News of Seasonal Produce Offerings, Auctions, Events, Agritourism and Farmers in Casey County, Kentucky ~ and the Old Order Mennonite & Amish Communities ~ located in the scenic Knobs Region and agricultural heart of Kentucky.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wendell Berry on Empowering the Local Economy

I am trying to revive this blog and Facebook page after there have been significant changes (with many Mennonite businesses now gone and several Amish farmers moving in) and other new additions to the Casey County agricultural scene. I'm still posting remotely and with a failed camera lens at present, too, so bear with me! I'm hoping by spring of 2013 to have things up and running in a more regular capacity. In the meantime I will blog on occasion as to agricultural-related topics.

As far as I'm concerned, and I know I'm not alone, Wendell Berry is a national treasure and that is he a native Kentucky writer, poet, philosopher and farmer makes him all the more endearing. If you've ever read Berry's essays you realize that he has been consistently ahead of his time in terms of the local food movement, sustainable agriculture, and our political economy. He is also largely an unsung hero because he is so humble and unassertive––his words wield the power if you care to read them.

And it is odd that I was reading his work today. When I went to find an image on the Internet to put in this blog post, I discovered it was just announced that he will receive the overall Freedom Award from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Awards for community and personal responsibility on October 16th in New York City.

Here is an extended passage from his essay "Farming and the Global Economy" which appeared in his collection Another Turn of the Crank [Washington, DC: Counterpoint, 1995]:
"If a safe, sustainable local food economy appeals to some of us as a goal that we would like to work for, then we must be careful to recognize not only the great power of the interests arrayed against us but also our own weakness. The hope for such a food economy as we desire is represented by no politcial party and is spoken for by no national public officials of any consequence. Our national political leaders do not know what we are talking about, and they are without the local affections and allegiances that would permit them to learn what we are talking about.
But we should also understand that our predicament is not without precedent; it is approximately the same as that of the proponents of the Stamp Act––and with one difference in our favor: in order to do the work that we must do, we do not need a national organization. What we must do is simple: we must shorten the distance that our food is transported so that we are eating more and more from local supplies, more and more to the benefit of local farmers, and more and more to the satisfaction of local consumers. This can be done by cooperation among small organizations: conservation groups, churches, neighborhood associations, consumer co-oops, local merchants, local independent banks, and organizations of small farmers. It can also be done by cooperation between individuals and consumers. We should not be discouraged to find that local food economies can grow only gradually; it is better that they should grow gradually. But as they grow they will bring about a significant return of power, wealth, and health to the people.
One thing at least should be obvious to us all: the whole human population of the world cannot live on imported food. Some people somewhere are going to have to grow the food. And wherever food is grown the growing of it will raise the same two questions: How do you preserve the land in use? And how do you preserve the people who use the land?
The farther the food is transported, the harder it will be to answer those questions correctly. The correct answers will not come as the inevitable by-products of the aims, policies, and procedures of international trade, free or unfree. They cannot be legislated or imposed by international or national or state agencies. They can only be supplied locally, by skilled and highly motivated local farmers meeting as directly as possible the needs of informed local consumers."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spring 2013 Update

Greetings to all––it seemed like a long winter here but that is only because of the late spring. Glad to have mud season and rain and dreariness behind us and looking ahead to gardens and all manner of farm-related activities.

I still don't have DSL on our ridge here in Pulaski County and have been relying upon WiFi hither and yon. Until that time, blogging is very difficult on my sluggish PowerBook G4 and rapid-fire updates on Facebook even fewer and far between. Thank you for your patience. I hope to resume and update this website as soon as possible. If not, I will let you know (it is still available for anyone who wants to volunteer to keep it going!).

In the meantime, I highly recommend a new website called Kentucky Amish which is updated regularly by the folks at the Wagon Trail, a great eatery in Casey County, Kentucky. Also, Sustainable Kentucky is a consistently excellent website that includes feature articles and great information about farming––and farmers––around Kentucky. They just held their first, and highly successful, "Kentucky Green Living Fair" here in Pulaski County and plan to have it again in 2014 [Save the date! March 29, 2014]. Farm and sustainable-related vendors were there as well as writers and interesting workshops. It was a great day!

There has been much recent moving about within Casey County's Old Order Mennonite community and some businesses are gone or will have altered names/venues. The Casey County Produce Auction is occurring this year and you can contact them for specific information. [While I can't comment on this, because I know many of the people involved, this does provide additional information from a recent article from various news sources.] However, rest assured that the original church here in Casey County is staying and will be continuing with their businesses.

The annual spring benefit auction will be held this Saturday, April 13th at the corner of Hwy 127 and 501 (9am-5pm). Usually held the last Saturday in March, it was moved this year because of the Easter holiday.