Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson at Oberlin U.
Wendell Berry on Kentucky's two parties

Blog Watch: Thinking about Wendell Berry

The small farmer is chiefly concerned with caring for the land; not over-farming it and preserving it for future generations. He shapes it with his work and intelligence, and it shapes and supports him: his body, his food, his emotions, his self-esteem, even his sense of immortality. Long after he is dead and forgotten, the land he cared for will remain. The symbiotic relationship is like a marriage. On the other hand, the agro-businessman with his chemical fertilizers and pesticides quickly exhausts the natural fertility of the soil, while suburbanites and city people see land in terms of real estate value and square-footage.

It isn’t just that people who do not value the land destroy it, but that they ultimately destroy themselves. Though the small farmer is as desperate to make a profit as anyone else, he knows he can only make money through his responsible love for the land. On the other hand, those who can only see the land in terms of money, and not love, end up seeing themselves and the people around them in primarily economic terms: whether or not a couple stays married, how many children they have, how they deal with their neighbors, how they treat elderly parents, and how they care for their own bodies is determined by an unconscious (or sometimes conscious) cost-benefit analysis.

via truthandtolerance


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