“A person who undertakes to grow a garden at home, by practices that will preserve rather than exploit the economy of the soil, has his mind precisely against what is wrong with us… What I am saying is that if we apply our minds directly and competently to the needs of the earth, then we will have begun to make fundamental and necessary changes in our minds. We will begin to understand and to mistrust and to change our wasteful economy, which markets not just the produce of earth, but also the earth’s ability to produce.” — Wendell Berry
Wendell Berry was born in Kentucky in 1934. He has always promoted a responsible kind of agriculture that is fully integrated into one’s everyday life. Because he promoted this vision of food and agriculture long before the Slow Food movement started, he is considered by many to have laid the foundation for the American Slow Food movement and the move toward a more sustainable and ethical agriculture.
The American Poetry Foundation says of Berry: Critics and scholars have acknowledged Wendell Berry as a master of many literary genres, but whether he is writing poetry, fiction, or essays, his message is essentially the same: humans must learn to live in harmony with the natural rhythms of the earth or perish. The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture, which analyzes the many failures of modern, mechanized life, is one of the key texts of the environmental movement, but Berry, a political maverick, has criticized environmentalists as well as those involved with big businesses and land development. Berry strongly believes that small-scale farming is essential to healthy local economies, and that strong local economies are essential to the survival of the species and the well-being of the planet.
You can view his books and biography on the official Wendell Berry site.
Click here to listen to the 2-part series “Building a Slow Food Nation,” including an interview with Wendell Berry.