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In the twenty-four essays of this collection, Well Berry stresses the carefully modulated harmonics of indivisibility in culture and agriculture, the interdepence, the wholeness, the oneness, of man, animals, the land, the weather, and the family. To touch one, he shows, is to tamper with them all.Here he continues issues first raised in The Unsettling of America; the prob In the twenty-four essays of this collection, Well Berry stresses the carefully modulated harmonics of indivisibility in culture and agriculture, the interdepence, the wholeness, the oneness, of man, animals, the land, the weather, and the family. To touch one, he shows, is to tamper with them all.Here he continues issues first raised in The Unsettling of America; the problems addressed there are still with us and the solutions no nearer to hand, Mr. Berry writes of his journeys to the highlands of Peru, the deserts of southern Arizona, and the Amish country to study traditional agricultural practices. He writes of homesteading, tools and their uses, horses and tractors, family work, land reclamation, diversified land use.In the title essay Mr. Berry draws parallels between the Christian notion of stewardship and the Buddhist doctrine of "right livelihood." He develops the compelling argument that the "gift" of good land has strings attached: the recipient has it only as long as he practices responsible stewardship.


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In the twenty-four essays of this collection, Well Berry stresses the carefully modulated harmonics of indivisibility in culture and agriculture, the interdepence, the wholeness, the oneness, of man, animals, the land, the weather, and the family. To touch one, he shows, is to tamper with them all.Here he continues issues first raised in The Unsettling of America; the prob In the twenty-four essays of this collection, Well Berry stresses the carefully modulated harmonics of indivisibility in culture and agriculture, the interdepence, the wholeness, the oneness, of man, animals, the land, the weather, and the family. To touch one, he shows, is to tamper with them all.Here he continues issues first raised in The Unsettling of America; the problems addressed there are still with us and the solutions no nearer to hand, Mr. Berry writes of his journeys to the highlands of Peru, the deserts of southern Arizona, and the Amish country to study traditional agricultural practices. He writes of homesteading, tools and their uses, horses and tractors, family work, land reclamation, diversified land use.In the title essay Mr. Berry draws parallels between the Christian notion of stewardship and the Buddhist doctrine of "right livelihood." He develops the compelling argument that the "gift" of good land has strings attached: the recipient has it only as long as he practices responsible stewardship.

30 review for The Gift of Good Land: Further Essays Cultural and Agricultural

  1. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    I am not really finished reading this book, since I need to return to and reconsider so many of the essays in it. They are so wise, in their valuing of "earth-keeping" work, and so well written, so attentive to the craft of prose. When I was younger, Berry struck me as somewhat hectoring in tone, remote and austere. I don't feel that way at all, now. He seems to me to have sensed something decades ago that the rest of us have only begun to feel—something about the need to do things, and not simpl I am not really finished reading this book, since I need to return to and reconsider so many of the essays in it. They are so wise, in their valuing of "earth-keeping" work, and so well written, so attentive to the craft of prose. When I was younger, Berry struck me as somewhat hectoring in tone, remote and austere. I don't feel that way at all, now. He seems to me to have sensed something decades ago that the rest of us have only begun to feel—something about the need to do things, and not simply to think or direct or administer them, to work with your hands and your mind. Consider this insight, contrasting the work of gardening and the labor of exercise: "It may take a bit of effort to realize that perhaps the most characteristic modern 'achievement' is the obsolescence of the human body. Jogging and other forms of artificial exercise do not the restore the usefulness of the body, but are simply ways of assenting to its uselessness; the body is a diverting pet, like one's Chihuahua, and must be taken out for air and exercise. A garden gives the body the dignity of working in its own support" (168). I wish I could write that well. But I suspect that in order to do so I would need to be not just a better writer, but to have lived a different sort of life.. This is a truly remarkable set of essays.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    A Goodreads friend recommended this to me; she was spot on. Turns out, though, I have already read it but forgot to post anything about it. Wendell Berry is one of my favorite writers as a poet, novelist and cultural (most agri-cultural) critic. The third of these facets is the subject of this book. To my surprise, he tweets though (not to my surprise) he does not follow me. Berry aficionados on twitter should follow him.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Beyond highly recommended...once again, I think everyone should be reading Wendell Berry and especially this one. I didn't know I wasn't having new ideas about culture and health and the way we do, or don't, work to conserve the Earth. And the first essay reminded me of In Foreign Fields. The lesson here for me is to not be a consumer, to put some thoughtfulness into what you do every day and how you do it, whether you are a farmer or not. It's a lesson I've slowly realized and am constantly am Beyond highly recommended...once again, I think everyone should be reading Wendell Berry and especially this one. I didn't know I wasn't having new ideas about culture and health and the way we do, or don't, work to conserve the Earth. And the first essay reminded me of In Foreign Fields. The lesson here for me is to not be a consumer, to put some thoughtfulness into what you do every day and how you do it, whether you are a farmer or not. It's a lesson I've slowly realized and am constantly amazed that others haven't learned or don't care to.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Gatling

