, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 165-167
Date: 12 Apr 2012

A. Whitney Sanford: Growing Stories from India: Religion and the Fate of Agriculture

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The hard lines that have been drawn between facts and values, humans and nature, science and religion, appear to be softening. The foundational work for this transformation was already laid by luminaries like Alfred North Whitehead, Michael Polanyi, Karl Popper, Gregory Bateson, Wendell Berry, and others. More recently Ellen Davis (Scripture, Culture and Agriculture) and Norman Wirzba (Food and Faith) have taken on the task of relating some of the perceived failures in our current food system to some of the biblical wisdom in ancient Judeo-Christian literature. And now we can add Whitney Sanford’s new book, Stories From India: Religion and the Fate of Agriculture to this list.

Whitney begins by pointing out that “scholars in religious studies and South Asian studies have become increasingly aware of the connections between human life and the environment, and, more recently, agriculture.” Using the narratives from these resources Whitney addresses two questions: “How does Hindu thought c