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How to "Pay Special Regard to Agriculture" in a City?

Apr 29, 2023
View of apartment roof top gardens in a city. One is a park type setting with trees and the other appears to be crops.

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

Bahá’u’lláh said that “Special regard must be paid to agriculture”1 and that, among all important matters, agriculture “precedeth the others.”1 And ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explains the importance of agriculture for the community: “The fundamental basis of the community is agriculture, tillage of the soil. All must be producers.”

by Christine Muller

So, how can we become a producer? Some people may be lucky to have a garden, but the majority of people live in a city these days. So, here are some ideas: Perhaps there is space for plant containers around your apartment building, or you could grow some herbs in pots on your balcony. How about growing some herbs from your cultural background that may not be available in the grocery store, or just your favorite ones that you use much in your kitchen such as dill, chives, parsley, cilantro/coriander, and basil? Lavender is wonderful for its fragrance and flowers. Some people even plant container tomatoes or peppers on their balconies!

In the above quote, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá emphasizes the role of agriculture as “the fundamental basis of the community.” Are there possibilities in your Bahá’í community for a community garden, or could you participate in an existing garden in your town?

Could a community garden become the “fundamental basis” of your community-building efforts?

What are some of the benefits of growing food plants?

– It is healthy to eat fresh and a wide diversity of food.

– In cities, it is sometimes difficult to find fresh vegetables.

– Food prices are rising and there are real concerns about global food insecurity.

– Working with soil and caring for plants is good for the soul.

– It is essential for the education of children that they can help with taking care of plants and see where their food is coming from.

– A community garden, even if it is small, is a great way to build friendships and community.

– You can provide food for our seriously endangered pollinators. All herbs will flower, and, of course, you can also grow some flowers, especially wildflowers to help preserve biodiversity.

1 Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh

2 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 217


Christine Muller, Piano Teacher

Board Secretary, International Environment Forum

I was interested in environmental issues already at a young age and became a Bahá’í when I was 17, which was the beginning of a life-long study of the Bahá’í Faith. As the environmental crisis was worsening, I began to systematically study climate change at a time when not much information was easily available. I also searched the Bahá’í teachings for a spiritual solution to the climate crisis. At that time, climate change was not known to most people and there were no educational materials available. That’s why I wrote Scientific and Spiritual Dimensions of Climate Change – an Interfaith Study Course, which the International Environment Forum posted in 2009. I joined the Wilmette Institute as support faculty for its Sustainable Development course in 2011 and created its Climate Change course the following year. I served on the board of RI Interfaith Power&Light for nine years and currently serve on the board of the Bahá’í-inspired International Environment Forum ( My academic background is in music and I enjoy part-time piano teaching and playing music. I would have done more in the area of music were it not for the urgency of climate action, but my musical training has helped me to better understand the complexity of the climate crisis. Christine’s articles on BahaiTeachings.orgSee Faculty Bio


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