The Call of the Land: An Agrarian Primer for the 21st Century


  • Kim L. Niewolny Virginia Tech
  • Nancy K. Franz Virginia Tech and Iowa State University



Review, Agrarian Ethos, Food System Development


First paragraph:

According to Hinrichs and Lyson (2007), lessons learned from the university and the field are increasingly helping us to participate in a flourishing movement to transform the North American food system. Readers new to this movement sometimes struggle to identify a primer that is accessible and grounded in real-world examples. The Call of the Land: An Agrarian Primer for the 21st Century lends itself as a tool for such readers, as it not only illustrates a foundational agrarian ethos historically argued by Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson, but it also outlines a variety of practical models and approaches to inform the practice of local food system development. For most of the book, McFadden draws upon the lived experiences of various practitioners, farmers, and educators to reveal his agrarian philosophy and subsequent suggestions to better “live with the land” (p. 32). The result is a broad overview of issues affecting the trajectory of food and farming development, and an introduction to several approaches we might take to alter this unsustainable path. McFadden’s ethical stance for agrarian transformation strongly influences these issues and strategies for change.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biographies

Kim L. Niewolny, Virginia Tech

Kim L. Niewolny is an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education at Virginia Tech. Her work explores the ways in which community-based education enhances agriculture and food system sustainability through such lenses as critical adult education, social movement learning, and civic agriculture.

Nancy K. Franz, Virginia Tech and Iowa State University

Nancy K. Franz was recently named the associate dean for Extension and Outreach to Families and 4-H Youth Development at Iowa State University College of Human Sciences. Franz also serves as director of ISU Extension to Families, holding a faculty appointment in educational leadership and policy studies. She was previously a professor and extension specialist in program development for agricultural and extension education at Virginia Tech. Her work focuses on conditions for transformative learning in nonformal education contexts, determining and measuring educational program impacts, and best practices in Extension education.
Cover of "The Call of the Land"



How to Cite

Niewolny, K. L., & Franz, N. K. (2010). The Call of the Land: An Agrarian Primer for the 21st Century. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 1(1), 163–164.





Most read articles by the same author(s)