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Area Teacher/Farmer Gets Off the Grid, Discovers Community

January 24, 2011

Notre Dame, IN—In his moving debut book, Kyle Kramer—America columnist, teacher at St. Meinrad Archabbey, and organic farmer—recounts his candid, humorous, and hope-infused tale of coming to know God and himself. In A Time to Plant, Kramer tells how he came to experience the joys of real community through a journey of honest reckoning with his own ambitions. For Kramer, the story involved lots of dirt.

In the summer of 1999, this earnest and high-achieving private school teacher in Atlanta decided to forego a promising academic career. A growing uneasiness with the excesses of American consumerist culture had taken root in his mind and heart and had grown into personal convictions about what it means to be stewards of God’s creation.

Those who share a growing skepticism toward consumerism might simply have started bringing canvas totes to the grocery store or patronizing the local farmer’s market. But Kramer experienced a radical call to downward mobility; he heeded the voices of the unlikely prophets in his life and purchased a block of hardscrabble land in southern Indiana in order to start a small farm. Tending it back to health—one difficult lesson at a time—Kramer founded Genesis Organic Farm, built a self-sustaining and environmentally friendly home, and began to fully embrace the Benedictine traditions of physical labor, prayer, and hospitality.

A Time to Plant tells the deeply human story of one man’s attempt to make simple living a reality as a spiritual discipline for himself, as a model for his children, and for the good of creation. As Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy, writes in the foreword to A Time to Plant,"This book and the story it tells may seem in some sense quiet, mostly confined to a small parcel of land. But it strikes me as a fine and hopeful adventure, one that should give heart to all kinds of people as they try to figure out where they’re called to be."

Audio

  • Kyle Kramer on The Busted Halo Show on Sirius XM's The Catholic Channel

  • NPR (WNIN Evansville) Interview with Micah Schweizer. Farmer-Author: Anyone Can Be a Farmer

  • Mountains no More: America magazine podcast

About Kyle T. Kramer

Kyle T. Kramer is a writer, farmer, and lay ministry program director. He is the founder of Genesis Organic Farm in Spencer County, Indiana, and the director of lay degree programs at Saint Meinrad Archabbey, a Benedictine monastery, seminary, and graduate school of theology in southern Indiana. Since early 2009, Kramer has been a regular contributor to America magazine. He holds an MDiv from Emory University and serves as president of the Association of Graduate Programs in Ministry and as a regional leader in the National Association for Lay Ministry.

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