    I was aware of Wendell Berry as a poet, but not as an advocate of sustainable agriculture. When quotes from Wendell Berry kept showing up in the form of memes on my computer, I decided to look into this other side of this multifaceted man, and see what he had to say. What Wendell Berry has to say is that industrial agriculture is killing us. The farming of ever-bigger fields with ever-bigger machines is degrading the soil, which is eroding at an alarming rate, as well as becoming compacted, salin I was aware of Wendell Berry as a poet, but not as an advocate of sustainable agriculture. When quotes from Wendell Berry kept showing up in the form of memes on my computer, I decided to look into this other side of this multifaceted man, and see what he had to say. What Wendell Berry has to say is that industrial agriculture is killing us. The farming of ever-bigger fields with ever-bigger machines is degrading the soil, which is eroding at an alarming rate, as well as becoming compacted, salinated, and eventually completely ruined. Industrial agriculture is also degrading to the farmer, who doesn't have time to ponder the best way to care for his land, or to enjoy the beauty of nature, but must rush to cover more and more acres to keep ahead of the heavy load of debt required by the bigger and bigger machines. Industrial agriculture is degrading to communities, which are disrupted when workers are displaced to the city, where they don't find satisfying work, and they turn to crime. Industrial agriculture is also a ticking time bomb, completely dependent on fossil fuels, chemical fertilizers, and irrigation water. If any of those things dries up, and, he warns, they eventually will, the whole house of cards will fall, and we will be hungry. Wendell Berry small to medium sized farms, with animals to manure the fields, fresh vegetables to feed the family, and the support of village neighbors, farming on a human scale, better for the land, and better for people. Some of the book is ranting, the "Mad Farmer" railing at the system. Some of the book is quiet analysis, with the reasoning and data to support his rants. My favorite parts of the book are journalistic. He travels around, visiting successful small, healthy farms. He visits peasants farming the terraced mountainsides in Peru. He visits Native Americans farming the desert Southwest. He visits his Kentucky neighbors returning to draft horses. He visits numerous Amish farms, which he loves. He is saying, people say it can't be done, but it is being done. The clock can't be turned back to the past, but we can turn toward the future using the wisdom of the past. The chapters of this book are articles Berry published in magazines in the late 1970s and early '80s. It is striking to think that 40 years have passed since he raised his alarm, and yet little has changed. There is a grow-your-own movement, and a CSA movement, and an urban farming movement, but industrial agriculture has continued right along with its soil erosion, its chemical pollution, its petroleum and water guzzling. Will the system crash, as Berry predicted? Or was he a crazy old man? We shall see. We shall see.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Xeo

