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More on Wendell Berry and the Berry Center conference

In his interview with Moyers, Berry blamed many of today's ecological problems on industrialization, unbridled capitalism and political systems that favor wealthy corporations, which make big political contributions to reap far bigger returns in taxpayer subsidies and lax regulation.

"There's no justification for the permanent destruction of the world," Berry said. "It's not economically defensible. It's not defensible in any terms."

Berry, 78, lamented that the three and a half decades since his book's publication have been marked by further environmental degradation, from strip mining and soil erosion to water pollution and accelerating climate change.

"It's mighty hard right now to think of anything that's precious that is not in danger," he said.


Read more here:

Blogging Wendell Berry's 'The Pleasure of Eating'

Rick Visser has been blogging through Mr. Berry's essay. Sometimes he just presents a quotation, but other times he expands with personal anecdotes, photos, or video. Take a look.

In his justly famous essay, The Pleasures of Eating, Kentucky farmer, poet and essayist, Wendell Berry lists seven things we can all do to eat responsibly–even if we live in the big city.  I will highlight one item each day for seven days, with the hope that some readers may be inspired to read the entire essay.  It is a foundational text in The Hungry Gap.

Number One:
Participate in food production to the extent that you can. If you have a yard or even just a porch box or a pot in a sunny window, grow something to eat in it. Make a little compost of your kitchen scraps and use it for fertilizer. Only by growing some food for yourself can you become acquainted with the beautiful energy cycle that revolves from soil to seed to flower to fruit to food to offal to decay, and around again. You will be fully responsible for any food that you grow for yourself, and you will know all about it. You will appreciate it fully, having known it all its life.


Mary Berry reflects on her mother's agrarian vision

I believe I missed this wonderful article when it first became available.

My mother’s name is Tanya Amyx Berry and she is not from the farm in Henry County, Kentucky, where she has lived for over 50 years. She was born in Berkeley, California, in 1936 into a family with deep Kentucky/California ties, which I guess were never fully reconciled. Because of this my mother and her parents went back and forth between Lexington and Mill Valley many times.

My mother-to-be married Wendell Berry in May 1957. They traveled quite a bit during the early years of their marriage. In 1964, they bought a little hillside farm called Lanes Landing on the Kentucky River. Daddy was teaching at the University of Kentucky and Lanes Landing was going to be a weekend place for us. It quickly became the place they would live, raise my brother and me, and share in the work that they do there still.


Wendell Berry conference news

The conference, sponsored by the Berry Center, builds off Berry’s seminal 1977 book, “The Unsettling of America,” which offered a vision of land stewardship and thinking locally about food production and distribution.

“We’re trying to get beyond that book” said Berry, a Kentucky farmer and author. “I hope we do.”

The conference drew 300 people to the Brown Hotel. It concludes Saturday at St. Catharine College in Washington County, with appearances by Berry, Bill Moyers, Bill McKibben and others. The conference is sold out.

“How blessed we all are to have the opportunity to honor such an exceptional Kentuckian,” said Christy Brown, a board member of the Berry Center. “He’s a prophet.”


WFPL on the Wendell Berry conference

On a warm day last summer on his farm in Henry County, Wendell Berry sat on the front porch, and read what has become perhaps the quote he’s best known for.

“Eating is an agricultural act,” he read.

This is a quote that Berry doesn’t particularly like repeating.

“I suppose it’s the sentence I’ve written that’s been most quoted out of context, in isolation,” he said. “At first I was flattered by this, but now I’m dismayed by it. Because out of context, it strikes me as a rather stupid oversimplification, like all bumper stickers. And I have never been by intention, a composer of bumper stickers.”

Over the past five decades, Berry’s written countless books, essays and poems, and he's kept a farm. Two years ago, a center was founded in his name to continue his family’s work in agriculture, and next weekend the center will hold its first conference in his honor.

The conference will celebrate the 35th anniversary of Berry’s book, The Unsettling of America, and introduce the Berry Center’s work to the public.