Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 87

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 2 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE here specifically the produce that grows out of it and the animals that live upon it. This topic is important to me personally because I find great pleasure in preparing and eating good food and in experiencing the natural beauty of creation. In my family, both enjoyment of good food and getting outside to enjoy the beauty of nature are greatly appreciated. Even in my lifetime, I have observed changes in the health and quality of the land, and the produce and livestock that rely on the land for life. Though the conversation of environmental justice goes well beyond factory farming, this paper will focus on the issue of factory farming in regards to the ways in which such practices misunderstand humanity’s God-given role to rule, work, and keep watch; the way these practices damage humankind’s relationships with one another; and the full implications of Christ’s atonement and its cosmic healing significance specifically as it pertains to humankind’s relationship with the food they eat, the land upon which it grows, and the way humankind shares food with one another. American Farming: Industrial Agriculture and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations 2 Farming in the United States looks drastically different today than it did even a century ago. These differences are certainly a result of the vast technological and scientific advances that characterize the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, but the changes also include who farms the land, how it is farmed, and what is grown.3 These scientific and technological advances have also affected the ways in which cattle and poultry are fed and raised. In this section, I will give an overview of the current state of farming and ranching in the United States, and some of the possible implications of these practices on the land, the crops, the animals, and those who eat that which the land produces. 2. Though I am not sure he coined it, I am indebted to Wendell Berry’s use of this succinct term after struggling and failing to come up with a phrase for our agricultural system. 3. Carolyn Dimitri, Anne Effland, and Neilson Conklin, “The 20th Century Transformation of U. S. Agriculture and Farm Policy,” Electronic Report from the Economic Research Service, Economic Information Bulletin, no. 3 (June 2005): 2, http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/259572/eib3_1_.pdf, accessed October 3, 2015. 84