    “The Gift Of Good Land” is a collection of essays written between 1978 - 1981 by writer-farmer Wendell Berry. Somehow, they seem just as relevant today in 2019. Berry uses what he knows and loves - agriculture - as a lens through which his readers can view our modern way of life. His essays offer insight into the burnout and lack of connection many of us report experiencing. One of Berry’s biggest concerns is that of care and community. These are the things that help us get by, to survive and be “The Gift Of Good Land” is a collection of essays written between 1978 - 1981 by writer-farmer Wendell Berry. Somehow, they seem just as relevant today in 2019. Berry uses what he knows and loves - agriculture - as a lens through which his readers can view our modern way of life. His essays offer insight into the burnout and lack of connection many of us report experiencing. One of Berry’s biggest concerns is that of care and community. These are the things that help us get by, to survive and be happy. Not bulldozers and arrogant blindness to what already exists. In a critique of the European colonizers, Berry notes that they came with “vision” instead of “sight.” That vision was for a large-scale, monetarily profitable, uniform economy across the continent. But this was a mistake, and has made their descendants - many of us - maladapted to life. Rather than living in as much harmony as possible with the way things are, we think we must struggle to force life, each other, and the land into something they’re not. Keenly, Berry notes that this has caused a shift in popular metaphors. Instead of using nature as reference as we used to (having a motherland, God as our shepherd, etc.), we have turned our world into a metaphor of machinery. Individual human beings are now “units,” for example. This is not sustainable. Humans, as much as we like to believe otherwise, belong to nature. We are exhaustible resources. When we treat ourselves and others as interchangeable parts of a more important whole (the economy) we waste our own potential. Along with the wasting of human time, creativity, and lives, Berry comments on the agricultural waste of an industrial society. Water, soil, minerals… we flush it all down the drain when we don’t take the time to care for ourselves, each other, and the land. It seems that Berry believes this is the crisis of our time. Often when Berry is discussing the issues of our modern economy and the kind agriculture that has come out of it, he talks about scale. He says that when we have what we need and refuse to use more, we, the land, and our communities are happier and healthier for it. As examples, Berry recounts his visits to Andean potato farms in Peru and Midwestern Amish homesteads in the US. In both cases, he remarks on the relatively small acreage of their fields - on how little is actually needed when a farmer is taking good care of their land. From time to time Berry turns away from the fields to reflect on human responsibility to one another. “The ability to be good is not the ability to do nothing,” he writes in the last essay, “The Gift Of Good Land.” “It is the ability to do something well - to do good work for good reasons.” He asks his readers how we can be good to each other - good neighbors, friends, parents, spouses - if we don’t know how to take care of our world. To keep the water and air free of poisons, for example. In learning to be a good person, where does one begin? Clearly it’s a choice of lifestyle, but life is so big, so vast, so expansive, so unpredictable, ever changing. So overwhelming. Well, Berry wrote other essays that offer some guidance. In “Solving For Pattern,” he creates a list of criteria for a “good solution” (as opposed to a solution that makes things worse or completely misses the point of the problem). Some of the criteria include accepting limits, being applied and approved by those who live closest to the problem and solution in question, and maintaining a holistic worldview. What is a bad solution? One imposed by absentee experts, or looks upon technology as infallible, unquestionable progress. Speaking of technology, Berry offers another list, this one to guide readers through the dilemma of whether or not to adopt a new technology. He cautions against the idea of technological advancements as proof of progress. Technology should meet the criteria for a good solution, rather than be accepted for technology’s sake. When we regard technology and technological advancement as greater - more valued - than human life, we fail to take care of ourselves, each other, and the planet. We waste our own potential. Why have we as a culture forgotten these things, I wonder. Have we forgotten them, or is this the steady march of human destiny? Berry looks to Biblical tales to grapple with this question, pointing out that industrialism is just a modern, large scale way to idealize heros, or big, seemingly impossible, larger than life heroic acts. Stories of fabled heroes are important, no doubt. They’re inspiring. They call on us to do great things that we may normally think ourselves incapable of. But we can not live them out 24/7. While heroic acts and industrialism look more impressive in the short term than, say, an permaculturist farmer walking softly on the land, the long term consequences on the individual and their community - and the land - can be devastating. Berry speculates that because dramatic action looks more impressive than careful action in the moment, it’s actually easier to be Samson, or to rip apart a field with a big tractor, than to undertake the difficult task of being a good spouse or dairy farmer for many decades. One just gains so much more social attention than the other. However, when we pause to think about it, many of us would agree that the latter is actually more valued. And this is perhaps what I found most influential about this book. Berry’s insistence that domestic work is not antiquated or undesirable, but rather community building, empowering, and quite pleasant, is an important message. It’s a message I attempt to carry in my daily life, and the affirmation and inspiration from this mindful farmer-writer has been valuable to me. While this is an older book “about agriculture,” and sometimes gets quite technical, I recommend it to anyone looking for a more fulfilling life philosophy than many of us have access to in our day to day encounters. It’s easy enough to skim over the numbers and figures about how much a farmer spent on his horses in one year, and get to the part about why it’s important that the farmer had horses and disregarded the “obvious” modern machinery to begin with. This is the part that will resonate with most readers. Berry’s philosophy is applicable across the board - even to a city dweller in 2019.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dnicebear

