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September 2009
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November 2009

WB quoted on sustainable community

THE WORLD IS IN MY GARDEN (PART 4) « ChrisMaser's Blog.
According to Wendell Berry, for a sustainable community to be founded in the first place, it must rest on the bedrock of trust.

. . .a community does not come together by covenant, by a conscientious granting of trust. It exists by proximity, by neighborhood; it knows face to face, and it trusts as it knows. It learns, in the course of time and experience, what and who can be trusted. It knows that some of its members are untrustworthy, and it can be tolerant, because to know in this matter is to be safe. A community member can be trusted to be untrustworthy and so can be included. But if a community withholds trust, it withholds membership. If it cannot trust, it cannot exist. READ MORE ...

WB vs. BG over GM crops?

Gates: GM foods conflict threatens Foundation’s efforts | Raw Story.

Many believe that GM crops will lead to even greater crop homogenization and threaten the stability of the global food supply. Wendell Berry, one of America's most prominent agricultural researchers, told the Washington Post, “The inevitable aim of industrial agri-investors is the big universal solution... And the kind of agriculture we’re talking about that leads to food security and land conservation is locally adapted agriculture.” READ MORE ...

The statement by Mr. Berry comes from a Washington Post article from July 22, 2009 ... HERE.

One wonders about the designation of WB as a "prominent agricultural researcher" in the Raw Story report. I (Br. Tom) thought that he was a farmer.

Report on WB in Madison

Wendell Berry, monsters, and poets: More reports from the Wisconsin Book Festival | Features | | A.V. Madison.
Noting cautiously that making his first appearance in Madison might give him an over-inflated sense of self-importance, Wendell Berry packed Overture Hall during for a keynote address at the Wisconsin Book Festival on Sunday evening. The crowd responded with rapt and reverent attention, keeping so still that when Berry went for a drink of water, you could hear every swallow. READ MORE ...

WB cited in review of "Water" book

Water theme stirs philosophical musings | | The Courier-Journal.
The editors, Elena Lloyd-Sidle and Gray Henry-Blakemore, take us in part on a sort of Cook's Tour of often highly esoteric spiritual writing by often obscure scholars and gurus of the upper reaches who may cause some puzzlement.

But Wendell Berry strikes a needed balance by saying that the word “spiritual” is no longer part of his vocabulary because it suggests a separation between things earthly and things unseen. It would be fascinating and instructive to know what he makes of the contributors to the book who do not observe this point. READ MORE ...

WB cited in "Words" post

Reverence for Words: A Case Against Blogging | First Things.
Someone recently encouraged me to write more, because “words aren’t lifeblood. Words are cheap.” Words are certainly held cheap, and the blogosphere has drastically lowered the going rate.

This is a development entirely in conformity with the spirit of the age, which, as Wendell Berry observed, does not ask a man what he can do well but “what he can do fast and cheap.” Berry and I are not alone in thinking that this is a bad state of affairs. It’s no small problem that our society is trying to do very important business with increasingly debased currency. READ MORE ...

And a response HERE.

Blog Watch: Earth, stewardship, WB, & us

A Theology of Ecology - Justin Fung - God’s Politics Blog.
Because, on the most encompassing level of all, it’s about God: the one who made the earth and everything in it (Psalm 24:1). Wendell Berry wrote, “our destruction of nature is not just bad stewardship, or stupid economics, or a betrayal of family responsibility; it is the most horrid blasphemy” (Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community, 98). Whatever we do with what God has made or given — human or otherwise — is a reflection on what we think of God, the Maker and Giver.

I think the world might look very different if we lived like we knew that. READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: WB, dorms, sex

Wendell Berry and the EcoDorm « Whosoever Desires.
It could be argued at several levels that such a dorm culture, i.e., one which encourages both eco-friendly living and chemically modified sex, is inconsistent. Most obviously, one might simply point out that common contraceptives are pollutants–responsible both for harm to wildlife and infertility among human males. At a deeper level, the dorm policy fails to acknowledge the profound link between our body and the cosmos. If we learn to resolve the conflict between desire and the limits of our body by artificial means, then–when push comes to shove–we will similarly resolve conflicts between desire and the limits of the natural environment. Pope Benedict makes this point in Caritas in Veritate (noted previously here).

But Benedict has not been the only one to call for a “seamless garment” of organic attitudes. Wendell Berry, an agrarian thinker whose “green” bona fides are beyond dispute, makes a similar analogy between respect for the earth and respect for the body. READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: Thoughts about WB's "Faustian Economics"

Willed Oblivion of the Limitless Animals (Like Fire).
Willed Oblivion of the Limitless Animals

Have you ever seen a more ineffably sad group of words?

I drew the title together from among the many images depicted in Wendell Berry's stridently sophisticated rant published a year ago spring in Harper's Magazine, "Faustian economics: Hell hath no limits". READ MORE ...

WB and the prices that are paid

Dirt, Dollars, and Devices | Front Porch Republic.
When I first read Wendell Berry I confess to some mixed feelings. For one thing, while I admired the obvious pleasure taken in fixing up a house or planing a board or planting a garden, the character’s pleasure was offset for me by my self-awareness that I never have and likely never will take pleasure in such activities. My wife tends a vegetable garden in our backyard and every time I see it I experience frustration because: a) it messes up my lawn; and, b) that spot would have made a fabulous putting green. I don’t like putzing around the house or working in the soil.

Additionally, Berry’s books seem rigged in extolling the virtues of agrarian life against the vices of city life. It’s as if Berry simply took the best of the former, held it up against the worst of the latter, and then said “you decide.” This struck me as an unfair comparison. In Berry’s world, it would seem, all ambition and desire for progress is destructive, but this without any fair accounting for genuine gains. Port William doesn’t have high infant mortality rates, high mortality rates among mothers in childbirth, high rates of easily curable diseases, lower life expectancies, problems of malnutrition associated with bad crop years, citizens with rotted teeth, or deformed bodies resulting from years of back-breaking labor. It doesn’t have low levels of literacy. READ MORE ...

Pollan controversy in CA

Agriculture critic's appearance angers university alumni --
When officials at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo scheduled a free lecture by bestselling author Michael Pollan, they envisioned a lively talk about sustainable food, along with Pollan's customary critiques of agribusiness.

What they didn't expect was a wave of denunciations from angry farming and ranching alumni who rank Pollan as a force only slightly less damaging to agriculture than the Mediterranean fruit fly.

Threatening to pull his donations, the head of one of California's biggest ranching operations succeeded in turning today's planned lecture into a panel discussion involving Pollan, a meat-science expert, and a major grower of organic lettuce. READ MORE ...