The Good Land Project - Extending Practical Charity to the Soil

Team Members/Contributors

Fred Bahnson Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy Contact Me

About this project grant for researchers

The Good Land Project is a proposal to both document the recent agrarian movement within American Christianity and share those stories with the wider church. Building on the four years I served as director of Anathoth Community Garden in Cedar Grove, NC (2005-2009) and my recent scholarly work writing about Christians and agriculture, my project seeks to answer concretely this question: given that God’s first command is to “till and keep” the garden of creation (Gen. 2:15), where do we find examples of communities who do this well? By gathering narratives of churches whose practical charity extends to the soil and sharing those stories with rural Methodist clergy across North Carolina, I hope to foster dialogue that will not only lead to a more robust Christian ethic of eating, but will also write a book describing “best practices” which any church can use as it began its own agrarian ministry. Beginning in January 2011, I will travel around the country, visiting six different agrarian religious communities and compiling their stories. I will collaborate with Jeremy Troxler, Director of the Thriving Rural Communities program at Duke Divinity School, Norman Wirzba, Research Professor of Ecology, Theology, and Rural Life at Duke, and over 130 rural Methodist clergy across North Carolina. Project dissemination will be three-fold: a) share stories through the Thriving Rural Communities website; b) present my research at two TRC meetings for rural Methodist clergy as well as co-lead a plenary session with Norman Wirzba at Duke’s annual Convocation on the Rural Church in August 2011, and c) begin work on a book about the agrarian movement within the church, devoting a chapter to each of the six model communities I plan to visit.

Image Title Year Type Contributor(s) Other Info
Making Peace With the Land: God's Call to Reconcile With Creation 2012 Book Norman R. Wirzba
Fred Bahnson
Soil and Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith 2013 Book Fred Bahnson