    This book remains on my shelves as one I got in 1986, and I want to save for re-reading and reference. I'm especially enjoying re-reading the 24th essay in which Berry works toward some sort of "this-worldly" aspect of Biblical thought, particularly drawing from a part of the Bible I'm reading now along with a group of other First Mennonite colleagues. The part of the Bible Berry dives into is Deuteronomy, and he acknowledges "the effort to make sense of the story is especially difficult because This book remains on my shelves as one I got in 1986, and I want to save for re-reading and reference. I'm especially enjoying re-reading the 24th essay in which Berry works toward some sort of "this-worldly" aspect of Biblical thought, particularly drawing from a part of the Bible I'm reading now along with a group of other First Mennonite colleagues. The part of the Bible Berry dives into is Deuteronomy, and he acknowledges "the effort to make sense of the story is especially difficult because the tribes of Israel, though they see the Promised Land as a gift to them from G'd, are also obliged to take it by force from its established inhabitants." Berry's thinking on this matter is lively and never goes out of style.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bobbettylou

    Most of the essays in this book are memorable, quotable and just plain good. Down to earth, you might say. The final one, "the Gift of Good Land" is classic. Most of the essays in this book are memorable, quotable and just plain good. Down to earth, you might say. The final one, "the Gift of Good Land" is classic.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jay Wright

    Where has the small farm gone? Why is the small farm and good bet? Why have we industrialized farming? Is that a good idea? What can we do? In a series of magazine articles Berry answers these questions and more. It is time to realize the bottom line is not everything. Beery realizes this and states there are other factors.to consider in choosing a profession. Farming, well there may be something.

  9. 5 out of 5

    J Crossley

    In The Gift of Good Land, Wendell Berry explains the value of healthy farmland. He expresses concern over what the current big farm agricultural methods are doing to the land. While a farm may seem far from your area of concern, it affects the very basics of life. If there is no food, there is no life. The future lies in responsible farming.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Kinsey

