Grit Blogs > The Call of the Land

Fate of the People Linked to Fate of the Land

Berry"There is in fact no distinction between the fate of the land and the fate of the people. The pillage and indifference that characterize America's treatment of its natural resources have caused incalculable, perhaps irreparable damage not only to our land, water, and air, but also to the health and stability of human society.”
Thus spoke renowned essayist, poet and farmer Wendell Berry as on April 23 he delivered the annual Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Where he lives in Kentucky, Berry said, it has become impossible to close one’s eyes to the consequences of systematic land abuse, because the impacts of mountaintop-removal coal mining are everywhere felt and seen.

“Corn and bean monocultures destroy the land more slowly,” he added, “but down the way, down the line, the destruction will be as complete.”

"There is a growing movement among people who do not ignore those problems, whose work is the “by now well-established effort to build or rebuild local economies, starting with economies of food, an enterprise Berry described as “both attractive and necessary.”

The movement to create and support farmers’ markets, community-supported agriculture farms, and other local food economies, Berry said, is driven by “ordinary people who have seen what needed to be done and have started doing it.”

The full text of Berry's lecture is here. And an online video record of the talk is here.
nebraska dave
4/26/2012 12:16:53 AM

Stephen, I'm about half way through the Wendell Berry's lecture. It's a great lecture and makes total sense to me how stability, and being a sticker and not a boomer would so strengthen this country. His heritage from his grand father's tobacco growing encounter with big business monopoly was a great example of what has happened to our strong country. We have lost our roots to the land. I am less that one year into ownership of just a garden plot that came from foreclosure and I can already see how being connected to the land becomes a way of life. This property is in a part of town that's not so good and no one will want this land after I'm gone but while I'm yet here on this earth the plan is to have it be the best it can be. It may only measure 160'X168' but it's mine to give it care and some day it will return back to the wild. In the mean time the neighborhood already enjoys the improvements. Thanks for always bringing us back to consider our connection with the land.