Get 2 top 10 audiobooks free with a LoveReading exclusive

LoveReading has teamed up with Audiobooks.com to give you the chance to get 2 free audiobooks when you sign up. Try it for 30 days for free with no strings attached. You can cancel anytime, although we're sure you'll love it. Click the button to find out more:

Find out more

Graham Harvey - Author

About the Author

Graham Harvey is an author and scriptwriter. His books include The Killing of the Countryside and The Forgiveness of Nature - the story of grass.

Below is a Q & A with this author.

Are you saying fresh foods aren’t healthy?
Fresh foods grown on fertile soils should be among the finest foods you can eat. Unfortunately many soils have been damaged by years of intensive, chemical farming. This means the crops they grow don’t always contain the nutrients they used to.

What nutrients in particular?
Essential minerals are often present at lower levels than they ought to be. Minerals – sometimes referred to as trace elements – are required in very small amounts, but they are essential to health. One recent study showed that minerals such as magnesium, iron and calcium are now at much lower levels in vegetables than they were 50 years ago.

Does this matter?
Some experts say it doesn’t. They claim we rely on other foods such as meat and fish for the bulk of our mineral intake. But historic studies of healthy peoples around the world showed that their daily intakes of vitamins and minerals were many times higher than in our modern diets. Therefore it must make sense to maximise our intake of these nutrients from all sources.

If we don’t rely on fresh vegetables for minerals why are these foods said to be good for us?
Plant foods contain a huge range of biologically-active compounds that play a key role in maintaining health. Together they are known as phyto-nutrients. Many minerals are required by plant cells to make these compounds, so if mineral levels are low there’s a good chance that the plant will be depleted in a whole range of other health-protecting substances.

Does this include vitamins?
It may do. The vitamin levels of many everyday foods are depleted because of the way they’re grown. For example, the wheat used in everything from bread to breakfast cereals ought to be rich in vitamin E plus vitamins of the B-complex. But many commercial wheat crops are grown on soils damaged by heavy inputs of chemical fertilizer and are sprayed with a battery of pesticides and growth hormones. This kind of treatment does nothing to enhance the vitamin content of the final product.

How about animal products – milk, for instance?
Milk and dairy products like butter and cheese ought to be high on our list of healthy foods. Properly produced they contain a huge range of health-giving nutrients such as vitamins – particularly the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and E – minerals, and essential fats such as omega-3s the cancer-fighting CLA. But to provide these nutrients in substantial amounts, the dairy cow needs to spend much of her life on pasture, the natural food for cattle. Under the current economic system it has paid farmers to take their cows off pasture and keep them in sheds for much of the year, feeding them on unsuitable foods such as grain and soya meal. This modern style of management has seriously eroded the nutritional value of milk and dairy products.

Is modern beef any better?
Unfortunately it’s a similar story. For healthy beef, cattle need to be fed mainly on fresh grass, or - in winter – on hay or silage made from clover-rich pastures. But many are fed large amounts of grain and soya producing meat that is laden with far less healthy fat.

You make it sound as though modern farming is a disaster?
In Britain the subsidy system has led farmers to produce the wrong kinds of food in the wrong ways. They’ve been paid to produce as much as possible with insufficient regard to food quality. As a nation we’re now paying the price in ill health.

Isn’t it enough to buy organic food?
Not if you want the very best nutrition. Organic farmers use no chemical fertilizers or pesticide sprays, and are more likely to take care of their soils. However, there’s no guarantee that organic produce will be richer in health-giving nutrients than other good farming systems. When you don’t know the origins of farm foods, organic provides a basic safeguard. But for the healthiest foods you need to look further. For example, the healthiest milk comes from cows grazing fertile grassland for most of their productive lives. The rules on organic milk production don’t require that cows are kept mostly on pasture.their crops will be well mineralised – there could be a structure.

Are you saying the poor farming practises are responsible for a lot of the country’s chronic ill health?
No, but they contribute to it. Food processors are responsible for stripping out many essential nutrients in their drive to sell us convenience foods and snacks. Consumers also play their part by failing to make sensible food choices. But even notorious fast food such as burgers and pizzas could be a lot healthier if the quality of raw materials going into them were higher. And that’s got a lot to do with how they’re produced on the farm.

Is there any realistic chance of changing things?
There’s every chance. It would only take a relatively few people to start asking questions in their local supermarkets about how their foods are produced. Things could change very quickly. The supermarkets are very responsive to what they see as emerging consumer trends.

