American Agrarians

American Agrarians is an immersive, community-engaged course offered at Princeton University that covers the history of agrarian thought from Thomas Jefferson through the modern day.  Students visit farms, work in small groups, conduct oral history interviews with local agrarians, and observe practices of hospitality, gratitude, and generosity.  They wrestle with competing demands of a fast-paced, product-driven, consumer culture amidst the calls from farmers new and old to pay attention to the land, what it offers, what it can give, and the limits of the land and of a life.  All told, the course asks us to tread more lightly and be a bit more attuned to other creatures and the land upon which we all depend.

Written by:

Ben Johnston is Senior Educational Technologist in the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, a unit of the Office of the Dean of the College, Princeton University.