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Mary Berry speaks in Mississippi

A farmer in her own right since 1981 and the director of the Berry Center, Mary Berry spoke Saturday at Gaining Ground Mississippi’s annual sustainable living conference.
“She is dedicating her life’s work to preserving and promoting the legacy of what many of us think is America’s preeminent family for sustainable agriculture, sustainable communities and sustainable lives,” said Johnny Wray, president of Gaining Ground Mississippi.
Berry said the ecological, economic and human costs of industrial farming are unsustainable. After World War II, she said, the industrial farming model called for “the displacement of nearly the entire farming population and the replacement of their labor and good farming practices with machines and toxic chemicals.”
Berry said the survival of farmers requires them to adopt methods that minimize commercial inputs while preserving soil fertility, water quality and other environmental values. One model of that is the “50-Year Farm Bill” devised by Wendell Berry and Land Institute founder Wes Jackson, which promotes moving largely to farming based on perennial (permanent) crops that require no plowing.

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