Of Interest: Vandana Shiva Speaks in Kanas City

The 61-year-old physicist, ecologist and author from Delhi, India then served up a penetrating deconstruction of the mechanistic mindset and the industrial food system it has spawned. This is the same mindset Walmart and Target now intend to apply to organic food.

“For a short time,” Shiva said, “the mechanistic mind has projected onto the world the false idea that food production is and must be of necessity an industrial activity. That’s a world view that is in profound error.”

“When food becomes a commodity it loses its quality, its taste, and its capacity to provide true nutrition,” she said. Industrial agriculture turns the earth into units of production, farmers into high-tech sharecroppers, and is the single biggest contributor to our declining environment. She said industrial agriculture distorts the proper relationship between humans and the natural world.

Read more at The Call of the Land.


Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson

Last Friday three men at the heart of my passion for the intellectual investigation of food systems spoke at Cooper Union about Nature as Measure. In the forward to the eponymously titled book, Wendell Berry quotes longtime friend and the book's author Wes Jackson saying, "Do not try to improve on this patch of native prairie for it will serve as your standard by which to judge your agricultural practices. There is no higher standard..." In other words, no human intervention can create a more perfect natural world because nature is perfection. Just as one man quoted from the other in print, so too did the two men share glimpses of their intimate relationship on stage by completing their responses to Mark Bittman's prompts with quotes from each other's long histories of writings.

via Runaway Apricot


Mary Berry interviewed by In These Times

Small farmers must select which stones to throw at Big Ag. And Mary Berry, Wendell’s daughter, is helping them take aim as executive director of the Berry Center in New Castle, Ky.

Why did you and your father create the Berry Center?

The Berry Center’s goal is to institutionalize agrarian thought and make a movement towards cultural change. We’ve been developing a four-year farm degree at St. Catherine College in Washington County, Kentucky. We're also working on a farm school, in Henry County, to help new or existing farmers learn what they need to know to get out of the commodity economy and into a local food economy. We're talking about everything farmers and landowners can produce on their land—from timber to tomatoes—and how to keep them secure, and out of a boom and bust economy.

Read more at In These Times


On Wendell Berry's conversation with Michael Pollan

Berry in his opening remarks said, “This is about discovery or a book of revelation. That’s very much the kind of book this is. Robert Frost wanted his readers to think what a hell of a good time he had writing it. And your book very much communicates that. What a hell of a good time you had writing it.” Further on, he added, “It’s an adventure book, a participatory book. There’s lots of humor.”

“Thanks for your book review,” Pollan responded. “It’s the nicest one I’ve gotten and I really do appreciate it…The reason this book is dedicated to you is because you’ve connected the dots between very ordinary things—the plate in front of us and the farm and garden systems, both natural and economic, that organize our lives. “

via gardenrant.com


Wendell Berry talks with Michael Pollan

Kentucky farmer and writer Wendell Berry interviewed food journalist Michael Pollan last night [1 May 2013] in Louisville. ... Over the course of the evening, they discussed Pollan's new book "Cooked" and the bigger issues it raises. Here are five takeaways from the interview ...

See the complete article HERE.

Hear the complete conversation 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.

via thehungrygap.com


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.

READ MORE at ediblecommunities.com


Of Interest: "Four Questions with Norman Wirzba"

Norman Wirzba is one of the leading voices in the agrarian movement. As the research professor of ecology, theology and rural life at Duke Divinity School, Wirzba has set about on a massive project to integrate holistic thinking about food and the environment into Christian theology. He is the author of The Paradise of God: Renewing Religion in an Ecological AgeLiving the Sabbath: Discovering the Rhythms of Rest and DelightFood and Faith: A Theology of Eating and co-author of Making Peace with the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile with Creation. He has also edited The Essential Agrarian Reader: The Future of Culture, Community, and the Land and The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry.

via Everyday Liturgy