Margaret L. Eppig, Ph.D., is a 2017 graduate of the Ph.D. Program in Environmental Studies at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Alesia Maltz, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Rachel Thiet, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Allen Dietrich-Ward, Ph.D., Committee Member


Russell Lord, permanent agriculture, permanent agriculture movement, 20th century agricultural history, Society of Friends of the Land

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This work is an environmental biography of agricultural journalist Russell Lord and a history of the agricultural conservation organization he co-founded. Today the work of the Society for the Friends of the Land (1940 – 1960) is little known to contemporary agricultural and environmental history, yet its influence continues through the fields of sustainable agriculture and landscape restoration. This work chronicles how modern revolutions in scientific and ecological thought transformed the future of American agriculture. It formed the cornerstone of an emerging environmental movement. I argue that this movement, with Lord as its literary vanguard, was the lynchpin that bound together a diverse set of conservation philosophies that transformed working landscapes and their farming communities damaged and almost lost to the physical and economic degradations of American war economies. I introduce the concept of sacrificial landscapes to describe the socio-ecological pressures and biological loss that working lands endured during the first half of the 20th century. This is important to the narrative of the origins and history of the Friends of the Land and demonstrates how ideas of interdependence and agricultural ecology were translated into workable conservation solutions.


Margaret L. Eppig

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0002-0508-7665