The speakers spelled out the scenario this way: When production and profits are seen as more important than the quality of the soil or the quality of living, when insurance companies buy up millions of acres of farmland for speculation, when increasingly we turn over our self-reliance and self-sufficiency to the manipulation of advertising and the whims of corporate agribusiness, then it is likely that our humanity and human values will soon become as outmoded as the family farm.
To help prevent such an eventuality, Wes Jackson of the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, said that the Christian task is to proclaim over and over that greed and envy are sins, that we will not sacrifice our topsoil and our good communities for short-term interests and profits.
Wendell Berry, poet and farmer from Kentucky, in the keynote address to the assembly, called for a moral economy, one that would revitalize farming as a way of living rather than just a business, a way to make money. “The ecological teaching of the Bible,” Berry said, “is inescapable. We are obliged to take excellent care of this Earth.” He called the whole idea of Christian ecology “endlessly fascinating and relentlessly practical.”