December 10, 2009

Wendell Berry 2009

This is THE guru of sustainable living. Reading everything he writes will put you in good stead to have food security in the future. The link is to a recent tidbit I came across in the Washington Post. Here is the link

Here is a little bit of the article:

Wendell's collection of essays, "The Unsettling of America," was published in the 1977. In it, he highlighted the same problems we face today: the disappearance of small farmers, increased chemical use, etc. Are you optimistic that this time something will change?

Berry: The tragedy of that book is that 32 years after it was published, it's still relevant. If it were obsolete, we'd be a lot happier. I'm not optimistic, but I think there's some reason to hope, because this conversation is broadening. We're building a constituency, an urban agrarian constituency that is devoted to farmers markets and community-supported agriculture.

Is that urban constituency important? In other words, are advocates right that we can "vote with our forks"?

Berry: You've got a farm population that's too small to count. So should we delude ourselves that we represent a politically significant population? No farmer thinks that. We're not going to get anywhere if we don't have urban allies.

Kirschenmann: One of the things that's changing, and it's still at its very early stages, is we're no longer seeing communities of farmers and consumers. We're starting to see them as food citizens. Part of what changed that is the food crisis of the last 24 months.

You mean rising food prices?

Kirschenmann: Yes.

More and more people are aware that our current food system is not as secure as we thought. One week it's [food tainted with] melamine, another week it's peanut butter, and so people, their consciousness around food issues is emerging and they're wondering what to do. They want a more trusting relationship with where their food comes from.



  1. Interesting. The part I wonder about is how we can ever go backwards, that is to a time where there was greater acreage farmed. All of our land has been developed. That is a very scary thought.

  2. How I wish more people would wake up and realize these truths.

  3. Hi ladies, thanks for the visit. I know posting here is preaching to the choir but words must be shared about this like you both did. Kelly you have mentioned before about limited land. Are there vacant farms around?

  4. A local developer is now using urban farming as a reason to develop 3200 acres. He claims he wants to leave areas in it that can be farmed (in truth, these are areas that are flooded in the winter) and surround them with high density housing to "preserve the farming history of the area." Gag. I don't know how we fight these people. At least in our county, they OWN the elected representatives. It doesn't matter that their bad practices have bankrupted our county and the state, they just keep coming back with worse ideas. In our area, there are no vacant farms, it's just that high land prices and low crop prices (the middle man gets it all) make farming hard to do. And our central valley has some of the best farm land on the face of the earth. It's going to take a real scare, I think, to reverse the trend in California.

  5. Thank you very much for your input here Jan. Your state feeds the continent, the burden of such a situation must be almost too much to bear. My heart goes out to you and the hopelessness it must instill. To make it worse by covering it with "preservation" is disgusting. Officials are owned in my country too and money talks. Peace for all