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August 2009
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Blog Watch: Place and placelessness

On Foul Odors and the Demands of Place: A Literary Jaunt | Front Porch Republic.
That both Ford and Berry often rely on recursive looping narratives, or that both feel the fault lines of loss trembling beneath them, does nothing to diminish the unassailable fact that, in the end, about all they have in common is the English language. To get right down to brass tacks: Berry is a placed writer at the heart of whose novels is place in all its particularity—this stand of old-growth oak, that creek bed, this barber shop. “You’ve got to know where you are,” he says again and again. “You’ve got to consult the genius of the place.” Ford, by contrast, is in many ways a placeless writer at the heart of whose novels is placelessness in all its generality—the Holiday Inn, the interstate, the office. “Place,” says the peripatetic Frank Bascomb in Independence Day, “means nothing.” READ MORE ...

Jackson named PCI fellow

Land Institute President Wes Jackson announced as new Post Carbon Institute Fellow | Energy Bulletin.
Wes Jackson is one of the foremost figures in the international sustainable agriculture movement.

Founder and president of The Land Institute in Salinas, Kansas, he has pioneered reserach in Natural Systems Agriculture — including perennial grains, perennial polycultures, and intercropping — for over 30 years. He was a professor of biology at Kansas Wesleyan and later established the Environmental Studies program at California State University, Sacramento, where he became a tenured full professor. He is the author of several books including Becoming Native to This Place (1994), Altars of Unhewn Stone (1987), and New Roots for Agriculture (1980). READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: M. Pollan in Cincinnati

Cincinnati.Com | Cincinnati Enquirer | Campbell’s Scoop » Michael Pollan at Xavier.
He focused this lecture on personal health and nutrition, why food choices seem so complicated, and why America leads the world in heart disease, obesity and Type 2 diabetes. With on-stage props like Fruit Loops, which is now sold with a “healthy choices” stamp, or Splenda with fiber, (is that a food? he asked) he talked about the role of “nutritionism” in confusing us about food and its purpose, and in ruining America’s health. ”Nutritionism” is to him our ideology of thinking of food as mere delivery system for nutrients, and our tendency to demonize or idolize particular nutrients–like fat, for instance. The low-fat craze has been a public health disaster, he said. Americans now eat 300 more calories a day than they did before the campaign to limit fat. READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: WB quoted in chemical pollution post

Chemical Jigsaw Puzzles « Ukiah Blog Live.
A few days ago, I stopped into Dave’s Mulligan Books and purchased three wonderful books, one of which was Wendell Berry’s “The Way of Ignorance and Other Essays”. What he writes therein I feel to be apropos our situation. I quote:

“As signs, or perhaps symptoms, of the general destructiveness of the industrial economy, we now have hundreds of large and small organizations devoted to protecting or saving things of value that are endangered: peace, kindness, freedom, childhood, health, wilderness areas, rivers, species of plants and animals, cultures, languages, farmland, family farms, farm families, families, the atmosphere, scenic roads, fine old buildings, historic places, holy places, quietness, darkness. More, and more, as I tell over our lengthening catalog of calamities and discouragements, I think of these organizations. I think of them with great sympathy, and with love, for I think they are the basis of our worldly hope. They are the basis of our right to hope that our own greatly endangered species may somehow be saved, if not from extinction, at least from the necessity of recognizing itself as the ultimate parasite, deserving extinction. …” READ MORE ...