"Rooted in the Land" by William Vitek

Rooted in the Land Essays on Community and Place William Vitek, Wes Jackson

Publication date:
30 Oct 1996
Yale University Press
302 pages: 235 x 156mm


Although contemporary society seems to promote the values of individualism and mobility, this engrossing book is dedicated to the notion that human lives are enriched by participation in a social community that is integrated into the natural landscape of a particular place. The 34 contributors—who include David Ehrenfeld, Lynn R. Miller, Wendell Berry, Deborah Tall, David W. Orr, Robert Swann, and Susan Witt, as well as other philosophers, scientists, activists, economists, historians, farmers and ranchers, sociologists, theologians, and political scientists—offer an array of social and ecological perspectives on the nature of "community."

The editors, William Vitek and Wes Jackson, contend that a deeper understanding of communities is critical for the health of the planet and the human spirit. They offer a compelling collection of new and classic writings—many in the form of personal narrative—that extend E. F. Schumacher's ideas about the importance of human scale and Aldo Leopold's concept of biotic citizenship. Proposing eloquent defenses of community life and practical suggestions for becoming connected to others and native to a place, the writers explore the loss of community, the philosophical foundations of communities, and the current renewal of community life.

William Vitek is associate professor of philosophy at Clarkson University. He is active in promoting working landscapes, rural communities, and local economies in northern New York. Wes Jackson is director and cofounder of the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, and recent recipient of a Pew Conservation Scholars award and a MacArthur Fellowship. He is currently engaged in revitalizing Matfield Green, an abandoned farm community in Kansas.

"With its broad combination of materials, this innovative volume offers a wonderful selection of ideas from 'classic' American land writers as well as the current generation of thinkers."?Susan P. Bratton, Whitworth College

"As a work of environmental literature, Rooted in the Land should serve Great Plains scholars as an exemplary text, offering a variety of perspectives on dealing with the environmental impact of a consumptive society."?Tisha Gilreath Mullen, Great Plains Quarterly