On April 4th, 5th and 6th, The Berry Center of New Castle, Kentucky will host a conference celebrating the ideas and vision of Wendell Berry and the 35th anniversary of the publication of his 1977 book, The Unsettling of America: Culture & Agriculture. The Berry Center, a non-profit organization, was established in May 2011 to institutionalize the work of farmer and lawyer John M. Berry, Sr., former state senator, John M. Berry, Jr., and farmer and author Wendell Berry, remarkable Kentuckians who have worked tirelessly toward a prosperous, healthy countryside and sustainable local food and farm economies for Kentucky and the nation.
For three days notable authors, community activists, farmers, sociologists and agricultural economists will revisit and respond to the book's principles in light of their knowledge and current understanding. The goal is that the insights resulting from these conversations will hasten a cultural shift toward land stewardship, the protection of valuable ecosystems, and the local production and distribution of goods and services – a shift toward a future that will endure and a vibrant and healthy rural – urban connectedness all over the state.
The Berry Center conference, “From Unsettling to Resettling: What Will It Take to Resettle America?” will take place at The Brown Hotel in Louisville and at St. Catharine College near Springfield, Kentucky.
A concert of choral music based on Wendell Berry’s poetry will begin the conference. This will be a premier of music by composer Andrew Maxfield and will include as well music by composer Harry Pickens, performed by the Louisville choral group, Voces Novae directed by Frank Heller. The concert will be at 7 p.m. Thursday evening at The Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville.
The conference on Friday, April 5th at the Brown Hotel in Louisville will commence with an address by Mary Berry, executive director of The Berry Center and will feature a presentation by Wes Jackson, president of The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas. Dr. Vandana Shiva of the Navdanya Research Foundation is the luncheon keynote speaker. Wendell Berry will introduce her. In addition there will be three panel discussions that will take up the issues of cultural change, real accounting, and land use. These panel discussions will be moderated by Dr. Norman Wirzba of Duke University, Woody Tasch, of Slow Money, and Fred Kirschenmann of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, respectively.
The beautiful St. Catharine Hall at St. Catharine College in Springfield, Kentucky will be the site of Saturday’s events, beginning with an interview of Wendell Berry by journalist and commentator Bill Moyers. In the afternoon a panel discussion will bring the conversation back to the initial question: What will it take to resettle America? Jack Shoemaker, Counterpoint Press, will moderate the panel. Panel members will include Fred Kirschenmann, Dr. Vandana Shiva, Mark Bittman (invited), Bill McKibben, Michael Pollan (invited), Woody Tasch, and Mary Berry.
The conference will conclude with presentations by Mary Berry about the work of The Berry Center and Dr. Leah Bayens, St. Catharine College, “Coming Home – A Place on Earth”. St. Catharine College, a liberal arts college near Springfield, Kentucky is the home of the Berry Farming and Ecological Agrarianism Program, a program offering a bachelor’s degree as well as a minor in farming and ecological agrarianism, with concentrations in agricultural ecology, plant and soil stewardship, community leadership and environmental arts and humanities.
For additional information about the conference and tickets please visit The Berry Center’s website, http://www.berrycenter.org.