Let's call this a public service announcement:
Wendell Berry will be visiting the University of Virginia in early December. He is the first in a series of four speakers for U.Va.'s Brown College Visiting Environmental Writer and Scholars (ViEWS) Lecture Series, 2009-2010. (As it happens, Rebecca Solnit, the subject here, is the third speaker in the series, next February; not to mention poet and philosopher Gary Snyder, next Spring.)
Berry will be giving a public reading at 5:30 PM on Thursday, December 3rd in the Small/Harrison Special Collections Library on campus. I'm told a reception will follow. Here is a map. The library is #19 on it.
Students of Berry know that his essays, philosophy, and poetry have for decades provided a grounding for advocates of sustainable agricultural practices. With a quote that is widely reprinted (in my book too), Berry long ago sought to make clear that "eating is an agricultural act." It's a simple phrase, and it is part of a far more complex system of thought. But at its root is the basic notion that breaking our daily bread connects us to a wider agricultural world which, to gently rephrase it, ties us always to our non-human environment. It's a premise on which research into sustainable agricultural systems operates, working to articulate how agro-food systems are environmental, energy, health, economic, and cultural issues all the way down.
Here is notice of an op-ed Berry wrote earlier this year in the Times with Wes Jackson.
Here is a poem recently published in the New Yorker, "A Speech to the Garden Club of America."