Blog Watch: WB on education
Wendell Berry on WAMU today

Blog Watch: WB & MP side by side

fieldwork: Michael Pollan exists because of Wendell Berry.
... in the last two weeks I’ve re-read two important and very different books about food, land, and people: Berry’s “The Unsettling of America” (1977) and Pollan’s “Omnivore’s Dilemma” (yesterday, today, and tomorrow in every bookstore). Pollan’s writing has crystallized the energy around local, regional and sustainable food, brought it squarely into public awareness, and probably helped make it bigger (maybe helped a lot – it’s hard to say). They’re vastly different books. Berry’s is a jeremiad by a literary Appalachian farmer (and English professor, plus former student of Wallace Stegner’s and friend of Ken Kesey’s): its major sources include William Blake (“energy is eternal delight”), Shakespeare (a beautiful reading of a scene from King Lear), and, not especially explicit, but pervasive, Berry’s Christianity, centered on the goodness of Creation and the sin of division from it. Pollan’s, which needs less introduction, is systems theory and vicarious gourmandizing, courtesy of a somewhat faux-naif narrator who manages, with enormous energy and ingenuity, to trace the ecological sources and effects of industrial, local (and Whole Foods’ “industrial organic”), and hunter-gathered foods. READ MORE ...


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