Vision Document Produced by the Soul of Agriculture project: Soul Of Agriculture: A Production Ethic For the 21st Century, Creating A New Vision Of Farming | 1998



SOUL OF AGRICULTURE……….. introduction

  • State of the Question
  • The Danger
  • A Fractured Soul
  • Our Response
  • The Strategy


First Task, Values

  • Basic Value
  • Goal Values
  • General Tool Values.
  • Specific Values
  • Those who do the work
  • Impacts on Animals and Other Living Systems
  • Values of Farmer to Fanner Relationships
  • Values in Community and Consumer Relationships

Second Task, Ethical Principles

  • Principles Which Secure the Ends of Agriculture
  • Principles Which Guide the Means of Agriculture
  • Farmers and Workers
  • Impacts on Animals and Other Living Systems
  • Farmer to Farmer Relations.
  • Farmer/Community Relations
  • Farmer/Consumer Relations

Third Task, Models

  • The Farm
  • Animals as Helpers
  • Farmers who Know and Care
  • Farm-Homes of Beauty
  • Organic as Delicious
  • The Markets and Communities

Fourth Task, Hard Questions and Actions

  • A call to Reflection First
  • Then A Call to Active Learning
  • Questions for Environmentalists and their Organizations
    • Active Learning and Trust Building
  • Questions for Farm Organization Leaders
    • Active Learning and Trust Building
  • Questions for Faith Community Leaders
    • Active Learning and Trust Building
  • Questions for Sustainable Agriculture
    • Active Learning and Trust Building



A Production Ethic for the 21st Century Introduction

Agricultural production touches everyone, not just farmers, processors, and distributors. Food security, environmental quality, human health, and animal well-being are directly impacted by the ways farmers raise and grow food and fiber in modern agricultural systems. Since the values of farm products are often judged by one criteria, the price they bring in the market place or the commodities’ market, ethical guidelines are needed to establish more comprehensive understandings of agriculture’s connection with the common good of society. The Soul of Agriculture project was initiated in 1997 by The Center for Respect of Life and Environment and The Humane Society of the United States to stimulate a national discussion about an ethical approach to agricultural production.

Since the Soul of Agriculture project is a process, it is vital that a wide spectrum of people contribute to the continued creation of an ethics statement. This is the second draft produced by the Soul of Agriculture project since its inception in March, 1997. The first draft, Vison Statement/Call to Action: Building a New Ethic of Production in Agriculture, resulted from a 3-day drafting meeting attended by over 20 farmers, faith community representatives, environmentalists, academics, and others who came together at a 3-day meeting in March, 1997. The first document was presented to over 200 participants at a Soul of Agriculture national conference held in Minneapolis, Minnesota in November, 1997. The present document, Creating a New Vision of Farming, reflects comments and suggestions by participants in the national conference and by many others who are interested in the project.

The Soul of Agriculture project is now well beyond the original sponsors and drafting committee. Several communities and organizations have held their own events to discuss the process and to provide input into the document.

Please take some time to provide input into the Soul of Agriculture process and draw others into the discussion. While each of us may have our unique perspectives, the Soul Agriculture is designed to reflect a national vision that is the step by step creation of many dedicated individuals.

If you wish to express your vision for the document and the process or you wish to hold a Soul of Agriculture event, please contact Roger Blobaum, Soul of Agriculture Coordinator, 3124 Patterson PI., NW, Washington, DC 20015. Phone: 202 537-0191; Fax: 202 537-0192.


State of the Question

Without visionary planning and courageous, cohesive action by the farming community and its supporters, where is the future of farming? If we struggle to avoid a disastrous future, what would more acceptable alternatives look like? What thinking, what planning, what praying, what courageous action must be done to achieve those alternatives? And which cohesive communities must do the work? It is to these questions we call you.

The Danger

We are all familiar with the dominant model of agriculture, which threatens to be the future of agriculture and to be the horror of many, both farmers and the public. It is agriculture of astonishing production with absurdly high hidden costs, intense concentration of ownership, mechanization of the relationships between humans, animals and the products of the soil, and alienation of food producers from consumers. It generates great wealth from the countryside and returns poverty and dispossession to farmers and workers, harm to nature, depopulation and disintegration of its communities, churches and civic organizations. It is industrial agriculture. Without our concerted thought and action, it is the future.

A Fractured Soul

Early in 1996, a group of us, farmers and others concerned about this future, were struck by a theme in Paul Thompson’s Spirit of the Soil: the industrial “paradigm” shores up its internal contradictions and excuses its external harms by appeals to ethical and religious ideals and traditional values of conventional agriculture. Hard-work, practicality, efficiency, prosperity as evidence of God’s favor, all these are colored as virtue beyond question, and are called upon as the very reason for the rush toward industrialization. These form the fractured soul of industrial agriculture, a source of inspiration which makes more bearable the stresses, the painful losses, the glaring economic contradictions and social alienation of industrial agriculture. Cobbled together as they are, these ethical and religious ideals have enduring and traditional appeal, which gives great strength and an illusion of rightness to a very sad future. This illusion is used to quiet objections both in agricultural communities and farm organizations and in the legislative chambers of this country.

Our Response

Since we cherish many of those same values and some of the ethical convictions, which have been pressed into the service of industrial agriculture, we are dismayed to see them appearing to work against the highest values we cherish. The agriculture they seem to support is heedlessly destructive of so much, which is good that we cannot passively accept the future they justify. We call you to join with us to conceive a new vision of farming. Let us begin the work toward a better future, which will embody the traditional values of abundant production of food and the use of responsible means in doing it. We need forms of farming which allow us to act according to the strongest ethical convictions which we have inherited from our families, our churches and our culture, and reward those who do the work with healthy and dignified lives.

The Strategy

Our first concern is how to do the work of creating a new vision. Through the many consultations and meetings of farmers and workers, farm, community and environmental organization leaders a long list of essential elements of a successful strategy have been suggested. They are all worthy of our attention. In no particular order, a few of them are:

  • Institutions which deny farmers the ability to make decisions are unaffected by the ethics of farmers. We need to change, remove, replace or work outside those institutions.
  • We cannot expect farmers to change to entirely untested forms of farming and marketing.
  • We need to gather success stories of innovations.
  • We cannot demand justice for farmers and deny it to farm-workers.
  • We cannot remain aloof from consumers or environmentalists and expect them to support needed changes.
  • And many other “thou shalt nots.”

An integral vision: It became clear that a long list of criticisms and warnings about the status quo and the future of industrial agriculture would soon degenerate into futile carping. We need a whole new vision of agriculture. The initial insight of Paul Thompson into the cobbled unity of the industrial paradigm is that it is dependent for its public force on the power of a moral rationalization parading as an ethic. Our new vision must have a strong, well thought-out and consistent moral core, its own soul, which will give our vision an internal vitality and a deserved public credibility.

We must deal with institutions and forces beyond the farm-gate and beyond the immediate relationships of suppliers, creditors, regulators and markets. But we feel that the first step is to reconstitute a consensus view of the soul of our new vision. Unlike the cobbled version of the industrial rationalization, ours must have an integrity and strength which will provide a foundation for all sorts of new institutions, relationships, policies and practices which will be the whole of the farming we seek. If farmers, workers, consumers, communities and environmentalists can agree on this foundation, a whole array of advantages will flow from it:

  • Establishing ethics based on clear visions and shared values
  • Reconciling the values of food production and respect for animals and environment
    • Unifying   previously separated groups and agendas; farmers, workers, rural communities, consumers and environmental groups
    • Clear, but broad and tolerant, direction in the search for and construction of new institutions
    • Recapturing the true values co-opted by industrial agriculture and putting them in a new setting
      • Obtaining the moral courage to face the inevitable stresses and uncertainties involved in innovation

Ethics Matter!

The most unavoidable reason to begin re-conceiving the soul of agriculture with the construction of a sound ethic is the centrality of a strong ethical principle. At the heart of industrial agriculture’s moral appeal and rationalization is the goal of abundant food and fiber for humans. Abundance in the service of human needs sounds so invincibly noble. Yet it is not that service, but the way of achieving it which threatens so many other human and natural values. A noble end still demands the responsible use of means! The ethical foundation of industrial agriculture is corrupted. Any alternative agriculture will need a foundation, but it must be one that returns a sense of responsible use of means to its purpose.

A New Way, A Renewed Ethics

We want to find another way. Thompson’s writing convinced us that this new way would have to be based on a more responsible ethics. It would respect the principle that “the end cannot justify the means”. The costs of the means do matter. It will respond to the common sense principle that if a means, a technology or an economic dogma, imposes great sacrifices, those sacrifices must be really required by a truly urgent end. It must be true that “there is no other way.” Farming does not need to destroy farm families, impoverish labor, abuse animals or poison the environment. There are many ways to do farming without such harms, but first we should reflect on what the outlines of a true farming ethics would be. Rationalizing bad practices and economics damaged the ethics of farming. Now we need a renewed ethics to be the foundation of good farming and of all the social institutions needed for good farming

Our Proposal: Four Tasks

We seek to engage all of you in clearly stating the values, which are the goals of agriculture, and values which are well or badly impacted by the choice of farming tools and policies. The final purpose is practical: A better agriculture. Hence we must:

  • Attain clarity and consensus on the goal-values of farming and on the values involved in the means used in farming.
    • Clearly state and attain consensus on the ethical principles which can protect those values.
    • Depict attractive real and potential examples of models, institutions and practices, which put those principles into action and make a better agriculture.
    • Face the painful questions that are obstacles to relevant groups and propose actions to restore trust and cultivate active learning between groups.

The Process

We will deal with each of the four points above in an exploratory fashion in order to provide farm and other public groups a starting point or framework for guiding their deliberations toward an active and practical ethics and then toward the actual conceptualizing of the institutions which can embody the principles and protect and create the values which are their goals. What we provide is not our view of what the consensus on values, principles and new models or institutions should be. It is our view of the kind of work we need to do to express ethical guides and capture the future they can support.

 First Task, Values

Values are goods worth pursuing or protecting. Ethical principles are statements mandating or recommending the pursuit or preservation of values.1 Hence values must be considered first, then principles.

Basic Values: Among the values of agriculture there are first the unchanging basic goals of agriculture, the goods which agriculture directly produces: sufficient, sustainable and healthy food and fiber supplies. Then there are other basic values, which can be harmed or preserved by the choice of tools, practices and social institutions which define and limit its choice of tools. Examples are human dignity of labor, farmer well-being, beauty of the environment and animal welfare. In short, the values of the ends (goals) and the values impacted by the means (tools) of farming.

Goal Values: The productive goals of agriculture are so obvious that they seem not to need stating. But we encourage users of this document to reach a careful consensus on them. The satisfaction of essential human needs for food and fiber is what gives the fundamental undeniable nobility to the agricultural vocation. The maintenance of life itself contained in the goals of agriculture implies all sorts of qualifications and limitations on the means and other ends of agriculture. Powerful ethical imperatives grow out of connection of farming to life and health.

Sufficient: Many of the consultants in our deliberations so far have pointed out that “sufficient” food must mean accessible and affordable to all humans, and to all generations of humans.

Healthy means not just nutritious but delightful so that people will be enticed to eating what is healthful. “Healthy” also implies safe, non-toxic.

Sustainability has similar richness of meaning. But here it means the perpetual continuation of the end itself, namely sufficient healthy food and fiber supplies. Sustainability of the means of production is noted below.

This kind of reflection on the goals of production farming demonstrates how, in any vocation or profession, the first and controlling examination and choice of means must be goal based. Much current dissatisfaction in the medical profession is based on the experience among doctors that the means of making medical care available are beginning to degrade the quality of that care. Means are starting to take on a higher priority than the ends they are supposed to serve. A fundamental ethical absurdity! This has happened in agriculture, notably in the Third World.

General Tool Values:

Due to the obvious priority of the goals, the first values to be considered in the choice of tools, practices and institutions are those that are efficient in the use of resources, sustainable and safe. But each of you and your groups considering these values must examine the meaning of true efficiency, not neglecting resources which are limited but unpriced.2 Similarly the meaning of sustainability and safety must be elaborated and expressed in terms which fit local circumstances. These values may not be the first to consider in the order of time, since others more specific, such as the economic survival of the farmer, could be more urgent. But because their consistent neglect threatens the very purpose of farming, human life and health, they must never be absent from our new vision of farming. They are controlling values due to their unbreakable connection with the goals of agriculture.

Specific Tool Values: l.) Those who do the work It is intuitively obvious that tools are less important than their products, since they exist for their products. But the principal “tool” of farming is the labor of the farmer and farm worker. Humans cannot be treated as “tools” totally. Since they will not function well or consistently in a free society as producers if their human needs are not met with dignity, because in time, their values will come first. Almost any essential good needed in some modest proportion for a full human life is a legitimate value to consider. Since these are so many and so diverse, anything pretending to be a full list would be presumptuous. Moreover the reasonableness of expecting a farming way of life to provide them will differ sharply from place to place. Just the lists produced in our consultations would take pages. Our purpose here is simply to help in your deliberations by a classification that will help you identify important elements.

a.) Values without which farmers and workers will not work at all.

