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September 2009

Blog Watch: WB, limits, humility

Emotionally Healthy | Blog.
The drivenness, speed, and intensity to be bigger, larger, richer, and upwardly mobile in China is staggering. This contrasted sharply with two novels by Wendell Berry, that I read this summer — Hannah Coulter and Jayber Crow. His themes include limits, the finite, the local and the small. These limits enable us, he writes, to grow in humility. READ MORE ...

WB cited in food discussion

Local Food and the Problem of Public Authority | Technology and Culture.
As Wendell Berry once wrote, “how we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is used.”1 In this deceptively simple statement, the doyen of neo-agrarianism neatly summarized why we should all take a keen interest in and responsibility for the way we produce, distribute, and consume our food. On one level, of course, the reasons for doing so are obvious. As “foodie” journalists and high-profile academics frequently remind us,2 careless eating invites a variety of negative physiological repercussions, ranging from obesity and heart disease to food poisoning, endocrine disruption, and cancer. Yet public concerns over the effects of careless eating reach well beyond health issues. Berry and other advocates of sustainable agriculture maintain that careless eating has played a key role in the relentless industrialization of our food system by creating a sustained and frequently unwitting demand for highly processed foods, factor y-farmed meats, genetically modified crops, and blemish-free produce shipped year round over immense distances. In turn, sustainable agriculturalists argue, the industrial system that has allowed these foods to become a central part of the American diet has incurred a whole array of ecological, social, economic, geopolitical, cultural, moral, and aesthetic costs. READ MORE ...

On WB on staying or going

Settling | Energy Bulletin.
Most of us are here where we are without substantial ability to change our circumstances in a deep material sense. I think this observation is true, but painful for many people - that is it is possible that we may move about, it is possible that we may change jobs. But we are on a gradual slide away from economic stability, away from a dream that growth could always continue or come back, away from the idea of giving our children better in the sense of material increase, and ultimately, towards the realization that we are staying where we are in the largest sense - the possibility of new frontiers has been erased.

For Americans, this may be the deepest of all psychological shifts. Wendell Berry wrote The Unsettling of America before I was born, articulating the tension, as he has so many times since, between the impulse to stop and stay, and the impulse to always go on to the next thing. The slow and painful realization that we are here where we are, and that the next thing may not represent a substantial shift in our fortunes, that the next move may not be to a better life but away from rising seas or away from too dire a situation, or that there may not be any move - that we may have chosen without choosing to stay, because we can no longer sell, and no longer afford to move, and we are here. READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: The Practicality of Morals

The Practicality of Morals – Wendell Berry « Ukiah Blog Live.
A Continuous Harmony (1972)

August 25, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

…there is only one value: the life and health of the world. If there is only one value, it follows that conflicts of value are illusory, based upon perceptual error. Moral, practical, spiritual, esthetic, economic, and ecological values are all concerned ultimately with the same question of life and health. To the virtuous man, for example, practical and spiritual values are identical; it is only corruption that can see a difference. Esthetic value is always associated with sound values of other kinds. READ MORE ...

Tickets for WI event

Wisconsin Book Festival : Wendell Berry Keynote.

Wendell Berry Keynote

"The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only hope." - Wendell Berry

When: Sunday, October 11, 4pm
Venue: Overture Center for the Arts, Capitol Theater 201 State St., Madison
This event is co-sponsored by the Aldo Leopold Foundation.
Admission to this event is FREE, but tickets are REQUIRED for entry.

Order tickets HERE.

Blog Watch: WB and 'those nature writers'

Resurrect Wendell Berry · Crucial Minutiae.
Sure, some of the language is outdated, he uses words like household; some might be jargony, not witty, too idealistic. But many of his ideas are radical and would appropriately offend people. Usually, he is wise, sharp, humble and moral, a word not highly-prized these days, even by me (I think “oh, moral, how boring, how 1950’s). READ MORE ...

A Cool Kid

Meet Happy Chickens | TakePart Social Action Network™.
Sarah Newman: How old are you and where do you live?

Orren Fox: My name is Orren Fox (there is a fox in the hen house) and I live North of Boston in the littlest city in Massachusetts, Newburyport. I am 12 years old and will be 13 at the end of December.

What grade will you be in this fall and where do you go to school and camp?

I will be in the 7th grade this fall at Glen Urquhart School in Beverly Farms, Ma. It is a great school, we have a huge greenhouse (I think it is 7,000 feet!) where we work with The Food Project to grow food for food pantries, and we also now have bees. You can see some blog entries here -

My camp is named Kieve, in Darmiscotta, Maine. We don’t have chickens, but I am hoping that I have convinced them to start a garden for next year. I love it there because we are outside the whole time.

When did you develop an interest in chickens and why?

I’m not really sure. One day I went to my babysitter’s Lisa, nephew’s house and I saw his chickens. I was immediately interested in them. So we got every book available about chickens, I read them all! Then my neighbor Dorothy, who loves animals as much as I do, mentioned Julie and her farm, Oak Valley Farm. I went and met Julie then started working with her on her farm. READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: WB and much else

The Ochlophobist: ephemeral thoughts on scandals, words, wars, loves, persons, another Berry poem, usual ochlophobic topics....
Berry's poem connotes that deep sense of postlapsarian miscalculation, of a wrong relationship to and use of goods, of an order that has been put all amuck and out of place. How can a man destroy what he loves? But any of us who have walked this earth more than one mile know that this is exactly what we do. This is the ancient violence in the heart - to hate God so much as to not merely wish our own annihilation, but to take the rest of creation out with us - to take out with us that which we intuit God loves, even, and this is madness, while we love that creation, even, the most ancient of madnesses, while we still might feel some faint pulse of love for God in our hearts. READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: WB cited in home ownership post

Front Porch Republic » Blog Archive » Against “American” Home Ownership.
Let us not, therefore, pretend that there is a deeply rooted ethos of ownership in America; the main tradition in our culture was conceived on wealth, not on property, and on “booming” not on “sticking” (to give Wendell Berry his two cents). Tocqueville rightly found the sight vertiginous, a threat rather than an achievement in the first modern nation. He correctly predicted it would aid in the creation of an elite plutocracy and the barbarization of the great masses. Our culture seems even now to have a weak conception of what ownership and property really mean, and indeed this misconception contributed substantially to our present depressed economic condition. The belief that housing was a financial investment, rather than an investment in a family’s long term stability and rootedness, led to a conception of property as measurable in terms of wealth. But homes cannot be measured in terms of wealth primarily because, first, they cannot consistently and perpetually accrue in monetary value and, second, they are by peculiarly illiquid assets — which suggests they should not be thought of as assets in any case. READ MORE ...