Upon first glance, theology and farming don’t have much in common.
Jonathan Bostic would disagree.
Jonathan, who graduated from Montreat College in 2004 with a degree in Biblical studies, runs East of Eden farm with his wife Jan, also a Biblical studies major from Montreat. How these two Bible scholars ended up in the poultry farming business was “a bit of a journey,” according to Jonathan. After college he and Jan moved to Atlanta, but Jonathan always felt the pull to take up farming.
“Certainly some of it started with Montreat College and the influence Darwin Glassford and Carol Leonard had on me,” he says. “Their focus on a gospel for all creation was a big influence.”
Jonathan’s graduate work at Regent College, and more specifically a course entitled “God in Creation,” provided the final push he needed to pursue his calling. The Bostics moved back to Jonathan’s hometown of Huntersville, North Carolina, and started the East of Eden farm.
The chickens came almost by accident. “We kind of fell into doing poultry as it was just the first animal I started to focus on,” Jonathan says. Rather than buying his chicks from a hatchery, Jonathan hatches all of his own birds – maintaining a strong breeding stock of heritage chickens.
Their way of poultry farming is much more than a job for Jonathan and Jan. It’s their God-given calling. “We feel called to create ‘good food.’ And good food from a Kingdom of God standpoint,” Jonathan says. “I often say that the ‘empire’s’ food system is bigger, faster, cheaper. But the way of the Kingdom is slower, smaller, and often more expensive. When there is cheap food someone or something is being taken advantage of.”
Jonathan’s commitment to provide healthy and ethical foods options benefits his family and his community, certainly, but he and Jan ultimate wish to glorify God through their farming practices.
“We are doing what we are doing because we see it as our calling and the way of ‘taking up our cross,’” he says. “Because it’s certainly not easy, nor great money. But one day the Kingdom will come down fully and make this earth fully known, and we are trying to take part in that now.”