, first to burn the cuttings
you’ve piled up, and first to store your support stakes in the shed.
Be the last to gather grapes. Twice, deep shade assaults your vines;
twice, weeds thick with thorny brambles overrun your vineyard.
Either task is hard work. Give praise to grand estates, but
farm one that’s modest. Still more, prickly shoots of butcher’s broom
throughout the woods and reeds on the riverbanks much be cut back;
dealing with wild willows will also keep you occupied.
Now the vines are bound, now leave off pruning the vineyard,
Now the very last vine-dresser sings the completed rows
You must still rake the soil, stirring up clouds of dust, and worry
that Jove may pummel your ripe grapes with hard rain. (Book II)

Publius Vergilius Maro, Georgics (Trans. Janet Lembke)

barrow

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The Georgics

The Georgics, Book One

by Publius Vergilius Maro


Ceres first arranged for mortal men to turn the earth

With iron at the time that acorns and arbutus berries

Failed in the sacred woods and holy oak groves supplied no food.

Soon, though, blight and weeds attacked the wheat – foul molds

Infected the stalks, and the useless thistle sent shock troops

Into the fields; the standing wheat dies, a rude forest of burs

And puncture vines springs up, poisonous darnel and

Sterile wild oats lord it over the once healthy furrows.

barrow

So, unless you pursue the weeds with a relentless hoe,

Scare off the birds with shouting, remove the shade from over-

Shadowed farmland with a pruning hook, and call down rain with prayers,

In vain, alas, you’ll stare at someone else’s heaps of grain

And relieve you own hunger by shaking oak trees in the woods.


Virgil’s Georgics, a New Verse Translation by Janet Lembke

© Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2005.

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