The sight of Muslim students butchering lambs at my farm left me reeling, but I was alert enough to notice that my visitors possessed Islamic rituals, rules and prayers that honored the lambs’ supreme sacrifice. I realized that I did not have any tradition of my own that might guide me in such an activity. The experience reminded me how American society has shorn food production of its spiritual dimension. Land abuse and animal cruelty result when creating food becomes a series of separate mechanical tasks.
Fred Bahnson and Ragan Sutterfield explore this issue from different directions—Bahnson sojourns among farmers in faith communities, while Sutterfield traces human ties to the land through history.