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A Visit with Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry, possibly America’s best loved agrarian writer and certainly one of Kentucky’s most eloquent voices, and his wife Tanya, an equal partner in their literary and agricultural endeavors, kindly hosted Margo and me for coffee and conversation.  Wendell reminded me, as he has before, that wilderness protection will not succeed unless conservationists also support improved practices on farm and forestry lands. 


"Wendell Berry – The Culture of Agriculture" from Tilth of Washington

On July 1, 1974 Wendell Berry spoke at the “Agriculture for a Small Planet” symposium in Spokane, which was one of a series of environmental conferences hosted as part of Expo 74. Wendell’s speech was the catalyst for the Tilth movement in the Pacific Northwest.

Wendell had been invited to represent the “Labor Intensive Micro-Systems Viewpoint” on the panel and he was introduced by the moderator, Bob Stilger. Below is a transcript of Wendell’s speech, followed by questions and answers. Wendell’s speech, written in longhand on yellow legal pad, was the nucleus for his book, The Unsettling of America, published in 1977.