These include adequate family income, income security, health, and bearable levels of stress and many others depending on local conditions.

b.) Values without which they will not be able to farm with excellence.

These are the knowledge and caring which make excellence both possible and attractive. Under knowledge and promoting it are such values as long-term familiarity with soils, cropping systems, markets and weather of a given region. Under caring and promoting it are the rewards that come to families from the promise of long-term living in a safe, beautiful , and reliably productive environment. These values are all captured by local continuity of caring, intelligent personnel. The family farm is clearly one very natural form of this continuity, but others are possible.

2.) Impacts on Animals and Other Living Systems:

a.) Animals Caring, even love, for animals who serve human needs, like most forms of caring, is most commonly and naturally found in those who know and work with the animals. For others such caring may be a kind of abstract commitment. Effective knowing and caring for animals is clearly diluted as the scale of animal agriculture grows. It is not impossible to maintain it in very large operations, but it is increasingly difficult to make that caring effective. The inherent value which animals have and which we recognize even while accepting their appropriate use by humans

b.) Useful: The consultations and meetings of the Soul of Agriculture were laced with references to the need for cohesiveness among farmers in the pursuit of the new vision. The powerlessness of the isolated individual in the face of economic and policy forces is obvious. But the solidarity needed is not just political; it is as a source of helpfulness, of sharing of knowledge and skills, of mutual support with the uncertainties and risks of innovation and a foundation for certain cooperative farming practices.

4.) Values in Community and Consumer Relationships

In the scenarios below are depicted new ways in which farmers may reach their clientele. The underlying value of these innovations is clearly the very human pleasure in being appreciated for a good product, the outcome of one’s intelligence, labor and caring. It is another priceless value. But like friendship, it is a useful value in restoring consumer confidence and in giving a farmer guidance in reaching and securing a loyal market.

There is an equally pleasurable value in living in peace with one’s community. As a kind of friendship, it is both priceless and useful. By maintaining this value the mutual benefits and mutual sharing of burdens of farming activities and community needs between farmers and their communities are facilitated.

Integration of Values:

The values noted separately above are interlaced and mutually reinforcing. If one is significantly neglected, the others are likely to suffer. And they all share the coloring of friendship. Like friendship they cannot exist without deliberate cultivation by both sides in the relationship. Many of the innovations, both existing and imaginative, suggested at consultations were motivated by the desire to create or strengthen these values.

Second Task, Ethical Principles

Farmers and supporters of a new vision of farming need an explicit consensus statement of the ethical principles for the new vision. These principles serve, along with their values, as the “soul” of the new vision. The value of the explicit statement of this soul is laid out above. Ethics is the orderly and consistent expression of the principles and practices which can secure valued ends by good means.4 We attempt to make explicit from the wealth of implicit moral convictions of reasonable and mature humans5 some which apply to and secure the values of farming. Given the function of ethical principles to protect the highest values, a reasonable way to organize the following tentative list of principles is around the values toward which they are directed, following the order of the values as laid out above.

Principles lead to new structures. As collaborators in the Soul of Agriculture have pointed out, human and environmental values in farming are principally assaulted and principally defended not by naked ethical principles but by institutions and technologies. They said this to warn that our task will finally be to create new institutions and new or at least newly directed technologies. This is true because, when institutions and technologies are created in a fully conscious way and do not just is a value which in turn gives value to continuity of management and moderate scale in animal husbandry.

b.) Other living systems These, insects, plants, even soil micro flora and fauna, have intrinsic value also, but they are too mysterious for us to penetrate their inner lives. It is the stunning beauty of their individual outward structures and the harmony of their collective ecology, which bring us to our knees in admiration. This unity in diversity serves the ongoing vitality of nature, and serves humans too who recognize its potential. It is useful. But it is above all beautiful and it calls for a response of caring from the human heart. It is a value within which agriculture can be located in a non-destructive fashion and from whose fertile diversity it can learn. Our new vision of agriculture includes holding that value as both sacred and useful.

A comment here is appropriate. The Soul of Agriculture project has had the goal of involving sympathetic environmentally concerned members of the public in its work. The environmentalism of intelligent farmers and workers who, with their families, must live in the farming environment is a very reliable environmentalism of the heart, provided only that they have the means to practice it. Poverty and suffering in the farmers will lead to poverty and suffering in nature.3 They are often more personally and directly affected by environmental disasters in agriculture than any other group. If their identification with a local environment is secure and their ability to protect it is also secure, to that extent the environment will be secure. Given that they live on the land and know it, their intelligent caring can be relied on.

Without moving to the statement of ethical principles, these reflections already suggest a preferential value for forms of farm management which are local and of a human scale. To that extent they are also prima facie assumptions against any kind of “absentee management” whether by automation, centralization or plain neglect.

Many consultants pointed out that there are many ways of “living on the land” and that while landownership is a natural way to secure it, in today’s world it cannot be the only way. Some of these alternatives are discussed below. But the value of presence and intimacy with the land and environment would be common to these alternatives.

3.) Values of Farmer-to-Farmer Relationships.

a.) Sacred: Friendship is a sacred value, i.e. a good enjoyed for its own sake and not for some use to be made of it. Life is hardly worth living without it. But nothing prevents good friends from being useful to each other. Helpfulness, in fact, is the most natural and happy expression of the love we call friendship. In spite of its claim to some basic Judeo-Christian values, industrial agriculture contains among its contradictions a corrosive level of competition, which weakens friendship, instead of being a friendly stimulus toward excellence. It attacks one core value of the Judeo-Christian tradition, the love of neighbor. evolve unreflectively, they embody intentions to act in certain ways to gain certain values, often at the cost of other values. Some of the contradictory institutions and practices of industrial agriculture may have evolved unreflectively, causing unintended but still crushing damage to farmers, their families and communities. This cannot be the case for the new vision. New structures must be local. We cannot, however, stipulate or even tentatively design the needed institutions since these will be, almost on principle, intensely local in character. But because we know some of the values we can state principles to serve them without predetermining their design. Moreover the principles themselves we suggest for your deliberation are stated deliberately in terms general enough to embrace a wide range of more precise locally conditioned practical pnnciples. The list is incomplete and suggestive. In this manner discussion, development, consensus and finally creative action on a locally effective level will be promoted.