    Reading so much Berry recently has done me immeasurable good.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    Wendell Berry is a philosopher, poet, and more, but before all else he is a farmer. He is a faithful son of Kentucky devoted to the land, to the stewardship of the Earth, to the obedience to the first commandment given in his religious tradition: to dress and keep the garden. Berry has produced other collections of essays that focused primarily on agriculture, but this is the first I've read, and while I haven't set foot on a proper farm since elementary school, Berry's crafted hand makes a man Wendell Berry is a philosopher, poet, and more, but before all else he is a farmer. He is a faithful son of Kentucky devoted to the land, to the stewardship of the Earth, to the obedience to the first commandment given in his religious tradition: to dress and keep the garden. Berry has produced other collections of essays that focused primarily on agriculture, but this is the first I've read, and while I haven't set foot on a proper farm since elementary school, Berry's crafted hand makes a man ache to experience the gift of land he writes on here. Although these essays primarily address farming, life is the subject; when Berry writes on the virtues of mowing with scythes, the essay is on man's relation with his tools. Does he use them to his intended ends or is he compelled to use them toward theirs? A piece on the role of horses addresses the need for appropriate solutions, for sensible and sustainable approaches to the cultivation of food. A few essays simply reflect on the thoughts a farm naturally brings to mind, like those of motherhood when Berry is helping deliver a calf; he is profoundly grateful, not annoyed, to have been able to play a part in bringing the new life into the world. Berry is an author who radiates wisdom; he notes, in considering the discovery of the New World, that we, like our ancestors come "with visions, but not with sight. We did not see or understand where we were or what was there, but we destroyed what was there for the sake of what we desired." The partial purpose of these essays is to generate an understanding, not of what we know, but of how little we know. As Berry muses on the patterns of nature, and attempts to teach readers how to discern and plan within those patterns -- to solve agricultural problems through agricultural means, for instance -- his study reveals how painfully arrogant we have been in the 20th century, to simply decide life was a machine that could be engineered to produce whatever outputs we wanted. Life remains stubbornly organic, temperamental even, and responding to it requires the watchful eye, gentle hand, and sharp mind of a careful husband of the flock, a steward of the land; a farmer. Related: Folks, This Ain't Normal, Joel Salatin

  12. 5 out of 5

    John

    The Gift of Good Land collects a number of essays from the late '70s and early '80s, as the sub-title says, "Further Essays Cultural and Agricultural." The heart of this collection is Wendell Berry's analysis of American culture through the lens of its connection--or lack thereof--to the land. Berry favors small, subsistence farmers over "agribusiness" or "tractor jockeys" farming monoculture crops. The collection, however, has a broader appeal than simply to those interested in farming. The fi The Gift of Good Land collects a number of essays from the late '70s and early '80s, as the sub-title says, "Further Essays Cultural and Agricultural." The heart of this collection is Wendell Berry's analysis of American culture through the lens of its connection--or lack thereof--to the land. Berry favors small, subsistence farmers over "agribusiness" or "tractor jockeys" farming monoculture crops. The collection, however, has a broader appeal than simply to those interested in farming. The first two essays, occupying 76 pages, were basically travelogues, Berry describing trips to Peru and the southwestern U.S. to see indigenous subsistence farming practices. Unfortunately, both of these essays were, to my taste, too little bang for the buck, and they really slowed my reading of this book because they didn't particularly excite me. The middle section of the book, though, is filled with incisive, insightful essays. These are perfect gems closely analyzing important questions about cultural and agricultural issues in America. I won't reproduce here all the passages that I marked to come back to, but I won't be surprised if some of them inspire future blog entries. Even almost three decades later, his essays have power and relevence, in some cases because he was writing against the dominant practices of conventional agriculture just as they were becoming dominant, and in some cases because our energy and economic situation now reflects the concerns of the '70s (and then some). The late section builds on this theoretical framework with profiles of small, diversified farmers in various parts of the country, detailing their histories and methods, and is fascinating in its own right. The final--title--essay wasn't quite as compelling for me, as it was "a Biblical argument for ecological and agricultural responsibility." It held some interest, but 1) I don't need to be convinced and 2) Biblical sources wouldn't be the way to convince me if I did. Still, the collection as a whole was well worth reading.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Written decades prior to Omnivore's Dilemma, this collection of essays sounds many of the same notes, but does so much more from the heart and with clear anger at the multitude of detrimental effects associated with agribusiness. Favorite quotes: It is the rule, I think, that we often romanticize what we have first despised [in reference to farming:] (p. x) Soil conservation, Henry Besuden wrote nearly forty years ago, "involves the heart of the man managing the land. If he loves his soil he will s Written decades prior to Omnivore's Dilemma, this collection of essays sounds many of the same notes, but does so much more from the heart and with clear anger at the multitude of detrimental effects associated with agribusiness. Favorite quotes: It is the rule, I think, that we often romanticize what we have first despised [in reference to farming:] (p. x) Soil conservation, Henry Besuden wrote nearly forty years ago, "involves the heart of the man managing the land. If he loves his soil he will save it." There are fewer hearts involved now than there were then, and more soil is being lost. (p. xii) Wherever I have seen it, no matter who owns it, mining country is a colony. Whether they are "domestic" or foreign, the interest of the mine owners is in what is under the ground; they respect no living thing that is on top of it. (p. 14) As we felled and burned the forests, so we burned, plowed, and overgrazed the prairies. We came with visions, but not with sight. We did not see or understand where we were or what was there, but destroyed what was there for the sake of what we desired. And the desire was always native to the place we had left behind. (p. 83) It is certain that as long as expert knowledge remains in the heads of experts it cannot become a solution. (p. 92) Nearly all of us have what I can only call cheap-energy minds; we continue to assume, or to act as if we assume, that it does not matter how much energy we use. (p. 165) The best kind of gardening is a form of home production capable of considerable independence of outside sources. It will, then, be "organic" gardening... (p. 167) "To be free is precisely the same thing as to be pious, wise, just and temperate, careful of one's own, abstinent from what is another's, and thence, in fine, magnanimous and brave." - John Milton (p. 187)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Meng

