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Post-Election Thoughts from Mary Berry and Other Environmental Leaders

A number of environmental leaders have spoken to Grist.org. Here is Mary Berry's reflection.

While I deplore the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, I wouldn’t say that I was particularly hopeful about either candidate making much difference in the place I love the most.

My home is farm country in north central Kentucky. It has been in decline through many presidents, both Democrat and Republican. Kentucky’s raw materials have been sold to the highest bidder for most of the last 200 years under, mostly, Democratic governors. So my hope doesn’t lie with politicians and it never has.

I have often needed to try to convince our friends and allies that what they think is happening in rural places is not happening. Symbols are important, but a vegetable garden on the White House lawn does not mean that anything is actually being done to level the playing field for small family farmers. The urban demand for well-raised food is going up as the rural culture is coming down.

Now a man who is a product of television and capitalism has won the presidency, and there is no pretense that he is anything else. Now we know, the cavalry is not coming.

So this my hope, that things will never get so bad that a well-intentioned person can’t do what is right in front of them to do. If they are working on what is right in front of them, then the work is local work.

My father [author and farmer Wendell Berry] says that hope is a virtue. That to have it, we must work at it. He has kept alive in my mind, as we have watched the place we love the most decline, that what we are after is possible, that we don’t win but we don’t lose either, we just keep on.

See all other responses at Grist.

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