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A Time to Plant
Life Lessons in Work, Prayer, and Dirt
Author: Kyle T. Kramer
Foreword by: Bill McKibben
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5 inches
Imprint: Sorin Books
On-sale date: January 1, 2011
Writer, teacher, and farmer Kyle T. Kramer presents the honest, humorous, and uplifting story of coming to know God and himself and beginning to understand life as prayer in A Time to Plant: Life Lessons in Work, Prayer, and Dirt. For Kramer, this came about through rejecting consumerism, creating an organic farm, and raising a family in rural southern Indiana.
In his moving debut book, America columnist Kyle Kramer recounts the sometimes-gritty story of how he came to experience the joys of real community through a journey of honest reckoning with his own ambitions. For Kramer, this story involves lots of dirt.
In the summer of 1999, Kramer, an earnest and high-achieving private school teacher in Atlanta, decided to forgo a promising academic career. Instead, 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 is a 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.
"A commendable, non-romantic book on spirituality and the land."
"[Kramer's] homesteading is hardly glamorous, nor does he issue a back-to-the-land clarion call. His enterprise is modest and deeply personal; he cultivates his farm, marries, has children, and has an off-farm job at a nearby Benedictine monastery. . . . Kramer has written a commendable, non-romantic book on spirituality and the land."
"A humble and charming meditation on spirituality and nature."
"Inspired by the work of Luke Timothy Johnson, Wendell Berry, and especially Scott Russell Sanders, Kramer explains his gradual transformation from a self-proclaimed "motor head" (he loved mechanical things) with little interest in ecology to the person that he is today. A humble and charming meditation on spirituality and nature."
"Filled with discovery, exclamations of pure love, and plenty of humor."
"Kramer's slim book is filled with discovery, exclamations of pure love, and plenty of humor. It's the humor that makes this book so easy and enjoyable to read. Other heartfelt books can occasionally fall into a pattern of self-righteousness, but Kramer doesn't hesitate to poke fun at himself and reveal his weaknesses. His honesty and ability to laugh at himself make his writing inviting."
"Honest, compelling, funny."
"Kramer is a superb writer—honest, compelling, funny, even self-effacing at times—and I found myself drawn into his story, and I breezed through the book in one sitting."
"Luminous encounters with the divine."
"Kramer's quest to build himself a place that he could call home, both on the land and in the community of faith, details the gritty work of tilling the soil as well as the author's luminous encounters with the divine, as revealed in the simple things of life. Farming and construction work as meditation? Kramer shows us that it can be done."
Spirituality & Health
"An engaging narrative."
"Kramer's work is an engaging narrative that almost imperceptibly starts to nibble at your heart and challenge your spirit."
"Illustrates the possibilities of a life of hope."
"A book that illustrates the possibilities of a life of hope—a form of work, prayer, and community. . . . In an age of much darkness, of much loveless living, we need testimonies to hope that are not captive to the myths of progress. A Time to Plant offers us such a testimony of a life seeking to live deeply, fully, present."
The Englewood Review of Books
"A fine and hopeful adventure."
"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."
Bill McKibben, Author of Deep Economy (from the foreword)
"An important new voice."
"An important new voice in Catholic spirituality, a voice that is charming and challenging, filled with youthful energy and the wisdom of the ages."
Luke Timothy Johnson, Author of
The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why It Matters
"Humble, experiential passion."
"Unlike many who extol the virtues of sustainable living for political or intellectual reasons, Kramer speaks gently here, making his argument with spiritual candor and a kind of humble, experiential passion that is itself endearing as well as persuasive."
Phyllis Tickle, Author of The Great Emergence
"A moving record."
“Anyone who sets out to 'live with soul, head, and hands fully engaged,' as Kyle Kramer does, is bound to lead a strenuous life. Ten years into an experiment in homesteading, he offers us a moving record of his effort to answer the call of high ideals while meeting the demands of farming, house-building, marriage, fatherhood, neighborliness, and a full-time job. How he found time and energy to write these pages, and to write them so well, so honestly, so perceptively, is a wonder. One comes away feeling it was love that set Kramer’s words flowing—love for a place, for his wife and their young children, for good work, and for the mysterious ground from which everything rises.”
Scott Russell Sanders, Author of A Private History of Awe
"Tonic for the soul."
"Kyle Kramer has written an inspiring account of his efforts to live as a responsible citizen of planet earth. His efforts to 'homestead' in southern Indiana were the result of his fiery idealism, and at first he managed to live with almost no carbon footprint. This is a good read and, even better, it is tonic for the soul of anyone who wonders how to live in the twenty-first century with a good conscience."
Terrence G. Kardong, O.S.B.,
Editor of The American Benedictine Review
"An engaging read."
"An engaging read, and Kramer is to be commended for asking the right questions of himself and the rest of us. He and his family would be welcomed dinner guests in our house."
Dr. Christopher Thompson
National Catholic Rural Life Conference
- "Mountains No More" podcast for America magazine
- Kyle Kramer interviewed on The Nick & Josh Podcast
- Kyle Kramer interviewed by Judy Zarick on American Catholic Radio
- Kyle Kramer on The Busted Halo Show on Sirius XM's The Catholic Channel
- WNIN Morning Edition interview at Genesis Organic Farm
- Notre Dame Center for Liturgy Lecture: Fruit of the Earth Work of Human Hands
Up in the Sky and Down to Earth: A Catholic Conversation about Climate and Creation Care