Agriculture and Education

fall farm

Agriculture is the culture or paideia that grows up when living on and from a farm.  It is opposed or at least contrasted most obviously by the culture or “lifestyle” of those who dwell in cities.  Education is, if kept to its etymological roots, the drawing out of a person, ostensibly being led out from “the cave” of Plato, or ignorance, or one’s self, or what they were to what they should become, or out of darkness into the light.   So how is agriculture then related to education?  Without writing the paper that this deserves, at least yet, here and in following posts are some of the more obvious ways these two are related.

  • Understanding Life.
  • Understanding Death.
  • Understanding Rhythm and Cycle.
  • Understanding Earth, soil, humus, humor.
  • Understanding Food.
  • Understanding Man’s Place in Nature.
  • Relating Cause to Effect.
  • Relating Margins to Productivity.
  • Relating Man to Environment.
  • Forming a Grounded Natural Theology.
  • Forming an Ethic of Work.
  • Forming Faith, Hope, and Love in the heart of the student.
  • Ordering the Affections.

I am sure more will come as I go along, but these are a great start.  Why do I believe that one excellent location for a school would be on a farm?  Because of what I mean by each phrase above.  I will develop each individually in future posts.  Most of this meditation has pulled together the basic point of Jamie Smith’s book, “Desiring the Kingdom” with my own thoughts about how education is best accomplished.  Smith asserts that “place” is important.  W. Berry of course stands on this knowledge as well.  I am convinced that education can occur anywhere, but that the farm offers a unique and powerful context for education to be done well.