The Woodland Community Land Trust was incorporated in 1979, making it one of the oldest Community Land Trusts (CLTs) established in the United States. Located in the Clearfork Valley of northeastern Tennessee, a low-income Appalachian community dominated by extractive industry and concentrated land holding, economic, and political power, Woodland recently marked its 40th year in operation.
Such an agrarian civilization will see no impending ecological doom but instead a future of steady processes and patterns with no need for faith in great technological inventions of salvation. Not a utopian world – surely grappling with problems of their own – but a wise culture; taking the lessons of a past society bent on ever-more for ever-more’s sake to heart and respecting limits.
Historians have spilled a lot of ink on the question of how capitalism supplanted feudalism, but what will happen in the future if by design, default or disaster our present capitalist society is supplanted by a lower energy alternative with more people devoting themselves to the agrarian arts?
Although certainly embraced more frequently and ardently by liberals than by what passes for a conservative today, Wendell Berry is clearly a religious rather than Liberal thinker, praising the unified and relentless in his criticism of the fragmented.
Speaking for myself (not Cindy), my urge and motivation for moving to the farm 17 years back, and the desire to document it, had more to do with wishing to relearn what it was like to be a resident. Or, as Wes Jackson would phrase it, to be native to this place.
When Trump and the Brexiteers fail to deliver on their promises, as they surely will, a political moment might arise when (perhaps helped with a wave of the wand) there’s a chance to install a left-wing, agrarian-oriented, internationalist form of populism.
Twentieth-century America witnessed the blossoming of Agrarianism as an intellectual and cultural movement.