I. Principles Which Secure the Ends of Agriculture:6

1.) The dedication of land, water and other resources critical to farming is fitting in nature and to be presumed moral unless, in special cases, circumstances show otherwise.7

2.) The dedication and preservation of resources, mainly fertile land and water, for farming must be as permanent as the human needs they serve

3.) The conditions of farming for farmers and farm-worker must be rewarding and healthy, to assure that the vocation will not be abandoned or seriously damaged.

4.) The economic conditions of farming must encourage the preservation of agricultural resources.

5.) The economic and regulatory conditions of farming must protect the cleanliness of the soil and the safety of its crops.

II. Principles Which Guide the Means of Agriculture:

A.) Farmers and Workers

1.) Rewards for the work of farming are to be justly shared by all who work at it in proportion to their time effort and responsibility and in consideration of the needs of a decent human living.

2.) Continuity of time and place of farmers, whether owners, renters, managers or laborers, is to be preserved or encouraged as far as possible in order to secure the knowledge and caring needed for good farming..

3.) Other things being equal, local farm ownership and local owner management has benefits so extensive as to endow it with moral preference in policy.

4.) The social needs of farm labor, such as community, church and school continuity, are of such importance that farmer/community collaborative efforts to provide permanent residence where possible are morally laudable.

5.) A moral obligation exists for farmers and their communities to unify for the purpose of gaining the power to act ethically without severe consequences where that power is out of their hands as individuals. Futile individual heroism is not a moral principle.

B) Impacts on Animals and Other Living Systems

1.) Although used and even consumed in production, natural beings, plants and animals are the sacred gifts of Creation, given for our use, not abuse. They are worthy in themselves of being treated with respect. Their diversity and the harmony of their coexistence is prima facie* good and should be protected .9

2.) Serious harm to nature’s balance in both wild and cultivated states and serious suffering imposed on animals must be measured with humble estimates of the importance of the human utility achieved.

3.) A moral obligation exists for farmers to be open, consultative, and supportive of each other in seeking advice in finding alternative production methods which can reduce harmful side effects.10

4.) Because of their gentleness on the environment and sustainability, solar, bio-intensive and other regenerative technologies enjoy a prima facie ethical superiority

5.) It is morally abusive to regard trivial increases in human utility as a justification for serious harm to nature.

6.) It is morally unacceptable to cause serious suffering to animals for trivial reasons.

7.) Any form of animal agriculture about whose animals we must say; “They would, from their birth on, have been better off dead” is morally shameful.

8.) Freedom from inhumane pain and pathological stress should be sought for animals.

9.) Serious and long term suppression of animals’ freedom to express natural functions and movements is not justified by non-essential economic advantages.

10.) Burdens and the costs of limits placed on farmers to preserve nature’s balance, variety and elements of wildness for the public heritage are justly to be shared by the public.

11.) Diversity in cropping systems and the integration of animals into farming systems have values great enough to justify & prima facie preference for them.

C. Farmer to Farmer Relations

1.) Friendship based forms of competition must replace destructive forms.

2.) Collaboration in shared information, experience and labor should be cultivated.

3.) A moral obligation exists for the community of farmers (and non-farmers)to assist in the making the established reliability of more benign farming alternatives, such as organic, biological, ecological, regenerative systems, known and accepted among other older methods.

4.) Innovators in the direction of more benign alternatives must be treated with honor and with tolerance for the inevitable early mishaps.

5.) Collaborative efforts by farmers to return the power of ethical decision making to farmers must be cultivated.

D) Farmer /Community Relations

1.) Community based policy making in general has benefits which favor it morally in policy. ”

2.) Collaborative, friendship based, forms of environmental protection which are respectful of the community and the needs of farming are morally superior to more distant or coercive forms.

Useful: The consultations and meetings of the Soul of Agriculture were laced with references to the need for cohesiveness among farmers in the pursuit of the new vision. The powerlessness of the isolated individual in the face of economic and policy forces is obvious. But the solidarity needed is not just political; it is as a source of helpfulness, of sharing of knowledge and skills, of mutual support with the uncertainties and risks of innovation and a foundation for certain cooperative farming practices.

Values in Community and Consumer Relationships

In the scenarios below are depicted new ways in which farmers may reach their clientele. The underlying value of these innovations is clearly the very human pleasure in being appreciated for a good product, the outcome of one’s intelligence, labor and caring. It is another priceless value. But like friendship, it is a useful value in restoring consumer confidence and in giving a farmer guidance in reaching and securing a loyal market.

There is an equally pleasurable value in living in peace with one’s community. As a kind of friendship, it is both priceless and useful. By maintaining this value the mutual benefits and mutual sharing of burdens of farming activities and community needs between farmers and their communities are facilitated.

Integration of Values:

The values noted separately above are interlaced and mutually reinforcing. If one is significantly neglected, the others are likely to suffer. And they all share the coloring of friendship. Like friendship they cannot exist without deliberate cultivation by both sides in the relationship. Many of the innovations, both existing and imaginative, suggested at consultations were motivated by the desire to create or strengthen these values.

Second Task, Ethical Principles

Farmers and supporters of a new vision of farming need an explicit consensus statement of the ethical principles for the new vision. These principles serve, along with their values, as the “soul” of the new vision. The value of the explicit statement of this soul is laid out above. Ethics is the orderly and consistent expression of the principles and practices which can secure valued ends by good means.4 We attempt to make explicit from the wealth of implicit moral convictions of reasonable and mature humans5 some which apply to and secure the values of farming. Given the function of ethical principles to protect the highest values, a reasonable way to organize the following tentative list of principles is around the values toward which they are directed, following the order of the values as laid out above.

Principles lead to new structures. As collaborators in the Soul of Agriculture have pointed out, human and environmental values in farming are principally assaulted and principally defended not by naked ethical principles but by institutions and technologies. They said this to warn that our task will finally be to create new institutions and new or at least newly directed technologies. This is true because, when institutions and technologies are created in a fully conscious way and do not just

3.) The economic stability of both the community and the farms which surround it should be the common goal of policy.

4.) Wherever possible agricultural production decision making should be communally sensitive and community supported and be characterized by a tendency to share benefits, circulate wealth and employment opportunities in the community.

5.) A moral obligation exists to reduce harmful side effects of farming on the community 6.) Environmental policy makers must recognize that poverty and economic hardship in the country­side is a cause of environmental damage. Economic justice for farmers must be pursued for protection of the environment which farmers and communities share.

