Bringing It To the Table by Wendell Berry

By | November 01, 2014
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bringing it to the table

Berry, the author of over 50 books of fiction, poetry and essays, is not only a famed writer; he has farmed a hillside in Henry County, Kentucky, for most of his life.

This deftly curated book offers a compilation of Berry’s essays and fiction excerpts, all written and previously published between 1971 and 2006, that serves up the author’s vision of sustainable agriculture via a return to traditional farming methods. Written with an equal balance of eloquence and common sense, Berry will make you reconsider the food you buy in the store, and the meals you feed your family.

This passage, written about hog farmer Lancie Clippinger, offers a taste of Berry’s writing style and wisdom: “When Lancie prepares his ground with plow and harrow and cultivates his crop instead of buying chemicals, he is a producer, not a consumer; he is selling his labor, not buying an expensive substitute for labor. Moreover, when he does this with a team of horses instead of buying fuel, he his selling his team’s labor, not paying for a substitute. When he uses his own corn, oats, and hay to replace petroleum, he is selling those feeds for a far higher return than he could get on the market. He and his horses are functioning, in effect, as solar converters, making usable and profitable the free sunlight that falls onto the farm. They are producing at home the energy, weed control and fertility that other farmers are going broke to pay for.”

Bringing It To the Table: On Farming and Food
by Wendell Berry, Introduction by Michael Pollan (Counterpoint, 2009)

Genre: Nonfiction

Perfect for: Those who wish to reclaim sustainable agriculture

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