The fact that two white-haired country gentlemen who farm and write poetry can command two sold-out shows at Stateside at the Paramount in Austin says something, I think, about the hunger in our culture for earthy wisdom. On Sunday I heard Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson speak for over two gentle hours at the majestic Paramount, an event hosted and moderated by Edible Austin's Marla Camp. It had the feeling of a church event for secular folks.
Though the topic, as billed, was the sustainable food movement, Berry and Jackson took turns unspooling an almost-biblical narrative about the relationship of humans to the earth and the folly of a growth-for-growth's-sake economy, along the way quoting each other as well as name-checking Aristotle, Milton, EM Forster, and Joseph Russell Smith. Thankfully, it never felt like taking one's medicine.