Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2003


Published in Great Plains Research Vol. 13, No. 2, 2003. Copyright © 2003 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


Fatal Harvest introduces and dispels key myths about industrial agriculture: greater efficiency; safe and nutritious food that is cheap to consumers; benefits to wildlife and environment; how biotechnology will save the world. In essays by leading proponents of a more equitable and sustainable food system, the book presents compelling evidence that alternative systems guided by an agrarian ethic will better address our food needs while protecting our natural environment and soil resources.

Wendell Berry cites the separation of people from their food supply and natural environment as a causal factor in our ready acceptance of today's industrial agriculture. When we lose proximity and identity with our food system, it is easier to accept the myth of cheap food that is produced and processed far away under unknown conditions. Berry defines agrarianism as both a culture and a way of thought based on land, an important alternative to industrialism based only on monetary capital and technology.