the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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moral boost

It can seem insane to the farmer to be a farmer in July– when the flies are buzzing around your head like loud drunken satellites and you’re sweating like a mushroom on the grill, sharpening a stirrup hoe with one hand, reordering that devilish self-regenerating to-do list with the next, and then, with the third– Oh. Yeah. I’m always forgetting. We don’t have a third hand…

But I digress. All of this is just to say that when the going gets hot, I like to turn to Wendell Berry for a little bit of comfort about my life decisions. And this morsel never fails.

To be sane in a mad time

is bad for the brain, worse

for the heart.

– from the “The Mad Farmer Manifesto: The First Amendment” in The Country of Marriage (1973)

And onward hoe!

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kentucky demonstration this friday: first hemp processing in over 60 years!

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St. Catharine, KYThe Berry Farming and Ecological Agrarianism Program at St. Catharine College will host a hemp decortication (processing into fiber material) demonstration on Friday, Feb. 20, at 1 p.m. EST. The event is public and open to those interested in learning about last year’s Homegrown By Heroes crop and textile research project conducted through the partnership of Patagonia, Fibershed, Bastcore, Freedom Seed and Feed, and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA). Event details on the Kentucky Hemp Industries Association website.

Mike Lewis, Vice President of Freedom Seed and Feed, a Berry Farming Program student, and Kentucky hemp farmer who tended the Homegrown By Heroes crop, will conduct the demonstration and discuss his experience working with industrial hemp.

The Berry Farming Program at St. Catharine’s is dedicated to teaching students the historic, and all too often forgotten, agrarian principles of Wendell Berry in hopes of empowering its students to ‘resettle’ America in a sustainable way that provides empowerment and security to the land and its inhabitants,” said Lewis, a founding member of the KDA’s Homegrown By Heroes program.

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faith & fears in wendell berry’s kentucky

via Grist


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.’’

continue reading

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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


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


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!


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

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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