Putting Wendell Berry's writings to work by advocating for farmers,
 land conserving communities, and healthy regional economies.

Newsletter | August 2015


Happy 81st Birthday Wendell!

Sabbaths 2003

To Tanya on My Sixtieth [Now Eighty-First] Birthday 

What wonder have you done to me?
In binding love you set me free.
These sixty [now eighty-one] years the wonder prove:
I bring you aged a young man's love.

As printed in the Sewanee Review, 
Vol. 113, No. 2 (Spring, 2005), Page 292

Protecting Farmers in the Marketplace
Celebrating 50 Years at Lanes Landing
Mary Berry | Executive Director, The Berry Center
Wendell, Tanya and Mary Berry are pictured
above at a farm in Henry County.  
(Photo Credit:  Courier-Journal, May 3, 1961)



Summer is flying by. The older I get the faster the seasons go. Lost in the flurry of work at The Berry Center is, to me, an important anniversary. Fifty years ago this summer my parents Tanya and Wendell Berry moved to Lanes Landing Farm in Henry County, Kentucky. They were nice enough to bring my brother Den and me with them. Den was three and I was seven. It was 1965.  


By then we had lived in Europe, California, and New York City with stays in Kentucky between moves.  It is hard for me to believe now but the intention was to buy the farm as a weekend and summer place. My father says of my mother that she has made his work possible. Anyone knows that when he says that he means that she has made the whole of life at Lanes Landing possible.  

Grass Fed Beef and Global Warming:  A Closer Look
Sarah Fritschner | Coordinator, Louisville Farm to Table

Sarah Fritschner
Louisville Farm to Table

A resounding "huzzah" was released like so much methane gas among vegans and vegetarians when the UN Food and Agriculture Organization released its report "Livestock's Long Shadow" in 2006.


The well-annotated study alerted us all to "the very substantial contribution of animal agriculture to climate change and air pollution, to land, soil and water degradation and to the reduction of biodiversity" and "to encourage decisive measures. . . . .for mitigating the damage."


Extensive grazing, says the report, degrades cropland. Ruminant-produced methane and livestock economies contribute more to climate change than transportation, it says. Livestock accounts for 8% of the world's water use, mostly to irrigate feed grains. Rainforest destruction, pesticide use, nitrogen runoff etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Meat, bad. Plants, the vegetarians have said since the report, good.



The Berry Papers
John M. Berry, Jr.:   A "Fine, Honest, Capable, Fighting" Senator
Michele Guthrie | Archivist, The Berry Center

A clipping of an AP photograph with a note from a friend. 

(Photo Credit: Courier-Journal, Bobum's Clippings, Feb. 17, 1978)

This week in the Berry Center Archive I have been reading the interview by the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History's Roy Salmons of John M. Berry, Jr. in 2006. Mr. Berry was asked to talk about the Black Sheep Squadron, a group who were considered mavericks within the Kentucky General Assembly in the years from 1974 on. They were thought to be extraordinary because they determined early on to challenge the considerable and customary power of the governor (who at the time was usually from their own political party), over the legislature.


As part of my job as archivist here, I have compiled a scrapbook of Mr. Berry's career in state government and afterwards, as chief counsel and president of the Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association. 



Creating a Culture of Good Farming and Land Use
Teach me Work That Honors Thy Work
Dr. Leah Bayens | Berry Farming and Ecological Agrarianism Program Coordinator
Dr. Cindy Gnadinger, President
St. Catharine College

St. Catharine College commences its Fall 2015 semester next week with a new president and a passel of students raring to share their summer internship experiences. 


Dr. Cindy Gnadinger has been selected as SCC's eighth president, following President Bill Huston's retirement after eighteen years of service. In a recent announcement about this selection, Prioress Sister Margaret Ormond describes Dr. Gnadinger's charge: "As Dominican Sisters and Associates of Peace, we claim our charism to preach truth through education and care for the earth. We have done this at St. Catharine since 1822. We know that Dr. Cindy Gnadinger will honor this tradition as the president of St. Catharine College."


College faculty and staff commence semester preparation today with a prayer service echoing this mission, featuring an excerpt from Pope Francis's encyclical letter, On Care for Our Common Home...


Read More.

Please contact Kristen Bennett, Vice-President of Advancement at St. Catharine College, to make a tax-deductible contribution to support the program. She may be reached by email at kbennett@sccky.edu or by phone at 859-336-7707.

