Wendell Berry Medal Highlights Food Issues

The Obama Administration continues to underline the importance of how we manage our foodshed by honoring Kentucky author, farmer, conservationist and activist Wendell Berry yesterday with the National Humanities Medal.  

Celebrated food writer Michael Pollan has noted that his work only builds on the writing and activism of Berry, who has long fought against the ravages of industrial agriculture to American health and communities.  

Writing in The Nation magazine, Pollan says:

"Americans today are having a national conversation about food and agriculture that would have been impossible to imagine even a few short years ago. To many Americans it must sound like a brand-new conversation, with its bracing talk about the high price of cheap food, or the links between soil and health, or the impossibility of a society eating well and being in good health unless it also farms well.

But the national conversation unfolding around the subject of food and farming really began in the 1970s, with the work of writers like Wendell Berry, Frances Moore Lappé, Barry Commoner and Joan Gussow. All four of these writers are supreme dot-connectors, deeply skeptical of reductive science and far ahead not only in their grasp of the science of ecology but in their ability to think ecologically: to draw lines of connection between a hamburger and the price of oil, or between the vibrancy of life in the soil and the health of the plants, animals and people eating from that soil."