Center for Respect of Life and Environment (CRLE)
Programs & Services
Get Involved
Center for Respect of Life and Environment (CRLE)
Programs & Services


Towards A New Production Ethic

Mission Statement and Goals

Family managed farming is in serious trouble. Food will continue to be produced in America if families are driven out of farming, but by significantly different means with significantly different relationships to community, land, labor and animals. Farm families, their communities, civic groups and churches know what a tragic loss will be experienced when industrial organization replaces farmers. Those who love the beauty of the countryside, its farms, animals, water and wildlife sense that families on the land are much more likely to share their love.

Soul of Agriculture is a fledgling national movement to join these groups and add a unique element to the work of saving family farming. The program is comprised of well known representatives of farming, rural civic and church groups, farm labor, environmental and farm-animal welfare leaders. The program's goals fill a need felt by the leaders of the many groups seeking to save family managed farming. These goals are:

  1. To state with a single voice the great range of values that will be lost with family farming.
  2. To make explicit the ethical principles that support these values to which all parties can commit themselves.
  3. To describe visions of a future of family farming in which the greatest range of its values are realized.
  4. To assist groups who share values impacted by farming to overcome obstacles to communication and cooperation.
  5. To develop curricular materials on the values and ethics of family farming for use in the nation's schools.

Soul of Agriculture has a unique role in putting basic values consensus formation first, but recognizes that failure to move from ethical convictions to appropriate action is a weakness that caring persons and responsible agencies cannot allow. Soul of Agriculture supports, but does not advocate specifically, the broadest range of effective types of action: personal commitment to action or praxis which will support family farming, professionally binding standards to the same end, compacts between stakeholders, or legally binding policies.

Soul of Agriculture will work with groups who are advocating or formulating local, regional, or nationally appropriate actions and policies by assisting them in gaining a broader and more explicit consensus on values and ethics as a firm foundation to their work. It will do this by providing assistance in bringing more constituencies and stakeholders to the work of consensus formation.

Soul of Agriculture will vigorously promote the awareness of the consensus it helps build in policy arenas. It will do this on its own and by seeking a commitment from its collaborators to bring the consensus they have reached on values and ethics to the attention of policy makers at every level. The broadly supported basic consensus will strengthen their policy recommendations. And it will form a united voice which will remain strong, authoritative and permanent as policies undergo necessary change.

Soul of Agriculture is enlisting collaborators and networks to work at forming that united voice and aim to have it widely supported across the country so that:

  1. Every supporter of family farming will speak with a single voice on basic values and the fundamental ethical obligations required to secure those values. This underlying agreement will assist groups in working harmoniously on regionally appropriate policies. Farmers who love their land will hear their values spoken clearly in their communities and to their children.
  2. Policy makers who are far removed from the land will have a reliable and strong voice expressing why family farming is worth saving.
To aid Soul of Agriculture look at the Get Involved page and then at Services. For materials and literature for distribution, e-mail your needs to: [email protected]. You can cut and paste materials for use from this Soul of Agriculture Web site without permission to use as you see fit. But provide Soul's current e-mail address and snail-mail address so people can reach us: Soul of Agriculture, P.O. Box 72084, Davis CA 95617, attention: Coordinator, Stan Dundon. Phone: 530-756-9679.


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