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.”
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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