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December 2009

Blog Watch: WB's better economy

Wendell Berry's Better Economy - Part One - yearofplenty.
At the Food and Faith Forum last week I was encouraged to here Peter Illyn from Restoring Eden mention that Wendell Berry is a rock star among many of the ecologically minded evangelical college students he works with. Berry is a poet and a farmer and a Christian and husband. His soothing southern drawl fools you into thinking that he is safe, but then you get into his writing and see that he's a subversive to the core, a revolutionary in farmers clothing. Given our current economic chaos I'm intrigued by his vision of a "better economy." READ MORE ...

WB and others on KY death penalty

Kentucky writers urge moratorium on death penalty | Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
Author Wendell Berry and former Kentucky Poet Laureate Sena Jeter Naslund are among 39 writers seeking a moratorium on executions in Kentucky.

In letters sent yesterday to Gov. Steve Beshear and Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway, writers from across Kentucky asked for a temporary suspension of executions until an independent panel can assess the state’s death penalty system. READ MORE ...

WB at UVA, 12.3.09

C-Ville: Green Scene.
Did I mention Wendell Berry is coming?
by Erika Howsare, November 25th 11:07am

I did. With great excitement. And next week is the big event. I've noted some divergent information floating around about the location of Wendell's reading, so here's the real deal: 5:30, UVA Small/Harrison Special Collections Library Auditorium, Thursday, December 3. The scuttlebutt holds that the crowd will be considerable, so get there early to claim your seat. READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: Reading 'Life is a Miracle'

The Heidi Hypothesis: Reading Journal: Life is a Miracle.
In this book, Wendell Berry does a nice job of honing in on how you figure out what to do in a world without certainty, on where reduction is useful and where it's destructive, and on how these big ideas apply to quotidian human decisions.

Before I get into that though, I'd like to pause to acknowledge the design of this book. It was such a pleasure to hold, so agreeable to observe.

The cover is some sort of silky material - not slick - there's just enough grain to give it some substance. It feels a lot like finely sanded wood does before you apply the stain and varnish. It's just the right size, easy to slip into a jacket pocket, easy to hold open with one hand - and the page design is so clean, understated, classy... The Kindle has a long way to go before it matches this. All of which is appropriate because the pages contain the argument that the component parts of a thing (for instance the sentiment of the words and the way it feels in the hand) cannot be separated without some loss. READ MUCH MORE ...

Blog Watch: WB's Bromfield acceptance speech

the necessity of agriculture « the irresistible fleet of bicycles.
I read Louis Bromfield’s Pleasant Valley and The Farm more than forty years ago, and I am still grateful for the confirmation and encouragement I received from those books. At the time when farming, as a vocation and an art, was going out of favor, Bromfield genuinely and unabashedly loved it. He was not one of those bad pastoral writers whose love for farming is distant, sentimental, and condescending. Bromfield clearly loved it familiarly and in detail; he loved the work and the people who did it well.

In any discussion of agriculture or food production, it would be hard to exaggerate the importance of such love. No doubt there are people who farm without it, but without it nobody will be a good farmer or a good husbander of the land. We seem now to be coming to a time when we will have to recognize the love of farming not as a quaint souvenir of an outdated past but as an economic necessity. And that recognition, when it comes, will bring with it a considerable embarrassment. READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: WB on waste

PBC Blog » Wendell Berry on Four Types of Waste.
In his 1979 essay “Energy in Agriculture,” included in Bringing It to the Table: On Farming and Food, the famed writer and environmentalist Wendell Berry writes, “The most important point I have to make is that once agriculture shifted its dependence from solar, biologically derived energy to machine-derived fossil fuel energy, it committed itself, as a matter of course to several kinds of waste.” READ MORE ...

WB cited in "100-Mile Thanksgiving"

The 100-Mile Thanksgiving: Places: Design Observer.
What will be the energy footprint of your Thanksgiving dinner? How far will your turkey travel to the table?

These are the kinds of question we’re learning to ask at our planning program at the University of Virginia, where for several years we’ve been teaching courses in community food. In the first year, which I co-teach with Tanya Denckla Cobb, students inventory and assess the food systems of greater Charlottesville. In the second year, they identify policy gaps and promising opportunities, e.g., how to create a farm-to-school program, or turn vacant lots into urban farms; how food production could take place at the university; how local farmers can better connect with local consumers. In the third and final year, we look at food through the lens of global/local. We are not the only university program with a focus on food — our efforts reflect a national trend (a positive one) to incorporate food systems and local production into planning curricula. In fact, food systems seem to be emerging as the latest form of infrastructure, and ensuring a sustainable supply of locally produced and processed food is now understood to be an essential municipal activity, just as vital as providing water and power and handling waste. As Wendell Berry writes: “. . . how we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is used.” READ MUCH MORE ...