the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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faith & fears in wendell berry’s kentucky

via Grist

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Faith and fears in Wendell Berry’s Kentucky
By Darby Minow Smith

Wendell Berry’s mind is preoccupied with four dead sheep. I join the 80-year-old food movement sage for a drink and a visit in the kitchen of his neat white house on the top of the hill in Henry County. The talk meanders, picks up steam, and tapers off until the hum of the refrigerator fills the air, but the conversation always circles back to those missing animals.

Berry has four fewer sheep, but there were only two carcasses. The others disappeared without a trace. It’s coyotes, according to a trapper who knows the beasts and how to get rid of them. Berry has never heard of coyotes doing such a thing — not the stealing of sheep, for which they have an established reputation, but for doing such a clean job of it. No telltale chunks of hide or dried blood. I can tell that the mystery rattles around in his thoughts even as we trade stories of hunters being hunted, my home state of Montana, and women who tell dirty jokes.

Berry’s mind is one of the most famous and respected in environmentalism. The farming poet has been writing since the ’60s, and has more than 50 books to his name. His timeless tomes show a deep love of nature and rich understanding of the power of community. Described as the “modern-day Thoreau,” Berry holds up the simple, good things in the world while decrying the forces of greed and globalization that sully them. The man knows how to pack a punch in just a few words: “There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.’’

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audio: wendell berry and wes jackson discuss agriculture and the future of farming with mark bittman

By Carrington Morris of Edible Manhattan

April 17, 2014

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Earlier this month, luminaries of the food movement — who also happen to be longtime friends — took the stage at Cooper Union’s historic Great Hall. Attendees flocked from across the nation to watch farmer-poet Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson, president of The Land Institute, join New York Times columnist Mark Bittman for a friendly conversation about the current state of food and farming, how we got here and what lies before us.   Read the full article HERE

 To listen to the audio, click HERE


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the mad farmer

gdart3

Here’s a  little bit of Wendell Berry for your day.

The Mad Farmer, Flying the Flag of Rough Branch, Secedes from the Union
From the union of power and money
From the union of power and secrecy,
From the union of government and science,
From the union of government and art,
From the union of science and money,
From the union of genius and war,
From the union of outer space and inner vacuity,
The Mad Farmer walks quietly away. Continue reading


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wendell berry to speak at yale

a must-see if you’re in the area!

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Poet, novelist, philosopher, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer Wendell Berry will present the next Chubb Fellowship Lecture as a guest of Timothy Dwight College and theYale Sustainable Food Project(YSFP).

Berry will appear for a public conversation at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7 in the Shubert Theatre, 247 College St. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets will be available beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 19 from the Shubert Theatre box office.

A pioneering and influential advocate for change, Berry has spent more than 50 years helping to shape the movements for agricultural and ecological sustainability. His poetry and essays flow from the rich agrarian tradition of American writing, and Berry’s relationship to his Kentucky farm has been compared to that of Thoreau’s to the forest — a place that nurtures his thinking about the value of physical labor, self-sufficiency, and communities of people living in harmony with the natural world.

more HERE


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topless america

watch this, and re-read Wendell Berry & Wes Jackson’s 50 Year Farm Bill piece from last January

Topless America.org
Over 520 Appalachian Mountains have been destroyed, covering and poisoning more than 2,000 miles of headwater streams due to Mountaintop Removal coal mining. More than 7 percent of Appalachian forests have been cut down. Three million pounds of explosives are used in the mountains of West Virginia alone every working day. Coalfield residents live with increased flooding, blasting that cracks the foundations of their homes, floating coal dust, and poisoned water supplies. Mountaintop removal literally blows the tops off of mountains and destroys, not just the surrounding communities, but the headwaters of the entire Southeastern United States.

We are ALL connected. We ALL live downstream.


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relic ecologies / a note from Severine from Point Reyes Station

A visit to my fairy godmother’s perch in Pt. Reyes Station. Barbara is a lepidopterist, a xercian butterfly gardener, a naturalist, a thinker. She reminds me about the integrity of ecosytems, and the butterflies about the peace of wild things.

“The Peace of Wild Things” by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Last time we were here we visited the 20 year burn site where Ceanothis had grown up in a thicket to cover the ash. This year the butterflies had discovered the long scar of fresh, vital Ceanothis and had congregated there to feed their young, the catapillers. The catapillers would feed, feed, feed and then turn themselves up into capsules.

butterflyThe capsules looked like alien pods hanging, dangling and swining from the clean-munched branches of the Ceanothis. They were gray and dapply and horned. Inside the caterpillers had disolved into a liquid paste- vulnerable, and delicious to certain parasites, they had developed a defense mechanism. A clap, a hum or a song would set them into motion- swinging and bobbing up and down- without muscles, without purpose, except to evade the hungry flies. So as we walked along the fire road along the scar of bare trees and sang out and looked, we saw all the metamorphic cacoons jiving up and down and moving the branches of the trees, and the trees, and the trees on either side until the whole forest was moving.

Inside the liquid begins to fasten itself to the imaginal plates- and slowly, slowly the wings of the butterfly take form.butterfly

When, wet and weak, the butterflies finally emerge, it is called eclosing. The butterflies eclose, puff liquid into their wings and soon as the sun shines off the haze, they take those new wings for a flutter.

Viva la tierra. Severine.

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