And how would things change on the farm?
We need to see what a retired farmer once described as “a return to quality”. There’s no magic about it. It’s basically a return to traditional farming which seems to be far better at feeding people well than the industrial, “commodity” approach. Farmers need to start producing “nutrient-rich” foods instead of the dumbed-down, mass-produced stuff they supply now.

So there are tough times ahead for farming?
Changing direction is never easy, but producing healthier food will give most family farmers a brighter future than the present system of “commodity” foods. The current struggle to produce everything at rock-bottom prices will drive most farmers out of business, leaving just a few big players. A policy of producing healthy, quality foods will secure the future for family farms and not just a handful of industrial producers.

Featured books by Graham Harvey

Other books by Graham Harvey

Animism Respecting the Living World

Animism Respecting the Living World

Author: Graham Harvey Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/11/2018

How have human cultures engaged with and thought about animals, plants, rocks, clouds, and other elements in their natural surroundings? Do animals and other natural objects have a spirit or soul? What is their relationship to humans? In this new study, Graham Harvey explores current and past animistic beliefs and practices of Native Americans, Maori, Aboriginal Australians, and eco-pagans. He considers the varieties of animism found in these cultures as well as their shared desire to live respectfully within larger natural communities. Drawing on his extensive casework, Harvey also considers the linguistic, performative, ecological, and activist implications of these different animisms.

Animism Respecting the Living World

Animism Respecting the Living World

Author: Graham Harvey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/11/2018

How have human cultures engaged with and thought about animals, plants, rocks, clouds, and other elements in their natural surroundings? Do animals and other natural objects have a spirit or soul? What is their relationship to humans? In this new study, Graham Harvey explores current and past animistic beliefs and practices of Native Americans, Maori, Aboriginal Australians, and eco-pagans. He considers the varieties of animism found in these cultures as well as their shared desire to live respectfully within larger natural communities. Drawing on his extensive casework, Harvey also considers the linguistic, performative, ecological, and activist implications of these different animisms.

Indigenous Religious Musics

Indigenous Religious Musics

Author: Graham Harvey Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/11/2017

Celebrating the diversity of indigenous nations, cultures and religions, the essays which comprise this volume discuss the musics performed by a wide variety of peoples as an integral part of their cultural traditions. These include examinations of the various styles of Maori, Inuit and Australian Aboriginal musics, and the role of music in Korean Shaman rituals. Indeed, music forms a key component of many such rituals and belief systems and examples of these are explored amongst the peoples of Uganda, Amazonia and Africa. Through analysis of these rituals and the part music plays in them, the essays also open up further themes including social groupings and gender divisions, and engage with issues and debates on how we define and approach the study of indigeneity, religiosity and music. With a complimentary CD featuring some of the music discussed in the book and further information on other available recordings, this is a book which gives readers the opportunity to gain a richer experience of the lived realities of indigenous religious musics.

Animism Respecting the Living World

Animism Respecting the Living World

Author: Graham Harvey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/08/2017

Animism' is now an important term for describing ways in which some people understand and engage respectfully with the larger-than-human world. Its central theme is our relationship with our other-than-human neighbours, such as animals, plants, rocks, and kettles, rooted in the understanding that the term 'person' includes more than humans. Graham Harvey explores the animist cultures of Native Americans, Maori, Aboriginal Australians and eco-Pagans, introducing their diversity and considering the linguistic, performative, ecological and activist implications of these different animisms.

Grass-Fed Nation Getting Back the Food We Deserve

Grass-Fed Nation Getting Back the Food We Deserve

Author: Graham Harvey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/05/2016

For years we've been told that traditional foods are unhealthy because of their saturated fat content. In place of grass-fed meat, grass-fed dairy products, and eggs from hens running on pasture, we now mostly eat grain-fed meat and processed factory foods - and we've witnessed an epidemic of disease, from type-2 diabetes to heart disease and cancer. Modern agriculture has locked us into an unhealthy, vicious circle, with degraded foods pouring from an overstretched, impoverished landscape. There's a simple remedy: the grass-fed movement. We can make sure that the meat, dairy foods and eggs we buy come from animals grazing on or running in pasture, as they always used to. This will also put life back into our soils and wildlife back onto our farmland. Graham Harvey, agricultural advisor to BBC Radio 4's The Archers, lays out all the arguments for grass-fed food - why it's good for us, and why it's good for the planet.

Historical Dictionary of Shamanism

Historical Dictionary of Shamanism

Author: Graham Harvey, Robert J. Wallis Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/12/2015

This second edition of Historical Dictionary of Shamanism contains a chronology, an introduction, and extensive bibliography. The dictionary contains over 500 cross-referenced dictionary entries on individuals, groups, practices and cultures that have been called shamanic . This book is an excellent access point for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about Shamanism.

