Agrarian Ecology

One might wonder whether any twenty-first-century preoccupation with agrarian values, agrarian ecology, and agrarian ideals comes as too little, too late. Less than 2 percent of the North American public lives in rural areas outside towns, cities, and suburbs, and less than half of the world’s population now lives outside cities. But the New Agrarianism, which is emerging globally, is not restricted to the rural domain, nor is it necessarily a romantic desire to reenact social behaviors and mores associated with rural populaces in bygone eras. Instead, a New Agrarianism is emerging within urban as well as rural communities, and may indeed be the set of values and operating principles that can obliterate the rural-urban divide that, in many ways, characterized and crippled North American and European cultures during the second half of the twentieth century. But what exactly does “agrarian” mean? Why are the concepts associated with it being used once more as rallying cries, decades after most global citizens have become disenfranchised from the land? Finally, why has “agrarian ecology” become a useful focus for anthropologists, biologists, demographers, geographers, historians, and land-tenure lawyers, and why is it being applied to solving problems in at least a dozen countries...

This essay may be found on page 7 of the printed volume.

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