Dear Farm Journal,

This morning I taped a radio show with Paul and Paula Grenier called The Heart of Wellness on WDRT 91.9FM. It will air 3/19 @ 9:00am. Today I am recording a follow up segment on my community based research project with Johns Hopkins University on socially responsible food and ethical food consumerism. For my graduate thesis, I conducted research on social values concerning local farming and food. I talked about how the Driftless community has revitalized farming and food through going organic and cooperative, how capitalism is destroying our food system, and how we need to restore social values and world concern in our society. This afternoon, I beat myself up for all the things I should have said or didn’t explain well. I feel apprehension about speaking from inexperience as a new farmer and recent graduate, but at the end of the day, I am glad that my farmer/activist voice was heard and maybe I influenced someone to think more deeply about farming, food, and change. The major highlight of my day is when Paula compared me to Wendell Berry, poet, author, activist, and farmer. I learned about him and read his work during graduate school and he has been an incredible inspiration, so those were extremely humbling accolades. I give honor with one of his poems.


Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,vacation with pay.

Want more of everything ready-made. Be afraid

to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.

Not even your future will be a mystery

any more. Your mind will be punched in a card

and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something

they will call you. When they want you

to die for profit they will let you know.


So, friends, every day do something

that won’t compute. Love the Lord.

Love the world. Work for nothing.

Take all that you have and be poor.

Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace

the flag. Hope to live in that free

republic for which it stands.

Give your approval to all you cannot

understand. Praise ignorance, for what man

has not encountered he has not destroyed.


Ask the questions that have no answers.

Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.

Say that your main crop is the forest

that you did not plant,

that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested

when they have rotted into the mold.

Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.


Put your faith in the two inches of humus

that will build under the trees

every thousand years.

Listen to carrion – put your ear

close, and hear the faint chattering

of the songs that are to come.

Expect the end of the world. Laugh.

Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful

though you have considered all the facts.

So long as women do not go cheap

for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy

a woman satisfied to bear a child?

Will this disturb the sleep

of a woman near to giving birth?


Go with your love to the fields.

Lie down in the shade. Rest your head

in her lap. Swear allegiance

to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos

can predict the motions of your mind,

lose it. Leave it as a sign

to mark the false trail, the way

you didn’t go. Be like the fox

who makes more tracks than necessary,

some in the wrong direction.

Practice resurrection.


~Wendell Berry

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