• John Ikerd University of Missouri, Columbia



Ethics, Aldo Leopold


First paragraphs:

Aldo Leopold's Land Ethic is credited with defining a new relationship between people and nature and setting the stage for the modern conservation movement (Aldo Leopold Foundation, n.d.). Most simply stated: "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise" (Partridge, 1993, The Land Ethic, para. 10). Again, in the words of Leopold, "The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land" (Aldo Leopold Foundation, n.d., para. 1). I believe we need a similar Food Ethic to guide the modern sustainable agriculture movement.

Some may question the need for a new food ethic. There is already an interdisciplinary field of study called "food ethics" that "provides ethical analysis and guidance for human conduct in the production, distribution, preparation and consumption of food" (Peeler, 2015, para. 2). The Catholic Rural Life program has long reminded us that "Eating is a Moral Act," noting that, "We say this simply because food sustains life. But the world of agriculture is extremely complex and there are many moral dimensions to it" (Catholic Rural Life, 2012, para. 1). The idea of a food ethic also is a common sentiment among Native Peoples. Ethical eating certainly is not new idea....


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Author Biography

John Ikerd, University of Missouri, Columbia

John Ikerd is professor emeritus of agricultural economics, University of Missouri, Columbia. He was raised on a small farm and received his BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Missouri. He worked in private industry prior to his 30-years academic career at North Carolina State University, Oklahoma State University, University of Georgia, and the University of Missouri. Since retiring in 2000, he spends most of his time writing and speaking on issues of sustainability. Ikerd is author of six books and numerous professional papers, which are accessible at his University of Missouri website and personal website.
John Ikerd



How to Cite

Ikerd, J. (2015). THE ECONOMIC PAMPHLETEER: Toward a Food Ethic. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 6(1), 3–5.