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. “


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.


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.


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

Blog Watch: Wendell Berry on hope for food's future

Berry, who dislikes leaving home, came to New York with his wife Tanya and his daughter Mary Beth, who directs the Berry Center, to accept a leadership award from the James Beard Foundation and speak at the foundation’s conference about trust in the food supply. “Every farmers market is a sign of hope. Every CSA is a sign of hope. Every chef using local ingredients is a sign of hope. Every garden grown in town is necessary to better farming in Iowa. It’s all very encouraging, but the work is far from done,” he told Langholtz and I, perhaps hoping to influence Edible magazine’s editorial tone across the nation. Berry said he was optimistic since people seem to “understanding what I’m saying” in a way he couldn’t have imagined in the 1960s.


Blog Watch: Michael Pollan's Thoughts on Wendell Berry

I don’t think many of the young people coming to this movement fully realize the extent to which the national conversation we are now having about food and farming in America is a conversation Wendell Berry helped to start some four decades ago. He was talking, and writing, way back then about the folly of growing food with petroleum instead of sunlight; about the perils of monoculture, and about how all who would eat are implicated in agriculture. Forty years ago, he was already connecting the dots between the health of the soil, the health of the people who ate from that soil, and the health of their communities.