Drawing on experience of her father's extensive farm in 20th century Russia, Catherine Doherty pleads for integrity in making the earth fecund with healthy foods.
This book urges farmers to integrate Christian principles into their farming.
Our society has become expert at efficiently taking from the earth, but what do we give the earth in return? Is this the proper stewardship of the earth that God has entrusted us with?
Concerns are growing about genetically engineered “superfood” and pesticide use. Animals are being cloned for use as organ donors. “Mad Cow Disease” is a chilling example of the real price which we may all pay for cows being fed cheaply instead of nutritiously. In this prophetic work, Catherine Doherty sheds light on these and other important issues for farmers everywhere—whether backyard gardener or industry professional.
Written from the perspective of a small farm named “St. Benedict Acres” developed by and for Madonna House (the community founded by the author), this book urges farmers to integrate Christianity into their farming, into the care of their portion of the Lord’s vineyard.
As Jessma Nash writes: “Catherine Doherty bases Apostolic Farming on theological insight: creation is fundamentally a gift, as the Genesis accounts demonstrate. She states that the earth itself is a unique gift from God, not to be grasped at, but to be accepted with gratitude and cared for. For her, it all comes down to love. We are called to exist in a reciprocal relationship with the earth. The apostolic farmer does not seek to trade a future on the land for increased productivity by pumping the land full of chemicals; he nurtures the land so it remains healthy.
“Doherty sees in farming the Fatherhood of God. Man is a protector and provider, and by farming, he truly feeds his family and all of us. She also sees farming as linked to the love feast of the Mass: liturgical worship and food always go together.
“It is through the reciprocal relationship of love that unity is developed; on the farm, man can touch the earth, reverence it, grow food from it, leading to a unity with God. Farming unites people, food is grown and all of our labor is shared as we exchange the fruit of our work for food. Doherty says that when someone gives a basket of food that he has grown with his own hands to another person, his work, sweat and tears have gone into it and it is really a part of himself. Christian unity, which comes from caring for others, is the fruit of such gifts.
“Doherty lived out her apostolic farming principles; she recognized the earth and all of creation as gift, and heard God’s call to faithful stewardship.” (Jessma Nash writes from Australia, in Catholic Insight.)