E) Farmer /Consumer Relations

1.) Forms of marketing and purchasing which restore a friendship-like relationship between farmer and consumer are to be preferred where possible.

2.) Institutions and practices which enhance consumer awareness of the nature and needs of farming are to be encouraged.

3.) Institutions and practices which increase farmer awareness of the food needs and concerns of consumers are to be encouraged.

4.) Free market forces as a means to produce and market food must be frequently guided and limited by the moral demands of justice and basic human needs as well as other values of the means and ends of farming. The free market must be kept as an instrument of human good.

5.) It is morally appropriate to guide free market forces by the communally determined needs of local consumers and local farmers.

Third Task, Models

New wine in new skins: The history of industrial agriculture and the reality of its present progress reveals clearly that institutions, economic relationships, community and consumer patterns are the real forces which prevent farmers, their communities and consumers from having an agriculture which could embody the values and ethics we have outlined above. Any new ethics without new institutions, relationships between farmers and consumers and within their communities will be new wine in old skins. It is part of our task to list characteristics of new institutions and a few hopeful initiatives at institution-building found around this country and to depict others still in the conceptual stage. Our list is not meant as an endorsement of any of these innovations. What we are certain of is that the farmers, their communities and the concerned public cannot hope for a better reality for food production without new institutions. Those we offer here in thumbnail sketches are meant as stimuli for discussion of ways in which the values and principles of a new vision of agriculture might be realized.

The Farms

1.) Flourishing of Diversity: A fundamental hallmark of a farm that reflects a new ethic of production is diversity, in crop selection, enterprises, cultures and markets. These farms will find it necessary to adopt whole farm and long-range planning management systems, because of the power of these approaches in comprehending and managing farms that are doing several integrated things at once. These planning approaches will emphasize closed nutrient cycles and increasing independence from off-farm sources of energy and nutrients. Farmers will become increasingly adept at harnessing solar energy, sometimes directly, but most importantly by using management expertise to enlist soil life, plants, wild and domesticated animals, and natural processes to substitute energy from the sun for diesel fuel and chemical inputs. These farmers both love and use the beauty of nature’s diversity.

2.) Animals as Helpers: One clear indicator of broader diversity in farming operations will be the reintegration of livestock into many farming operations, and the simultaneous decline of specialized, industrial-style animal agriculture. These farms will integrate the animals’ nutritional needs, natural activities and manure as a part of the farming operation. Waste products from one enterprise will be used as assets in other farm enterprises. There will be an increasing emphasis on managed grazing, and a drastic reduction of the feeding of fossil-fuel intensive grain to livestock. Animals on these farms will be allowed their natural behaviors and settings, not just because it simplifies farm management, not just because it reduces costs and makes good business sense, but also because it is simply the right and respectful way to treat another living creature.

3.) Farmers who Know and Care: The farms of the new vision will be controlled largely by owner-operators, or other farmers who live on the land they manage. In some ways, this will be a necessary state of affairs for an agricultural system based on highly diversified farming operations. Much of the thrust of the productionist, mono-culture imperative is to devalue farming skills, experience, and the need for trained eyes to notice natural interactions. In the industrial pursuit of low labor costs, it imagines a flat, monotonous and predictable nature controllable by management at a distance and by machines with low skilled / low wage workers on site. It aims to put a minimum-wage employee in the cab of a satellite-guided tractor, or to punch buttons on a computer-controlled confined livestock feeding system. Instead, new vision farms will reflect the principle of maximizing “eyes per acre,” and reward those who can best comprehend and manage the complex interactions of an integrated farm. And they will enjoy rewards, as owners or profit-sharers, from the superior performance of farms which cooperate with the environment rather than incurring expense trying to overwhelm it.

4.) Farm-Homes of Beauty: These farms will be beautiful, and compatible with the local landscape. They will reflect the pride, hard work, and consciousness of nature of their owners, because they will be both homes and the public face of a family to the local community. Every farm will have a place for nature, and the economic stability to devote land to this purpose, both for the wild plants and animals who depend upon it, and for the enjoyment and edification of the farm family.

5.) Organic as Delicious: There will be an increasing reliance on organic production, and other ecological and biological methods, both to produce a differentiated food product in the marketplace and as a recognized good farming practice. These methods will become more widespread as they prove cost-effective and satisfying to farmers, including those who choose not to farm according to a strictly organic system. Organic and ecological methods will also become more commonplace with an increase in “face to face” market interaction with consumers, along with the trust, communication, and mutual responsibility that such marketing demands.

The Markets and Communities

The two common feature of the next sketches are: 1) Marketing innovations to liberate farmers from production of masses of undifferentiated raw materials by finding markets for the stunning variety our farms are capable of. The aim is both greater delight in farming, and all the other economic and environmental benefits of variety. 2) Innovative farm-community connections growing out from food issues to broader political and social connections

1.)  Consumer-sensitive Niche Markets: There will be a high degree of differential marketing in such systems. This will be flexible production, which requires farmers to listen closely to what specific consumers want to buy, agree upon a price acceptable to both producer and purchaser, and meet that need with a product that is tailored to the market.

2.) Direct Marketing: There will be a significant increase in direct dealing and communication between farmers and end consumers. These arrangements have several big advantages for both farmers and eaters. Farmers will, within the confines of the market, have much broader flexibility to set prices for what they produce. They will also have the opportunity to help consumers discover just what it is that a farmer does, and what choices and tradeoffs are involved in making a living in farming. Consumers will be able have a more direct, immediate impact on farming operations and the quality of the food they eat. Farms that can meet these needs and expectations will thrive in a direct marketing arrangement. Farms based on the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model are the purest current expression of this ideal, and they will continue to grow. Community food security movements will continue to shape such direct marketing arrangements to meet the local food needs of low-income communities.

3.) Community Focused Farming: Markets will be increasingly based on the goals of local production, local processing, and local control. Consumers will increasingly demand food that comes from the farms they see around them, and markets will be reshaped to meet this need. Local food processing will meet both the need for staples, and the regional demand for local, traditional food specialties. Restaurants in all price ranges will reflect local tastes and use fresh, seasonal, locally grown ingredients.

4.) Community Owned Farming: Here the community which wants a local farm which can supply many of its needs will share with the farmer some of the risks and costs of land-ownership and make the farm truly a community resource. The security of food and market is achieved simultaneously.

5.) Local Delights: Markets, restaurants and retail establishments will reflect the renaissance in local food as a pleasurable, central part of daily life. There will be a blossoming of “slow food” restaurants where food is not simply a way to fuel up the body at a drive-through window, but instead nourishes people, families, and neighborhoods. Such restaurants will become vital centers of neighborhoods and communities featuring the prize foods produced by farmers known as friends and neighbors. Markets will do the same and respond to the health concerns of consumers.