The Handbook of Contemporary Animism

The Handbook of Contemporary Animism

Author: Graham Harvey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 09/06/2015

Animism is an important part of many religions - from Shinto, Hinduism and Buddhism to Paganism and a range of indigenous religions - which connects the spiritual and material and holds that humans might not be unique in possessing souls or in being intentional agents. Over recent decades, research into animism has broadened its scope to consider, at one end, the vibrant roles of objects in human lives and, at the other, the possible similarities between humans and other species. The Handbook of Contemporary Animism brings together an international team of scholars to examine the full range of animist worldviews and practices. The Handbook opens with an examination of recent approaches to animism. This is followed by evaluations of ethnographic, cognitive, literary, performative, and material culture approaches as well as advances in activist and indigenous thinking about animism. The Handbook of Contemporary Animism invites readers to think creatively and critically about the world around us and will be invaluable to students and scholars of Religion, Sociology and Anthropology.

The Handbook of Contemporary Animism

The Handbook of Contemporary Animism

Author: Graham Harvey Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/10/2013

The Handbook of Contemporary Animism brings together an international team of scholars to examine the full range of animist worldviews and practices. The volume opens with an examination of recent approaches to animism. This is followed by evaluations of ethnographic, cognitive, literary, performative, and material culture approaches, as well as advances in activist and indigenous thinking about animism. This handbook will be invaluable to students and scholars of Religion, Sociology and Anthropology.

Food, Sex and Strangers Understanding Religion as Everyday Life

Food, Sex and Strangers Understanding Religion as Everyday Life

Author: Graham Harvey Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/07/2013

Religion is more than a matter of worshipping a deity or spirit. For many people, religion pervades every part of their lives and is not separated off into some purely private and personal realm. Religion is integral to many people's relationship with the wider world, an aspect of their dwelling among other beings - both human and other-than-human - and something manifested in the everyday world of eating food, having sex and fearing strangers. Food, Sex and Strangers offers alternative ways of thinking about what religion involves and how we might better understand it. Drawing on studies of contemporary religions, especially among indigenous peoples, the book argues that religion serves to maintain and enhance human relationships in and with the larger-than-human world. Fundamentally, religion can be better understood through the ways we negotiate our lives than in affirmations of belief - and it is best seen when people engage in intimate acts with themselves and others.

Food, Sex and Strangers Understanding Religion as Everyday Life

Food, Sex and Strangers Understanding Religion as Everyday Life

Author: Graham Harvey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/07/2013

Religion is more than a matter of worshipping a deity or spirit. For many people, religion pervades every part of their lives and is not separated off into some purely private and personal realm. Religion is integral to many people's relationship with the wider world, an aspect of their dwelling among other beings - both human and other-than-human - and something manifested in the everyday world of eating food, having sex and fearing strangers. Food, Sex and Strangers offers alternative ways of thinking about what religion involves and how we might better understand it. Drawing on studies of contemporary religions, especially among indigenous peoples, the book argues that religion serves to maintain and enhance human relationships in and with the larger-than-human world. Fundamentally, religion can be better understood through the ways we negotiate our lives than in affirmations of belief - and it is best seen when people engage in intimate acts with themselves and others.

Contemporary Paganism Religions of the Earth from Druids and Witches to Heathens and Ecofeminists

Contemporary Paganism Religions of the Earth from Druids and Witches to Heathens and Ecofeminists

Author: Graham Harvey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/02/2011

The Pagan tradition celebrates the physical nature of life on earth, blending science with spiritual folklore. Considering the everyday world of food, health, sex, work, and leisure to be sacred, Pagans oppose that which threatens life such as deforestation, overdevelopment, and nuclear power and invoke ancient deities in this struggle for the well-being of the earth and its inhabitants. Contemporary Paganism presents a broad-based introduction to the main trends of contemporary Paganism, revealing the origins and practical aspects of Druidry, Witchcraft, Goddess Spirituality and Magic, Shamanism, and Geomancy, among others. Making use of both traditional history and the movement's more imaginative sources, Harvey reveals how Paganism and its central focus on individual and social lives is evolving and how this new religion perceives and relates to more traditional ones. This updated and expanded new edition addresses recent developments among Pagans and includes a new chapter assessing continuing scholarly research about the religion.

The A to Z of Shamanism

The A to Z of Shamanism

Author: Graham Harvey, Robert J. Wallis Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/04/2010

The A to Z of Shamanism has the duel task of exploring the common ground of shamanic traditions and evaluating the diversity of both traditional indigenous communities and individual Western seekers. This is done in an introduction, a bibliography, a chronology, and hundreds of cross-referenced dictionary entries, which explore the consistent features of a variety of shamans, the purposes shamanism serves, the function and activities of the shaman, and the cultural contexts in which they make sense.

