Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 553–562

Re-Envisioning the Agrarian Ideal


DOI: 10.1007/s10806-011-9329-z

Cite this article as:
Thompson, P.B. J Agric Environ Ethics (2012) 25: 553. doi:10.1007/s10806-011-9329-z


Critics of The Agrarian Vision: Sustainability and Environmental Ethics (Lexington: 2010, University Press of Kentucky) have difficulties with its commitment to agrarian philosophy, and have also suggested that the program described there needs more elaboration of how sustainability might be pursued, especially in its social dimensions. The book draws upon agrarian philosophy to argue that habit and material practice are an appropriate and vital focus of ethics. Attention to habit and material practice will counterbalance an overemphasis on intentions and outcomes in contemporary environmental philosophy. It is in this sense that agrarianism contributes to an ethic of sustainability by showing how contemporary food practices—the culture of the table—might contribute to an enabling sense of community solidarity. The book does not advocate a return to once vibrant agrarian traditions.


EthicsPolitical theorySustainabilityFood policyCommunity

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.WK Kellogg Professor of Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics, Department of PhilosophyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA