Celebrating Wendell Berry's 80 Years

Earlier this month about 40 Vermonters got together in a candlelit barn in Fayston to celebrate the 80th birthday of a Kentuckian who did not attend, the writer and farmer Wendell Berry.

Berry’s poems, essays and novels are part of the intellectual foundation of the American environmental movement. He has written that we humans must learn to live in closer harmony with nature, and that small-scale farming and locally grown food are a key part of any coherent environmental ethic.

Read (and listen to) more at VPR

Wendell Berry on Edible Portland Podcast

“Advice? I don’t like to advise people I’ll never see again. I have become really adept at dodging the request for advice,” said a jocular Wendell Berry, as he sat on stage with his dear friend – Amish farmer and writer – David Kline before several hundred farmers in La Crosse, Wisconsin at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the farmer-owned cooperative CROPP, best known by its brand name, Organic Valley.

In early April, I had the distinct honor of joining Organic Valley Mission Executive – and my mom – Theresa Marquez for an interview with Berry for Underground Airwaves, a bi-monthly storytelling podcast that Edible Portland produces. (Listen to the full episode above or free from theiTunes store – search “Underground Airwaves.”) Berry had been asked by her what words of wisdom he had for the farmer-owned co-op. And despite his playfully gruff answer, he has not been adept at dodging requests for advice. In fact, the opposite is true: Since he first publishedThe Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture in 1977, Berry has used writing as a tool of influence to champion the value of family farming and caring for the earth.

Read more and listn to the podcast HERE.

Wendell Berry's work inspires film, "Forty Panes"

The most powerful way to draw a portrait of such an accomplished thinker and artist with a painfully lucid voice is to attempt to get behind his eyes and to imagine the world as he sees it. Rather than train the lens on Berry himself, as would be an expected and more typical approach, this film allows Berry, in a sense, to point the camera toward the stories and landscapes he would have us regard: the stories of small generational farmers in Henry County as a way to better understand the struggles, hopes and vital importance of rural land-based communities.

Food and agriculture have become popular topics recently, but of all the major voices on this collections of issues, Wendell’s is the only one coming from rural America. How can we have a real discussion of food and agriculture if we don’t begin to truly regard, understand and better care for our rural communities and farmers?

Visit Forty Panes

Wendell Berry article among top three most-read at Christian Century

Here are the Century magazine articles that got read the most online this year. Thanks for reading.

1) Singing from one book: Why hymnals matter, by Mary Louise Bringle. “Many churchgoers greet the announcement of a new hymnal with a single puzzled, even outraged question: Why?”

2) Sticky faith: What keeps kids connected to church? by Jen Bradbury. “We youth ministers have often tried to make our ministries cool enough to compete. But every teen knows that the church is not cool.” 

3) Caught in the middle: On abortion and homosexuality, by Wendell Berry. “Nowhere has our callow politics asserted itself more thoughtlessly and noisily than in the politicization of personal or private life.”

via The Christian Century


Wendell Berry inspires entertainment magazine

In one of his college courses on conflict resolution, Williams encountered Wendell Berry’s work. The Kentucky poet and novelist’s ideas of community rootedness, agrarian support, and simple living appealed to Williams, and he has incorporated many of them into Kinfolk, with principles of small-scale entertaining centered on simplicity, artistry, and spending time outdoors.

Kinfolk launched as a quarterly, 144-page, ad-free print magazine. Though the design team had no prior experience in publishing, they sold out their first edition in a couple weeks.

The magazine’s main editorial filters, according to Williams, are centered around this question: “Does it help strengthen neighborhoods, family, or friends?” This community-centric mission sets the tone for every issue. Indeed, Kinfolk has a recurring feature on “How to Be Neighborly.” Every issue, whether addressing urban or country readers, encourages a localist investment in the community. “We put reminders into the magazine of the value of heritage,” Williams says.

 via the americanconservative.com

Guy Mendes contributes Wendell Berry photo to Wikipedia

With the help of the good folks at The Berry Center, we have received from photographer Guy Mendes a delightful photo for use in the Wikipedia article on Mr. Berry. Mr. Mendes has very generously released this photo under a Creative Commons license which allows the photo to be widely used.

I am also very thankful to photographer David A. Marshall, who created and donated the previous (and original) photo of Mr. Berry reading at Indiana's Frankfort Library in 2004 or 2005.


See the photo at Wikimedia Commons.