    ...I want to suggest that it may be impossible to defend the small farm by itself or for its own sake. The small farm cannot be "developed" like a product or a program. Like a household, it is a human organism, and has its origin in both nature and culture. Its justification is not only agricultural, but is a part of an ancient pattern of values, ideas, aspirations, attitudes, faiths, knowledges, and skills that propose and support the sound establishment of a people on the land. To defend the s ...I want to suggest that it may be impossible to defend the small farm by itself or for its own sake. The small farm cannot be "developed" like a product or a program. Like a household, it is a human organism, and has its origin in both nature and culture. Its justification is not only agricultural, but is a part of an ancient pattern of values, ideas, aspirations, attitudes, faiths, knowledges, and skills that propose and support the sound establishment of a people on the land. To defend the small farm is to defend a large part, and the best part, of our cultural inheritance. Defenders of the small farm (to use only the most immediate example) must take care never to use the word 'economy" to mean only 'money economy.' We must us it to mean also - as the origin of the word instructs - the order of households. And we must therefore judge economic health by the health of households, both human and natural. -Wendell Berry

  15. 4 out of 5

    Aeisele

    This is a collection from other collections. Now, I really like some of the essays in this, especially his trip to Peru. Berry often contrasts a small-farm economy with a large-farm economy, and while I'm very sympathetic to this, he does not seem to recognize the dialectical effect of argibusiness and urbanization, and furthermore, once those dynamics have been sealed, the nostaglia of small-farm communities. There may be some way "back", but these ways back now look like merely isolated commun This is a collection from other collections. Now, I really like some of the essays in this, especially his trip to Peru. Berry often contrasts a small-farm economy with a large-farm economy, and while I'm very sympathetic to this, he does not seem to recognize the dialectical effect of argibusiness and urbanization, and furthermore, once those dynamics have been sealed, the nostaglia of small-farm communities. There may be some way "back", but these ways back now look like merely isolated communities, filled with people who have the luxuray to "return" to a previous time.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Thoughtful essays on farming, community and care of the land. I don't love Berry's style; he tends to jump from vignette, to deep thought, to minor detail rather quickly. His descriptions are clear and pleasant but not particularly lyrical. Perhaps because he was writing and thinking about farming as the interaction between the land and the people who care for it long before most I see how many of his ideas have become a integral part of the back-to-the-land philosophies common today. I particul Thoughtful essays on farming, community and care of the land. I don't love Berry's style; he tends to jump from vignette, to deep thought, to minor detail rather quickly. His descriptions are clear and pleasant but not particularly lyrical. Perhaps because he was writing and thinking about farming as the interaction between the land and the people who care for it long before most I see how many of his ideas have become a integral part of the back-to-the-land philosophies common today. I particularly liked some of his essays on consumerism, community and energy.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bill Schaefer

