Religious Agrarianism and the Return of Place

From Values to Practice in Sustainable Agriculture

By Todd LeVasseur

Subjects: Environment And Religion, Religion, Environmental Studies, Environmental Philosophy, Ecology
Series: SUNY series on Religion and the Environment
Paperback : 9781438467726, 270 pages, July 2018
Hardcover : 9781438467733, 270 pages, December 2017

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents


1. Sustainable Religion, Sustainable Ethics?

2. Koinonia and Christian Religious Agrarianism

3. Hazon and Jewish Religious Agrarianism

4. The Local ([Farm] Land)

5. Concepts of Health

6. Justice for All: From Soil to Worker, from Individual to Community

7. Conclusion: A Harvest of Ideas


Examines religious communities as advocates of environmental stewardship and sustainable agriculture practices.


Gold Medalist, 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards in the Religion Category
Finalist for the 2017 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award in the Religion category

Writing at the interface of religion and nature theory, US religious history, and environmental ethics, Todd LeVasseur presents the case for the emergence of a nascent "religious agrarianism" within certain subsets of Judaism and Christianity in the United States. Adherents of this movement, who share an environmental concern about the modern industrial food economy and a religiously grounded commitment to the values of locality, health, and justice, are creating new models for sustainable agrarian lifeways and practices. LeVasseur explores this greening of US religion through an extensive engagement with the scholarly literature on lived religion, network theory, and grounded theory, as well as through ethnographic case studies of two intentional communities at the vanguard of this movement: Koinonia Farm, an ecumenical Christian lay monastic community, and Hazon, a progressive Jewish environmental group.

Todd LeVasseur teaches religious studies and environmental and sustainability studies at the College of Charleston. He is the coeditor (with Pramod Parajuli and Norman Wirzba) of Religion and Sustainable Agriculture: World Spiritual Traditions and Food Ethics and the coeditor (with Anna Peterson) of Religion and Ecological Crisis: The "Lynn White Thesis" at Fifty.


"…[LeVasseur]opens the door to a dimension of agricultural sustainability that may otherwise be overlooked … The strength of LeVasseur's research is the mapped trajectory of religious agrarianism's role as an ally against environmental injustice. " — Agriculture and Human Values

"…the definitive study of contemporary religious agrarianism. " — Nova Religio

"The blend of empirical sociology and philosophical/religious ethics is impressive. I found the book not only interesting but valuable for my own scholarship. " — Paul B. Thompson, author of The Agrarian Vision: Sustainability and Environmental Ethics