A Time to Plant

Life Lessons in Work, Prayer, and Dirt
Foreword by: Bill McKibben

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Format: Paperback

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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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.

Product Details

Pages: 192

Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5 inches

ISBN: 9781933495262

Imprint: Sorin Books

  • “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
    Board Member
    National Catholic Rural Life Conference

  • “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

  • “A moving record.”


    “Ten years into an experiment in homesteading, Kyle Kramer 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. 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

  • “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

  • “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

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Additional Resources

America Article

“Appalachia's Wounds: The biblical injustice of mountaintop removal”

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Foreword by Bill McKibben, Author of Deep Economy
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Kyle Kramer on The Busted Halo Show on Sirius XM's The Catholic Channel
Spirituality and Practice Book Review
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Notre Dame Center for Liturgy Lecture: Fruit of the Earth Work of Human Hands