Religions in Focus New Approaches to Tradition and Contemporary Practices

Religions in Focus New Approaches to Tradition and Contemporary Practices

Author: Graham Harvey Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/10/2009

What does it mean to live as a religious person today? 'Religions in Focus' offers an introduction to living religions, examining the relationship between present-day demands and religious traditions, sacred texts and authoritative teachings. The essays examine how religion is expressed across the world; from Sikhs, shamans and animists, indigenous religionists in Africa and the African diaspora, to Muslims, Latter Day Saints, Jews, Japanese religionists, and Zoroastrians. 'Religions in Focus' presents an engaging analysis of religious life that will be of interest to students of anthropology and religion.

Religions in Focus New Approaches to Tradition and Contemporary Practices

Religions in Focus New Approaches to Tradition and Contemporary Practices

Author: Graham Harvey Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/10/2009

Religions in Focus engages with the religious lives of members of some of the most significant religions today. It presents religions as contemporary ways of life that motivate and inspire people. Because religious people refer to sacred texts, honour the founders of their religions, learn from elders, or mould their lives according to authoritative teachings, Religions in Focus explains the relationship between tradition and contemporary practice. It offers an introduction to religions that is rooted in the best scholarship of the Study of Religions and provides a secure foundation for further study.A team of Religious Studies scholars from many countries, all skilled communicators about the contemporary religions with which they are thoroughly familiar, introduce what it means to live as a religious person today. They insist that however old or young these religions may be, what is most interesting is the ways in which people express them today. This is not a history of religions but an insightful introduction to living religions. A guide to further study and a companion website will point to ways of building on knowledge gained in studying this book, and applying skills developed in studying people's religious lives.

What Do Pagans Believe?

What Do Pagans Believe?

Author: Graham Harvey Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/04/2007

Paganism is among the fastest growing religions in the world. It is most commonly expressed in the celebration of seasonal festivals, such as the solstices, and through the use of 'magic'; attempts to make changes in the world or in individual consciousness. Among the number of different paths to paganism are Druidry, Wicca, Heathenry and Goddess Spirituality, all of which celebrate nature. Paganism engages with some of the chief concerns of this age: ecology and feminism for example. It draws on ancient sources but allows individuals to explore their current relevance. At its heart, Paganism encourages people to live respectfully alongside all life and not to raise humanity above any other species. Graham Harvey explores Paganism's appeal and gives a clear insight into its key beliefs.

Ritual and Religious Belief A Reader

Ritual and Religious Belief A Reader

Author: Graham Harvey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 08/11/2005

What is ritual's relation to belief? to performance? Does ritual have its own logic? Ritual and Religious Belief is a reader that brings together material exploring the problem of ritual from many perspectives. Selections from the sixteenth century to the present explore the idea of ritual as a type of religious behavior, ritual in relation to belief and thought, and ritual as vain repetition. This anthology considers many perspectives, enabling the student and scholar to consider the richness of the questions surrounding the concept of ritual.

Animism Respecting the Living World

Animism Respecting the Living World

Author: Graham Harvey Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/02/2005

'Animism' is now an accepted term for describing ways in which man engages with some of his other-than-human neighbours (e.g. animals, plants, rocks, clouds), on the understanding that the category 'person' includes more than humans. The author concentrates on animism among Native Americans, Maoris, Aboriginal Australians and eco-Pagans. He discusses these cultures, introduces the reader to their diversity of ways of being animist, and engages with the linguistic, performative, ecological and activist implications of these different animisms.

Shamanism A Reader

Shamanism A Reader

Author: Graham Harvey Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/10/2002

Shamanism has been practised amongst communities all over the world for millennia, and continues to survive today in both modern and ancient forms. Shamanism: A Reader unites perspectives from disciplines including anthropology, psychology, musicology, and botany to provide an unique overview of modern writing on shamanism. Juxtaposing the traditional practices of indigenous peoples with their new and often radically urban reinterpretations, experts including Michael Harner, Milhaly Hoppal, Majorie M Balzer and Piers Vitebsky raise questions about constructions of shamanism, its efficacy, its use and misuse as a cultural symbol, and its real nature. Locating its material in the encounter between traditional and contemporary, and within many forms of response to the image of the shaman, Shamanism: A Reader is an essential tribute to the vitality and breadth of shamanic tradition both among its original practitioners of Europe, tribes of America and Asia, and within seemingly familiar aspects of the modern west. Representing the best of classic and current scholarship, and highlighting the diversity of approaches to shamanism in an accessible and user-friendly way, this clearly introduced and organized collection sets a new standard for shamanic study in terms of the breadth and depth of its coverage.

