In Around The Web on October 21, 2014 at 12:23 pm
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.’’ More…
In Around The Web on March 18, 2014 at 8:56 am
From Chelsea Green
Author Gene Logsdon appears to be picking up steam as he rolls into his ninth decade. He has developed a prolific body of work as a writer, novelist, and journalist on topics ranging from a philosophical look at woodlands (A Sanctuary of Trees) to the higher calling of manure (Holy Shit), and his ever-popular contrarian look at life and farming (The Contrary Farmer).
In his latest book, Gene Everlasting: A Contrary Farmer’s Thoughts on Living Forever, we find Logsdon at the top of his game as he reflects on nature, death, and eternity, always with an eye toward the lessons that farming taught him about life and its mysteries.
We asked Logsdon some questions about his latest book, recurrent themes in the book and whether or not immortality is overrated. Enjoy.
Q1: The subtitle of your book is “thoughts on living forever.” So, after writing the book and thinking about it: Is immortality worth it? Is it overrated?
I wanted to come up with a book sort of making fun of the concept of immortality, one that would be critical of conventional religious views but not showing the kind of atheistic righteousness you see in books by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens on this topic. I more or less agree with them More…
In Around The Web on March 11, 2014 at 6:45 am
From Yale Environment 360
For six decades, writer Wendell Berry has spoken out in defense of local agriculture, rural communities, and the importance of caring for the land. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he talks about his Kentucky farm, his activism, and why he remains hopeful for the future.
Wendell Berry wrote about and practiced “sustainable agriculture” long before the term was widely used. His 1977 book, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture, in which he argued against industrial agriculture and for small-scale, local-based farming, had a strong influence
Berry has long balanced the diverse roles of writer, activist, teacher, and farmer. At age 79, he still lives on the farm near Port Royal, Kentucky, where he grew up, and uses traditional methods to work the land there. And he still speaks eloquently about the importance of local communities and of caring for the land, while warning of the destructive potential of industrialization and technology.
In an interview with Yale Environment 360 editor Roger Cohn, Berry talked about his Kentucky farm and why he has remained there, why he would risk arrest to protest mountaintop removal mining, why the sustainable agriculture movement faces an uphill battle, and why strong rural communities are important. “A deep familiarity between a local community and a local landscape is a dear thing, just in human terms,” Berry said. “It’s also, down the line, money in the bank, because it helps you to preserve the working capital of the place.” More…
In Around The Web on July 3, 2011 at 9:36 am
From KATHERINE DALTON
Front Porch Republic
[...] The word “farming” means something, and its meaning is not “gardening,” and it’s not “puttering,” and it’s not “edible landscaping.” As small farm advocate Mary Berry Smith likes to emphasize, farming must mean (among many other obvious things, like real work) putting equity at risk.
Years ago my friend “Dan,” who has farmed all his life, including running a dairy as a teenager and raising tobacco, took on a second job of selling real estate in order to bring in some extra income. Everybody knows what you’re doing in a small town, and it wasn’t long before some neighbor at the coffee shop twitted him about being a realtor and not a farmer anymore.
It was an unfair remark, but it showed how country people feel about anyone they can accuse of lack of seriousness. To call yourself a farmer without having earned the title is, in this small community at least (and I suspect in many others), not done. My husband and I have made plenty of social mistakes in Henry County, but we have never insulted our neighbors by calling ourselves farmers. We have run cattle, and we have lived on a farm, and my husband has done plenty of tobacco work, calf pulling, and haycutting; but the semantics are important. Rural people don’t appreciate the pretentions of those who want to wear the mantle of Berrylike back-to-the-landedness without sweating for it—physically and financially…
Calling our gardening hobby a “farm” and ourselves “farmers” is a way for us to fool ourselves that we are doing something more socially significant than we are—that we are part of a movement towards national self-sufficiency and greener living. But four tomatoes will not improve your global footprint very much, and a few square feet of vegetables will hardly feed one person even in July. More Farmer Dude…
In Around The Web on June 24, 2011 at 8:50 am
From OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY
Selecting an Enterprise for Small Farms Production
Small Farms Related Sites
Large Searchable Sites More Small Farms…
In Around The Web on June 18, 2011 at 9:23 am
From MARC R.
Goat meat is already very popular around the world – the Washington Post claims that goat makes up almost 70 percent of the red meat eaten globally – and its popularity could increase in the U.S. because of the convergence of several things: renewed interest in grass-fed animals; openings of new butcher shops or revitalization of old shops (such as Avedano’s in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights), and increasing numbers of U.S. residents from Latin America and South Asia. With a bit of education and experimentation by farmers, butchers, chefs and home cooks, this adaptable animal could become a key part of a return to meat raised on pastures.
Goats were the focus of a recent one-day festival at the Rockridge Market Hall in Oakland – an upscale European-style collection of food shops with a bakery, butcher, fish shop, and more. The “Go for the Goat!” festival included tastings of goat milk ice cream, goat milk caramel, More Goats…
In Around The Web on June 10, 2011 at 8:15 am
Tanya and Wendell Berry Farm in Port Royal, Kentucky
From WENDELL BERRY
E. F. Schumacher Society
For many years my walks have taken me down an old fencerow in a wooded hollow on what was once my grandfather’s farm. A battered galvanized bucket is hanging on a fence post near the head of the hollow, and I never go by it without stopping to look inside. For what is going on in that bucket is the most momentous thing I know, the greatest miracle that I have ever heard of: it is making earth. The old bucket has hung there through many autumns, and the leaves have fallen around it and some have fallen into it. Rain and snow have fallen into it, and the fallen leaves have held the moisture and so have rotted. Nuts have fallen into it, or been carried into it by squirrels; mice and squirrels have eaten the meat of the nuts and left the shells; they and other animals have left their droppings; insects have flown into the bucket and died and decayed; birds have scratched in it and left their droppings or perhaps a feather or two. This slow work of growth and death, gravity and decay, which is the chief work of the world, More Wendell Berry…
In Around The Web on May 27, 2011 at 9:05 am
From COOKING UP A STORY
Video 1 | Video 2
This is Dr. Alan Kapuler, founder of Peace Seeds, and former co-founder and research director for Seeds of Change. He currently resides in Corvallis, Oregon where he continues his research projects, and maintains his remarkable organic seed catalog.
Dr. Alan Kapuler is a man who thinks on big time scales, and across wide geographic spheres of reality.
A molecular biologist by training, as a young adult, Kapuler experienced an almost spiritual connection from working with plants. Years later, he became a public domain organic plant breeder, and an impassioned advocate for the protection of the natural world. Kapuler believes, the interconnectedness of all living things—biodiversity itself, is the true seed of life. Widely regarded as the founding father of the organic seed movement, Kapuler’s reverence of living things is embodied in his daily work—planting, breeding, and cataloging of seeds More Kapuler…