    Wallace Berry's writings remind me of Aldo Leopold and Edward Abbey. This is a collection of essays written in the late 70s and early 80s that still have relevancy today. He is something of a scold and idealist but his take on big business agriculture and the effects on the land and the quality of food ring truer today. He is an advocate for grow your own food, back to the garden, an idyll that is good for some but impractical in an ever expanding population. Wallace Berry's writings remind me of Aldo Leopold and Edward Abbey. This is a collection of essays written in the late 70s and early 80s that still have relevancy today. He is something of a scold and idealist but his take on big business agriculture and the effects on the land and the quality of food ring truer today. He is an advocate for grow your own food, back to the garden, an idyll that is good for some but impractical in an ever expanding population.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    Wendell Berry is a thoughtful and humble philosopher. Our food system is where many of our societal ills begin, and this was recognized by him decades ago. Through gentle, understated prose a deep respect for small farmers and an anger about their plight at the hands of agribusiness is evident. This was my first exposure to Berry and I will definately be reading more.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Classic essays on agriculture and farming practices. I read this at Gonzaga and decided to pick it up again with renewed interest. Wendell Berry is just a very intelligent man, and while I was a little young to have been having conversations like this with Grandpa Walt, I imagine he would have talked about farming in a similar fashion.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    Wendell Berry is a great essayist who understands systems and how aspects of our culture such as the fall of agrarian culture and the replacement of tangible interaction with virtual interactions has led to a muted culture. I am fascinated by his thought- perhaps because they have been at the tip of my own tongue for quite some time now.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Allie Paarsmith

    I will be reading more of Wendell Berry. In several instances, Berry articulates my goals and beliefs better than I do. What struck me particularly was the fact that these essays were written in the late 70s, early 80s, but they still speak volumes of truth. They are still applicable to modern agribusiness!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    Excellent book. Good variety of essays. Typical Berry writings that inspire thoughtful discussions. Most of these essays focus on defining or showing examples of Good Farming, a Berry would see it. Good farming takes a long term look at the use of the land, production and ethics. The health of the land and the farmer, as well as the whole eco-system are important to Berry

  23. 5 out of 5

    Florence Millo

    While I can’t argue with anything that Berry says about the importance of husbanding good land, I think he forgets that not all of us are either capable of or inclined toward being farmers. I loved the essays about the individual farmers and how they cared for the land and animals in their care.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn

    These essays will be more interesting to a farmer than they were to me, due to all of the details. I did find a lot of the main points very interesting though. Read 1/2 of them. Wouldn't mind reading the rest in the future, as well as additional works by Berry. Interesting. Read for book club. These essays will be more interesting to a farmer than they were to me, due to all of the details. I did find a lot of the main points very interesting though. Read 1/2 of them. Wouldn't mind reading the rest in the future, as well as additional works by Berry. Interesting. Read for book club.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kristi

    Dang Wendell Berry, you did it again. Punched me in the gut while you also managed to enthrall and challenge my mind. What a fantastic collection essays. The namesake essay of this collection should be required reading, especially for Christians.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nate

    Way ahead of his time. Great book if you have any interest in farming or the environment.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Wendell Berry is at this moment my favorite nature writer. These essays were written quite a while back but still seem totally relevant today.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rawley

    The world needs to read Wendell Berry!

  29. 5 out of 5

    AmyRuth

    My first Wendell Berry read. I found a used copy at Powell's City of Books. Astounding. Led to a profound interest in the Amish and a life-long love of Mr. Berry's work. My first Wendell Berry read. I found a used copy at Powell's City of Books. Astounding. Led to a profound interest in the Amish and a life-long love of Mr. Berry's work.

  30. 5 out of 5

    David

    "the wisest voice" -- Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire "the wisest voice" -- Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire

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