Audio of Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, Mark Bittman Conversation
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Wendell Berry and the Yale Sustainable Farm Project

Although he has never been a full-time farmer, Berry credits his rural upbringing as essential to his illustrious career. He smiles wistfully as he describes hanging around tobacco barns as a kid, listening to “wonderful talk by people who really know how to talk.” In addition to writing and editing, he taught English at the University of Kentucky for nearly twenty years. In 1964, Berry and his wife, Tanya, moved their family to Port Royal, Kentucky and purchased 125 acres they call Lane’s Landing where they raise grains, vegetables, and livestock. This simple but radical commitment to place has come to not only define his writing, but also serves as an embodied expression of his philosophy, activism, and land ethic. Berry believes that our social and physical hyper-mobility is antithetical to cultivating sustainable communities. As Berry says, “We’re using the word “wild” wrong. There are no wild animals. They’re not wild; they’redomestic—going about their business, making their homes. They think we’re wild. We’re not doing a good job of making our homes, raising our children. We’re just being wild!”

Read much more at Sage Magazine.

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