Wendell Berry Supports Senate Candidate

Wendell and Tanya Berry, along with Mary Berry and Steve Smith have written a letter to the Louisville Courier-Journal in which they express their support of Democratic U. S. Senate candidate Sellus Wilder. He is running against incumbent Republican Rand Paul. The Berrys and Smith write, in part,

We approve of his platform, which we know that he is offering as a promise to his constituents to try in good faith to do what he has told them he will try to do. We are particularly grateful for his commitment to clean soil, clean water and clean air, though he understands the long-term difficulty of that commitment.

See the complete letter HERE.

Mary Berry Speaks to Global Leaders

Remarks Presented by Mary Berry
The Louisville Harmony and Health Initiative Convening of Global Leaders In Honor of His Royal Highness Prince Charles of Wales Louisville, Ky.  March 20, 2015

The Berry Center is putting my father’s writing to work by advocating for farmers, land- conserving communities and healthy economies. Food is a cultural product and we must work on a culture that supports good farming, one that allows farmers to afford to farm well. We must institutionalize agrarianism. That involves some practical, slow, tedious work. It also involves the most necessary life affirming work I can think of except for the work of good farming itself.

The Berry Center is working to create an economic sector in which small and medium size farms can compete, make a decent living, and build thriving rural communities. We have many projects and partners including The Berry Farming Program at St. Catharine College where we address the desperate need for more farmers. Two of our projects seem to me to fit the purposes of this meeting very well. 

Read Mary Berry's complete statement HERE (pdf)

Wendell Berry at I Love Mountains Rally

Noted poet, essayist and novelist Wendell Berry was on hand again this year, but he said he doesn’t expect much response by Kentucky’s elected officials.

He said he’s been protesting surface mining and the effects on the land since 1964 but not much has changed.

“It has been hopeless so far,” Berry said of his decades’ long fight against strip mining. He noted the efforts by Gov. Steve Beshear and U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers to reinvigorate the economy of eastern Kentucky – an economy that has relied for decades almost exclusively on the coal industry.

“But it is futile to try to do something for people while you let the land be destroyed beneath their feet,” Berry said.

via nature-news-network

also at dailyindependent.com

Mary Berry interviewed by In These Times

Small farmers must select which stones to throw at Big Ag. And Mary Berry, Wendell’s daughter, is helping them take aim as executive director of the Berry Center in New Castle, Ky.

Why did you and your father create the Berry Center?

The Berry Center’s goal is to institutionalize agrarian thought and make a movement towards cultural change. We’ve been developing a four-year farm degree at St. Catherine College in Washington County, Kentucky. We're also working on a farm school, in Henry County, to help new or existing farmers learn what they need to know to get out of the commodity economy and into a local food economy. We're talking about everything farmers and landowners can produce on their land—from timber to tomatoes—and how to keep them secure, and out of a boom and bust economy.

Read more at In These Times

Wendell Berry and others to protest road construction

A number of prominent Kentucky artists are joining together to protest a potential road that would link US 27 in Jessamine County to I-75 in Madison County, commonly referred to as the I-75 Connector.

“OFF THE ROAD! A Rally Against the I-75 Connector” will take place at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 and will feature prominent Kentucky authors Wendell Berry and Barbara Kingsolver, who will express their opposition to the potential project at the Lyric Theatre, according to a press release about the event. Other Kentucky artists and musicians taking part include Crystal Wilkinson, Richard Taylor, Maurice Manning, Erik Reece, Eric Scott Sutherland, Matt Duncan, the Northside Sheiks and Tee Dee Young.

via southsidermagazine.com


I-75 Connector

"I-75 connector protest rally planned for Sept. 19" (The Richmond Register)

Berry speaks at Louisville rally

If we want to stop the impoverishment of land and people we ourselves must be prepared to become poorer. If we are to continue to respect ourselves as human beings, we have got to do all we can to slow and then stop the fossil fuel economy. But we must do this, fully realizing that our success if it happens will change our world and our lives more radically than we can now imagine. Without that realization, we cannot hope to succeed.

To succeed we will have to give up the mechanical ways of thought that have dominated the world increasingly over the last 200 years. And we must begin now to make that change in ourselves. For the necessary political changes will be made only in response to changed people. We must understand that fossil-fuel energy must be replaced not just by clean energy but also by less energy.

via blogs.courier-journal.com


"Questionnaire" and Event Photos (Blue in the Bluegrass blog)

Wendell Berry supports anti-frac campaign in MN

The following letter was written by Wendell Berry, author, farmer and environmentalist, to John Heid (formerly of Winona), in support of the Catholic Worker campaign against frac sand mining.

Dear John,

You have offered me the privilege of joining by letter with you and your friends in Winona in opposition to "frac sand mining." and I am happy to accept.

I will say, first, that there is never, for any reason, a justification for doing long-term or permanent damage to the ecosphere. We did not create the world, we do not own it, and we have no right to destroy any part of it.

See the complete letter HERE.

Wendell Berry on Civil Disobedience (The Progressive)

I have always been suspicious of people who seem to devote their entire lives to forms of protest. We all ought to have better things to do. Ken Kesey once said that the reason not to resist evil is that such resistance is dependent on evil; it makes you dependent on evil. He was right. And Edward Abbey said that saving the world is a good hobby—though he worked hard to save at least parts of it. As for me, the older I get, the less happy I am to leave home. All the places I go seem to be getting farther away. Frankfort, Kentucky, now appears as far off as the planet Saturn, and I wish it more remote.

via www.progressive.org

Wendell Berry contrasted to Occupy Dartmouth

I mention Berry because Berry is a man who has ruthlessly lived out his values. He became convinced that living normally in the modern economy is morally illicit and so he has decided to live in a radically different way. I wish I could say the same about the Occupiers.  

The panel, conducted a few days ago, was full of the usual Occupy silliness. It was incoherent from the start. It was meant to be a panel on the intersection of spirituality and the Occupy Movement, but hardly any mention of religion was made at all. At the beginning, all the students who were involved in the Occupy movement were asked to stand up to be applauded. They were praised for engaging the community in "meaningful dialogue" (what dialogue?) The fact that literally nothing has changed because they wanted to hang out in tents for a few weeks was passed over. 

via dartreview.com

from "About Civil Disobedience by Wendell Berry"

Civil disobedience is also plenty scary. At least to me it is. I have never felt one bit brave even in thinking about it. It involves a strange and risky paradox: You and your friends will be exploiting your obvious powerlessness to recover to your cause, and to your own citizenship, a just measure of power. But your acknowledged condition is powerlessness. Your commitment to nonviolence makes you vulnerable to violence. You can get hurt, or worse. It is fearful also to make yourself available to be treated with contempt. And you are, in effect, volunteering to go to jail.

via beyondrevolution.wordpress.com