6.) Collaborative Farming: Farmers are pitted against one another in the prevailing system of commodity production, in ways that work to the detriment of all. Competition and independence will still be necessary features of any agricultural economy, but a new production ethic will emphasize solidarity, mutual support, and interdependence among farmers. Farmers will increasingly come together in cooperative arrangements to take control of the processing of the things they produce. Not only will these arrangements allow individual farmers to add value to the things they produce and regain some control over prices and marketing, but they will also support diversified farming operations by providing economic uses for crops and practices that are crucial to good rotations.

Farmers will come together in their churches, clubs and organizations to share help, expertise, innovations, and practical information that are essential to successful diversified farms. There will be expanded partnerships between small and mid-size growers, and opportunities for novices, from farm and non-farm backgrounds, to learn from more experienced farmers. Local and watershed-based research clubs will create new opportunities to solve local production and environmental problems by finding long-term, locally-appropriate, ecological solutions. University and Extension personnel will be invited to assist in a collaborative way with experienced farmers.

7.) Communities and Networks: Farms are a part of larger communities, and a new ethic of agricultural production must not only recognize but celebrate that fact. This sense of community will help farmers, their neighbors, and the broader society understand and meet the responsibilities of each to one another. In this communal context, farms and their communities can show the true and appealing public face of the new vision of farming. This human face will prove to be a more effective political force than the frightening colossus of industrial agriculture. Similar farm/community partnerships across the country will form a web of social and policy interaction and cooperation. Other communities will be seen as friends and this will lead quickly to the understanding that it is wrong to engage in activities that harm other communities, their people or their environments.

8.) Agricultural Education: Farming will be connected to urban and suburban people as well by conscious efforts on the part of rural, urban and suburban people to reach out to one another. Agricultural education and school gardens will become commonplace, even in urban schools. Farmers will increasingly view farm stays, internships, and visits to working farms as vital missionary work, not idle tourism, to teach consumers what they do and why on farms they are proud of.

Fourth Task, Hard Questions and Actions:

A Call to Reflection First

We are speaking to you as a diverse group representing sometimes conflicting perspectives. We are profoundly aware that our hopes for success depend on the ability of all parties to strip off, at least temporarily, all purely defensive opinions and positions. Our hope is based on the belief that what the true soul of agriculture is a set of values and principles which are much closer to your own deepest values than past debates would suggest. We must all attempt to go within ourselves, individually and in groups, and find these root values. We all want plentiful, healthy food, friendly communities, just and safe places to work and live. We all care for our fellow humans and for the animals, plants and beauties of nature who make our earth a nurturing home. We ought to be able to share our beliefs and work together.

We are not now united enough in our present explicit beliefs and policies to form a foundation for a beautiful and human agriculture, which can resist or replace the powers behind industrial agriculture. We know that unity will not be achieved without raising the painful issues which have divided us, without stirring ourselves to hope that energetic discussion and active learning can unify us around a coherent vision. Therefore to promote this reflection, and capture this hope, we first list painful questions, which we hope will create an urgency to find those core values upon which we can jointly build.

Then A Call to Active Learning

For each group for which we suggest reflective questions we also list actions whose common purpose is to create either the knowledge or the trust, which will make collaboration possible. It is immensely easier to trust persons of good will when one knows those persons not merely as caring but as informed about one’s legitimate needs and how satisfying those needs does not threaten their own values. In today’s world such knowledge does not come easily. We have to take definite active steps to begin the learning and to create that trust.

Questions for Environmentalists and their Organizations:

Apart from forest and public lands, most of the treasured lands in this country is in the care of farmers. Environmentally concerned groups need to know the love of these lands and its beauty, which is in the hearts of those who make their lives and homes there. That love may be the best hope of coming to a common ground between farm and environmental groups.]

  • Is food production a good and essential use of the land?
    • If a farmer became a perfect environmentalist and went out of business because of the costs, what would replace that farmer? Without the cost of environmental care being bearable for the farmer, what hope do we have of ever seeing farming and the environment in balance?
    • If you were convinced that the farmer loves the beauty of the countryside as much as you, how would that affect your understanding of environmental threats?
  • Have you sought out a farmer who loves the diversity, beauty and richness of the countryside and tried to learn how he/she farms to accommodate those values?
  • What is the real role of farm animals in the environment, positive and negative?
    • Do you think that farm animals deserve the same respect for living things that you afford to wildlife? Have you done anything to promote the welfare of farm animals?
    • What do you desire most from an honest dialog with farmers and farm organizations? What do you fear most?

Active Learning and Trust Building

  • Visit farms to observe and understand. Ask questions to which you don’t know the answers. Help if you are invited.
  • Buy foods that reflect your bio-ethical values, both in your daily life and for your organizational activities (in order to build trust with farmers who share your values).
  • Try to imagine that you are a farmer; try to describe yourself and your current work from the point of view of a farmer. Do you take on the risks you may be asking of the farmer?
  • Before writing regulations, spend significant time on a working farm. And if you are in a policy­making position with an environmental organization, you should participate in at least one farm organization meeting a year.

Questions for Farm Organization Leaders:

[It is a sad fact of history that some farm organizations have aligned themselves with the very forces and policies, which have and will continue to drive their members from the land. Their public position is sometimes that the cause of farmer stress and economic instability is not the crush of industrial agriculture but environmental and other “urban” interests. It is hoped that the questions below will underline the truth that all rural social life and organizations are at risk with the advance industrial agriculture. Only the collaboration of those who love the land and their organizations can provide the hope and strength to resist this advance.]

  • What is an individual farmer’s responsibility to the land, the local community, wildlife and to society?
  • Do producers have control over their own destiny in the face of the industrialization of agriculture?
  • What is the future of farm organizations in a nation without farmers?
  • Is the active destruction of the family farm a good thing? Is the demise of independent farms truly “inevitable,” or merely convenient for powerful players in modern agriculture?
  • Is it appropriate to preserve and enhance the quality of all soil, water, and diversity of species, rather than continuing to expend them? Is there any long-term alternative? How does the present system of agriculture enhance the quality of life of persons and of all creation?
  • What do you desire most from an honest dialog with environmental leaders?
  • What do you fear most?

