The Brotherhood of the Sun, a new religious movement founded in 1969 in Santa Barbara, California, operated America’s largest organic farm and was the largest shipper of organic produce in the U.S. in the mid- to late-1970s. Despite this achievement, both the Brotherhood of the Sun and its Sunburst Farms are largely missing from scholarly work on organic food, communes, and new religions. This article remedies these absences by situating the Brotherhood of the Sun, Sunburst Farms, and Sunburst Natural Foods within the contexts of countercultural new religious movements, back-to-the-land organic farming and communal living enterprises, and founder Norman Paulsen’s unique spiritual visions and teachings. Using original archival and interview data, I argue that operating Sunburst Farms was both an embodied spiritual practice and a pragmatic commercial enterprise that financed the group’s agrarian utopia while spreading its organic and mystical ideals.
Research Article| August 01 2019
Organic Farming as Spiritual Practice and Practical Spirituality at Sunburst Farms
Nova Religio (2019) 23 (1): 60–88.
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Dusty Hoesly; Organic Farming as Spiritual Practice and Practical Spirituality at Sunburst Farms. Nova Religio 1 August 2019; 23 (1): 60–88. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/nr.2019.23.1.60
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