Shamanism A Reader

Shamanism A Reader

Author: Graham Harvey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/10/2002

Shamanism has been practised amongst communities all over the world for millennia, and continues to survive today in both modern and ancient forms. Shamanism: A Reader unites perspectives from disciplines including anthropology, psychology, musicology, and botany to provide an unique overview of modern writing on shamanism. Juxtaposing the traditional practices of indigenous peoples with their new and often radically urban reinterpretations, experts including Michael Harner, Milhaly Hoppal, Majorie M Balzer and Piers Vitebsky raise questions about constructions of shamanism, its efficacy, its use and misuse as a cultural symbol, and its real nature. Locating its material in the encounter between traditional and contemporary, and within many forms of response to the image of the shaman, Shamanism: A Reader is an essential tribute to the vitality and breadth of shamanic tradition both among its original practitioners of Europe, tribes of America and Asia, and within seemingly familiar aspects of the modern west. Representing the best of classic and current scholarship, and highlighting the diversity of approaches to shamanism in an accessible and user-friendly way, this clearly introduced and organized collection sets a new standard for shamanic study in terms of the breadth and depth of its coverage.

Indigenous Religious Musics

Indigenous Religious Musics

Author: Graham Harvey Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/12/2000

Celebrating the diversity of indigenous nations, cultures and religions, the essays which comprise this volume discuss the musics performed by a wide variety of peoples as an integral part of their cultural traditions. These include examinations of the various styles of Maori, Inuit and Australian Aboriginal musics, and the role of music in Korean Shaman rituals. Indeed, music forms a key component of many such rituals and belief systems and examples of these are explored amongst the peoples of Uganda, Amazonia and Africa. Through analysis of these rituals and the part music plays in them, the essays also open up further themes including social groupings and gender divisions, and engage with issues and debates on how we define and approach the study of indigeneity, religiosity and music. With a complimentary CD featuring some of the music discussed in the book and further information on other available recordings, this is a book which gives readers the opportunity to gain a richer experience of the lived realities of indigenous religious musics.

Indigenous Religions A Companion

Indigenous Religions A Companion

Author: Graham Harvey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 23/12/1999

Indigenous religions are the majority of the world's religions. This Companion shows how much they can contribute to a richer understanding of human identity, action and relationships. It also challenges their marginalization in the study of religions. An international team of contributors discuss representative indigenous religions from all continents in relation to significant themes. In the process they illustrate a variety of approaches to the study of religions. The Companion therefore provides a valuable resource and a provocation to a full consideration both of some of the most dynamic religions of the world and of ways in which they might be approached. The 17 chapters are divided among three parts labelled People , Power and Gifts which encapsulate much of what is significant about a diversity of religions which are often pragmatic, multi-stranded, layered, non-dogmatic but unanalytical. They are frequently concerned with reciprocal rather than hierarchical relationships. Some challenge the obesssion with deities, showing that religions are concerned with a far broader range of relationships, many initiated and furthered by humanity not by putative spiritual beings. Others challenge obsessions about the afterlife or next world, showing that religions can be concerned with the pursuit of health, wealth and happiness in this world now. The possibility that this is true of all religions makes this Companion relevant to everyone interested in human religiosity today.

The Killing Of The Countryside

The Killing Of The Countryside

Author: Graham Harvey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/03/1998

Over then past fifty years the British countryside has changed out of all recognition. A wide range of wildlife species are disappearing - victims of modern intensive farming, of pesticides and fertilisers and the sheer relentless pressure to maximise output from every hedge bank and field corner. It need not have happened. The loss of our wildlife and countryside has come about through a deliberate and sustained national policy, one that costs the British people 8 billion a year. The Killing of the Countryside is a devastating attack on modern British agricultural policy and practice and a plea for a return to natural cycles, an end to subsidies and the domination of agribusiness, and for a safe, sustainable farming system. Winner of the 1997 BP Natural World Book Award.

Listening People, Speaking Earth Contemporary Paganism

Listening People, Speaking Earth Contemporary Paganism

Author: Graham Harvey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 21/04/1997

This work introduces the main movements and trends in paganism. Individual chapters focus on druidry, witchcraft, heathenism, goddess spirituality and magic. These are followed by discussions of shamanism and geomancy. Sources of inspiration are treated next: from real history to more imaginative or poetic phenomena. The book concludes with an exploration of the ecological activities, theologies and rites of passage of pagans.