Food, Farming, and Faith

By Gary W. Fick

Subjects: Rural Sociology
Series: SUNY series on Religion and the Environment
Paperback : 9780791473849, 243 pages, March 2008
Hardcover : 9780791473832, 243 pages, March 2008

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Table of contents


1. It Is All about Food
Other Food Associations
A Matter of Life and Death

2. The Foundation of Stewardship
In the Beginning
Biblical Stewardship
Loving What God Loves

3. Ecology in the Bible
Living in the Central Flyway
Holistic Thinking
The Christian Environmentalist
Genesis 1
The Population Problem
Humans and Nature
Biological Diversity and Species Extinction
Other Ecological Issues

4. Land and Climate
The Best Land in the World
Good Land
God's Land
Sabbath Rest for the Land
Then What Should We Do?

5. Soil and Water
Buried Fences
Soil in the Bible
What Is Essential?
Essentials for Soil and Water

6. Crops, Seeds, and Food
Gardening Runs in the Family
Kinds of Crops
Seeds Are the Source
Nurturing the Crop
Harvesting, Storage, and Celebration
The Essentials

7. Livestock and Agriculture
Cowboy Days
Are Livestock Really Good for Us and the Environment?
Livestock in the Ancient Writings
Other Aspects of Animal Welfare
Economic and Religious Factors
The Essentials

8. Farming Systems and the Practices of Agriculture
A Good Mentor
Systems Thinking
Soil Tillage
Nutrient Management
The Wisdom for Farming
Soil Tillage in the Bible
Nutrient Management in the Bible
The Essentials

9. The Culture of Agriculture
Teaching and Learning
Farmers in the Beginning
Land Tenure
Labor and Financial Matters
Food and Culture
Ethics and Morality
The Essentials

10. Abuse, Poverty, and Women
Poverty, Women, and Agriculture
A Personal View of Poverty
Proverbs on Poverty
The Abuse of Women
What Is Essential Here?

11. Food, Starvation, Obesity, and Diet
The Idealism of Youth
Hunger and Starvation
The Biblical Diet
A Different Model of Food Production

12. Agricultural Sustainability
Complex Concepts of Agricultural Sustainability
Metaphors of Agriculture
Simple Facts
Appendix 1 Abbreviations and Citation of Books in the Bible
Appendix 2 An Overview of the Bible
Appendix 3 The Essentials of Agriculture


Using scripture and science, a Christian agricultural scientist presents an ethic of farming that promotes good food and a healthy environment.


Food, Farming, and Faith looks at agricultural sustainability and Christianity. Using scripture and science, Gary W. Fick—a Christian agricultural scientist—demonstrates that faith can inform decisions about creating, managing, even consuming our food. The book highlights such topics as food and celebration, environmental care, ecology and faith, soil and water stewardship, animal welfare, and the impact of poverty on women and our food supply. Throughout, Fick presents and discusses biblical passages that comment on these areas and provides insight from personal experiences growing up in a ranching family, in teaching sustainable agriculture, and as a scientist. Ultimately, Fick challenges the reader to think about eating more thoughtfully so that we have good food, a healthy environment, and a comfortable lifestyle all at the same time.

Gary W. Fick is Professor of Agronomy at Cornell University.


"Fick succeeds in writing a thought-provoking book that is a worthwhile read for everyone interested in sustainable agriculture and its relationship to the Bible. He reminds us of our connection to the past. His clear, warmly personal style that is free of scientific jargon, invites even the skeptic to consider his valuable perspectives as we seek solutions toward a more sustainable future. " — Journal of Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems

"…an insightful book … It is impossible to categorize this unique book, but it will be valuable to readers interested in the future of food production viewed from the perspective of biblical teachings … The extensive chapter notes and bibliography could make this volume useful for academic curricula or for the start of further research. " —CHOICE

"Fick's thoughtful book adds fresh perspectives to the growing number of books about the centrality of food in American culture. " — ForeWord Magazine

"In case you thought environmentalism and Christianity were at odds, here's a book that makes clear, in great and rewarding detail, just how closely allied they actually are. This will be a useful primer for the blossoming green religious movement. " — Bill McKibben, author of The Comforting Whirlwind: God, Job, and the Scale of Creation

"This book represents a good juxtaposition of the author's personal story and life experience with both agricultural principles and biblical analysis, making for both a pleasant and valuable reading experience. " — John E. Carroll, author of Sustainability and Spirituality