Active Learning and Trust Building:

  • Engage in a real discussion with your membership; don’t just represent constituents with the resources to visit you at your headquarters.
  • Farm leaders should participate in at least one environmental organization meeting every year.
  • Work with, and listen to, farm youth leaders.
    • Really listen – face to face – to people whose health and property have been wrecked by the activities of large confined livestock facilities or other destructive effects of industrialized agriculture.
    • Commit a portion of your publications and activities to finding and modeling cost-effective solutions to environmental problems.

Questions for Faith Community Leaders:

Today ethics is often thought of as an interest of lawyers and academics. But it is a fact that the most effective and persistent source of moral teaching in rural culture, apart from devoted parents—and most often in partnership with them, are the churches of the countryside. Few are better suited to speak with clarity on questions of justice in rural communities those who have committed their lives to the service of a religious faith. Yet the voices of men and women of faith are sometimes muted in this discussion. Communities of faith have both a responsibility to “speak truth to power” and a unique opportunity to act as a bridge not only between adversaries, but also a bridge to a richer and more widespread understanding of the ethical dimension of agricultural production.

  • Does the industrial/productionist model of agriculture enhance or diminish the dignity of the person, work, and all of creation? Is this the only way to feed a hungry world?
  • How can justice – securing a right relationship between and among land, people, community, and God – be achieved?
  • Does the church have a responsibility to speak the truth about the damage we have done to creation?
  • What role can the church play in fostering a meaningful dialogue among farmers and environmentalists? How can the church be an agent of reconciliation in the community, and is reconciliation possible without justice?
  • Can rural churches survive the active destruction of family farming?
  • Can a person of faith who feels compassion for animals believe that God’s care for them is not greater?
  • Is a food system built on the pain and suffering of farm animals morally acceptable?
  • How can churches sow seeds of hope in the community?
  • How can your faith community engage the broader community in the process of moral decision making?

Active Learning and Trust Building

  • Support ethical agricultural production as an institution through your purchases of food, and find ways to support livestock and other food producers who reflect your values.
  • Plant a garden and, as a congregation, become an ethical grower.
    • Build links between your congregation and local farmers. Call them together to discuss this document.
    • Engage your members in a review of the changes in the farming patterns and in other aspects of the food system in your region with the stated purpose of evaluating their impacts on human, animal and environmental well-being.
    • Engage your members in an active search for ways to protect what is good and beautiful about farming in your region.
    • Develop an ecumenical ritual service that acknowledges sins humankind has committed against creation and gives thanks for the blessings we have received.

Questions for Sustainable Agriculture:

[The gains of the sustainable agriculture movement have been significant, but pale in comparison to the advances of industrial agriculture over the past twenty years. Sustainable innovations, which are successful, provide the principal needs of level-headed “responsible” managers, namely visible non-theoretical reliability. If more of the farming community could know and trust what you have learned yours would become the new “paradigm” of agriculture. True, there is an inconceivable amount still to learn – and quite a bit we “know” to unlearn – about farming in an ecological manner. But somehow what you have already learned must be made more obvious and inviting to your neighbor farmers. The doors must be flung open. Sustainable Agriculture advocates have some hard thinking ahead, if this idea is ever to live up to its potential.]

  • Can you succeed if you speak only to the already converted? How will agriculture change if most farmers don’t agree with your vision?
  • What do many farmers find so frightening about your message – and why do so many of your opponents want to co-opt the word “sustainable”?
  • What is your role in reconciling farmers and environmentalists who do not trust each other?
  • How can you use your successes to join with others and bring your message to urban and suburban audiences?

Active Learning and Trust Building

Invite both conventional farmers and conventional environmentalists into your tent.

Learn to deal with people, farmers especially, at whatever level they are on, without dogmatic rigidity. Approach everyone with a willingness to learn, and an understanding that they might have some answers you do not.

  • Work with educators and agricultural youth groups. Work with young people who want to be “future farmers” but cannot see how they fit into the industrial model of agriculture.
  • Bring the university community into the discussion of a new production ethic.
    • Put your mouth where your mouth is – support the kind of farming you profess with your personal food choices and with the choice of food at your meetings and events.
    • Recognize and help fill the real needs of a wide diversity of farmers and eaters.


Hope in Heart and Mind

Our hope for a new vision of agriculture lays in our unity of heart and mind about the values and principles which farming can thrive on and express. Empires, Augustine warns us, rise and fall on the strength not of their armies but on the waxing and waning of their moral values and principles. From the generations past of our families and churches we have drawn a wealth of these values. They have been neglected, abused and co-opted. But they remain the soul of our hope, of our vision. In asking you to join with us to reclaim them, reintegrate and restate them so that they can be the life of our new vision, we feel we are offering you the hope of a better future on the land and for the land. In accepting this invitation you are offering us that same hope.

It is in the unity of our hearts and upon them that the ethic of the new vision will be written. The vitality and power of a land ethic, as Aldo Leopold has said, will resist our efforts to capture it on paper. But our efforts to describe it will inscribe its beauty on the hearts and minds of ordinary farmers and citizens. From their actions only can its beauty spread across the land.


1. Some confusion arises in discussions of values and ethical principles. Values are not in themselves principles, but the knowledge and habitual observance of good ethical principles is a value, indeed one of the highest values in human life. Hence it is not surprising that among the values we wish to preserve, our ability to have and act according to ethical principles is one of them. And therefore we have ethical principles, which command us to protect our ethics.

2. Automobile engine efficiency was calculated for a long time on the basis of distance per gallon, disregarding the profligate use of air, as if breathable air was unlimited.

3. In this regard, the reflection of Charles Kellogg (USDA Yearbook, 1938, p. 878) is a warning. “The final exhaustion of the land follows, not precedes, the exhaustion of the people. In a final effort, exploited people pass their suffering to the land.”

4. For readers who might suspect the existence of some circularity in calling some principle ethically good because it promotes good ends by good means, this observation may help: Ends and means here are called good in the sense of values, usually natural, physical, social, or esthetic goods. Moral or ethical (which we will take to be synonymous) goodness is a quality of human free and deliberate actions/intentions. We define ethical goodness in terms of an action/intention aimed at adding or preserving the physical (etc.) good of various things. Ethical goodness happens to be one of the natural goods of humans (residing in their actions/intentions and sometimes embodied in their technologies since these reveal a human intention to act in certain ways.) But ethical goodness is a less obvious and narrower, derivative kind of goodness distinguishable from the more directly and easily knowable kinds of human and natural goods its definition depends on.

5. It is to be understood that these mature humans are intimately familiar with agriculture, with the values impacted by it and consult widely enough to understand how agriculture impacts on those values.