Students End Summer Internships at The Berry Center
Katie Ellis | Managing Director, The Berry Center

Fifteen students enrolled in the Berry Farming Program and Louisville FoodWorks Program gathered at The Berry Center last week for a luncheon and conversation with Wendell.  Together we celebrated a summer full of learning and accomplishments at their respective jobs and internships.  Students worked at a variety of organizations locally and globally including the Refugee Agriculture Partnership Program (RAPP), le Centre de Formation Professinnelle Non-Formelle, agriculture college (in Burkina Faso), The Land Institute (in Salina, KS), University of Louisville Eco Reps, Seed Capital Kentucky, University of Louisville Grey Street Farmers Market, Louisville Grows, New Roots, Inc., and Bernheim Forest.  Read more about the summer activities of Berry Farming Program and Louisville FoodWorks Program students here.

Home Place
August is "What Will Your Legacy Be?" Month
Mary Jane Yates | Bookstore Manager

It is a time for reflection on our past and present actions with intention to make positive changes that will affect generations.  


Here are a few tips to help in the creation of your legacy...


Make good friendships.


"Distant Neighbors: The Selected Letters of Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder" is a record of a 40-year correspondence between two of America's greatest poets and intellectuals.  It is a testament to friendship, good manners and the lost art of letter writing.


Read More.


Please mention this newsletter and you will receive a 10% discount on the purchase of one book during the month of August 2015. For phone orders, please call 502-743-1820. We accept all major credit cards. 

Henry County Celebrates 16th Annual Harvest Showcase
Katie Ellis | Managing Director, The Berry Center

Carden Willis, farmer at A Place on Earth CSA farm, is pictured in his market booth during the showcase.
For the past 16 years Henry County farmers and community members have gathered together the last Saturday in July to celebrate harvest and all things local.  

Farmers in the community work with restauranteurs to ensure that the food served at the event is local to Henry County.  Artisans sell handmade items and farmers sell the bounty of their crops in the market.  Nonprofit organizations and business come together to support one another and the community.  There's food, fun, fellowship, and a stage lineup of excellent local and regional music.  

The showcase is the state's largest all-local agricultural festival and shouldn't be missed.   We are grateful for the vision and hard work of many community leaders who made this day possible.  May the spirit of this day inform our each of our actions in the future.  We hope to see you there next year!  

The Common Wealth Project

The Berry Center established The Common Wealth Project in 2015 as a means of formalizing and advocating a spirit of cooperation not competition.  

We endorse, collaborate, and partner with organizations that contribute to our common wealth and make possible a stable and equitable local food economy that encourages farming, supports farmers, and allows them to farm well.  

"An Evening with Mark Bittman" Hosted by The Berry Center and Locust Grove 

New York Times op-ed
writer Mark Bittman
Photo Credit:  Fred Conrad

As a chef and the author of How To Cook Everything and VB6, New York Times op-ed writer Mark Bittman is interested in the people who source what he cooks--and in the economic difficulties even the best farmers can face in making a living.  He has written frequently on the need for us to pay more attention to the economics of raising and selling healthy food.

"An Evening with Mark Bittman" is the first Common Wealth Project event organized by The Berry Center and Locust Grove.  It will celebrate the successes Louisville has seen in improving rural and urban ties, and the vibrant food economy that connects rural Kentucky to Louisville.

Locust Grove is a historic home museum on 55 rolling acres where Louisville founder and Revolutionary War hero George Rogers Clark spent his last years.  As one of the oldest farm sites in Louisville, it is a fitting spot for a night devoted to a discussion of the business of local food.

"An Evening with Mark Bittman" will be held on Wed., Sept. 9, 2015.  The night begins at 5:30 under a tent in the gardens at Locust Grove with cocktails and heavy hors d'oeuvres made by award-winning chef Kathy Cary of Lilly's, a Louisville pioneer in sourcing her ingredients locally.  Mr. Bittman will speak at 6:45.  


A limited number of patron and sponsored farmer tickets are available for purchase online.  


Become a Friend of The Berry Center Today

We invite you to join us as a friend of The Berry Center by making a tax-deductible charitable contribution online or by mail.  Together we will continue to put Wendell Berry's writings to work by advocating for farmers, land conserving communities, and healthy regional economies.  

Planter $1 - $249

Planting the seeds of change for small farmers.


Producer $250 - $999

Producing programs and policies that protect farmers in the marketplace.


Cultivator $1,000 - $2,499

Cultivating agrarian thought.


Harvester $2,500 - $4,999

Working for a harvest that does no damage to the ecosphere.


Sustainer $5,000 +

Sustaining our long-term work to create a national model of rural-urban connectedness.


The Berry Center         111 South Main Street          P.O. Box 582        New Castle, KY 40050