Baha’i World article highlights centrality of agriculture

June 5, 2019

BAHA'I WORLD CENTRE — In The Baha’i World, authors take a deep dive into contemporary questions, exploring insights from the Baha’i teachings and the experience of the Baha’i community. In his article Begin with the Village: The Baha'i Approach to Rural Development, Paul Hanley explores the topic of agriculture in an increasingly urbanizing world.

In the article, published on 23 May, Mr. Hanley underscores the emphasis the Baha’i writings give to agriculture as a central feature of civilization, touching on four themes. First, a sustainable future, Mr. Hanley argues, requires a reevaluation of agriculture and the imperative to live in harmony with the environment at a time when humanity faces a growing ecological and climate crisis. His article next examines the implications for agriculture of the spiritual principle that material wealth is not an end in itself. Mr. Hanley explores how the Baha’i community is placing knowledge and learning, rather than wealth, at the center of development.

Another important idea Mr. Hanley notes is how sustainable development of agriculture can help humanity to live in harmony with the natural environment. The fourth theme is the primacy of capacity building in every population to contribute to sustainable development in agriculture; in the current community building endeavors of Baha’is around the world, capacity can be built for the development of villages through the training institute, Mr. Hanley explains.

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This photo shows ‘Abdu’l-Baha in the Holy Land in 1920. In his article, Mr. Hanley describes how ‘Abdu’l-Baha stimulated sustainable farming practices in the village of ‘Adasiyyih, a few kilometers southeast of the Sea of Galilee in present-day Jordan.

Mr. Hanley also draws a thread from social action guided by ‘Abdu’l-Baha in the early 20th century to the Baha’i world’s contemporary social and economic development endeavors. Referring to earlier research looking at ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s agricultural stewardship in the Levant, Mr. Hanley provides a compelling account of how ‘Abdu’l-Baha stimulated sustainable farming practices in the village of ‘Adasiyyih, a few kilometers southeast of the Sea of Galilee in present-day Jordan.

The Baha’i World examines themes related to civilization building, periodically making available new articles. Other pieces on the recently launched website cover topics such as technology, peace, the emergence of Baha’i Houses of Worship, and humanitarian relief.