6. It is not the task of applied ethics to determine how or whether something is to be declared a suitable goal of some vocation or profession. No profession or vocation has as its goal the entire common good of the cosmos or mankind. Hence in stating its goal, a profession will often appeal to its conventionally assigned share of that common good. In so doing , the profession or vocation has to keep in mind that its goal is partial and that, therefore, the means and urgency with which it pursues its goals are limited by the need to achieve or preserve other goods which are part of the whole common good. Food is clearly, in a nation afflicted with obesity, not the ultimate good of mankind, but as a inescapable instrument for life and therefore all the other goods, its adequacy and healthfulness have a high degree of urgency. In the order of time, it may often be the highest priority. Society, in burdening farmers with other goals, needs to beware of distracting them from their principal task or making that task so burdensome that they may wish to abandon it entirely.

7. The phrase “except in special cases where circumstances etc..” will henceforth be replaced by the phrase “prima facie ” meaning “at first glance, subject to deeper investigation”

8. The use of  “prima facie” (see note #4) and other phrases like “under normal circumstances” or “other things being equal” and “as judged by reasonable, objective persons” are meant as indicators that we are in areas of applied ethics where principles can apply only “for the most part” and extreme or unusual circumstances require their adjustment. Local conditions can require significant adjustments to principles but not often their total abandonment.

9. For many reasons, not the least of which is space, the Vision statement cannot go into the “animal rights” question. It is, however, a question which different groups may have to devote time to. Arguments which conclude that humans have no right to join all the rest of nature at the table of life and eat of its species need to be handled respectfully, looking at their premises and answering them. But arguments which assume that we not allowed to eat animals cannot be countered. It is better to point out that universal presence of eating and being eaten in nature is not ugly in itself. The reason for eating is life and we have little to do with its presence in nature. The question is not “why do we eat animals” but rather “why do we not eat each other.” We make an exception for fellow humans for very good reasons, namely that our natures cannot develop naturally without autonomy and the protection against total subjugation to the needs of fellow humans. To achieve the full flourishing of our natures, we need to serve others and sometimes even to the point of dying for them, and certainly of giving much of ourselves for them, as any parent knows. But this has to be done freely among humans. There is nothing we can do to release other species from non-voluntary service to each other and to us. If we release them, they would simply re­enter servitude to other species. What is obligatory for us is to use them compassionately since we are also free to use them in the way that preserves as much of their natural beauty and well-being as possible. Any form of agriculture about which we would have to say of its animals : “From day one they would have been better off dead” is clearly morally reprehensible.

‘ For those who will lead discussions on this new ethic of production this principle will probably be the cause of much debate if the group is made up of conventional and sustainable agriculture supporters. It is important to realize that conventional agriculture is not populated by persons eager to be bought out and dominated by some distant corporation. They probably share most of the values in this document. The human mind in organizing complex data and directing complex activities needs organizing principles simple enough and reliable enough to make activity reliable. And reliability is felt as a high priority moral responsibility. The commitment to conventional agriculture cannot be treated as a moral failure when many of its practitioners see this commitment not only as common prudence but also as part of their most basic duty to themselves and others. Probably the best approach is to reconcile the ethical demands of reliability and the responsibility to seek alternatives by finding reliable alternatives and sponsoring research into and local awareness   of that reliability.

Applied across the board in public policy this is sometimes referred to as the “principle of subsidiarity” i.e. decisions and operations are best organized at the locally lowest level consonant with the effective achievement of their appropriate goals.

 How This Document Was Developed

“Creating a New Vision of Farming” was drafted in March of 1997 by a committee of more than 20 environmentalists, farmers, faith community Representatives, ethicists, academics, and others who came together at a 3-day meeting organized by the Soul of Agriculture Project. The project is a 2-year effort established by the Center for Respect of Life and Environment and the Humane Society of the United States to develop a new agricultural production ethic and mobilize public support for its adoption.

The original document drafters are: John Bobbe, National Farmers Organization, Brussels, Wis.; Sr. Pegge Boehm, PBVM, St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minn.; Kate Clancy, Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture, Greenbelt, Md. ; Peter deFur, Center for Environmental Studies, Richmond, Va.; Cornelia Butler Flora, North Central Regional Center for rural Development, Iowa State University, Ames, la.; Michael W. Fox, D.V. M., Humane Society of the United States, Washington, D.C.; Dean Freudenburger, Luther Seminary (Retired), Roseville, Minn.; Judith Bortner Heffernan, Heartland Network for Town & Rural Ministries, Columbia, Mo.; Derrick Jensen, Environmental Author, Spokane, Wash.; Loni Kemp, The Minnesota Project, Canton, Minn., and Fred Kirschenmann, Kirschenmann Family Farms, Winsor, N.D.

Also Ron Kroese, St. Croix Valley Community Foundation, Minneapolis, Minn,: Betsy Lydon, Mithers & Others, New York, N.Y.; Mardi Mellon, Union of Concerned Scientists, Washington, D.C.; Michelle Miller, Environmental Defense Fund, Madison, Wis.; Jose Montenegro, Rural Development Center, Dalinas, Calif.; Neill Schaller, Henry A. Wallace Institute of Alternative Agriculture, Greenbelt, Md.; Shirley Scherrod, Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Albany, Ga.; Kathy Sikorski, Rancher, Willard, Mont.; Paul Smith, Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin, Oneida, Wis.; Paul B. Thompson, Department for Philosophy, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.; Bob Wellborn, Attorney at Law, Franktown, Colo, and David Williams, Farmer, Villisca, la.

Facilitation and editorial support was provided by Robert Hudek, Wisconsin Citizen Action, Madison, Wis., and Brad DeVries, Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Washington, D.C. The draft, made available during the summer of 1997 for public review and comment, was refined in small group work sessions at a national conference in November in Minneapolis. These sessions were chaired by Long Kemp of The Minnesota Project; Melanie Adcock, D.V.M., of the Humane Society of the United States; Judy Heffernan of the Heartland Network for Town and Rural Ministries; Br. David Andrews of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference; Barbara Meister of Meister Consulting, and Mark Schultz of the Land Stewardship Project.

The second draft reflects the work of the participants of the Minneapolis conference and many contributors who reviewed the first draft. This draft was edited by Stan Dundon, Sustainable Agriculture and Research Program, University of California at Davis.

Coordination of The Soul of Agriculture project and the drafting events was provided by Roger Blobaum, Project Coordinator, Gary Valen and Melanie Adcock of The Humane Society of the United States, and Rick Clugston and Tom Rogers of The Center for Respect of Life and Environment.