Port William Membership Spotlight

Port William Membership Spotlight: Andy Loving

Port William Member Andy Loving is pictured above in his office with his favorite of Wendell Berry’s work, a collection of short stories called Fidelity.

Andy Loving and his wife, Susan Taylor, are both members of the Port William Membership and both work as financial advisors at Just Money Advisors.  We sat down with Andy to learn a more about why he supports The Berry Center.

Andy works in a comfortable office off Bardstown Road along with several other financial advisors that specialize in socially responsible financial strategies. He expresses a great deal of enthusiasm about helping his clients find investment opportunities that match their values, whatever they may be.

As an ordained minister and environmentalist, he finds that many of his clients’ interests in value-based investing reflect his own. “People will come in and say that they do not want to invest in companies that are known as polluters, or that they want to support companies who are actively working to solve environmental problems through renewable energy sources. Some people do not want to invest in alcohol, tobacco or gambling. Others want workers to be paid a fair wage.”

Andy’s connection to The Berry Center is follows several paths and is as perhaps as interwoven as The Port William Membership itself, as Wendell Berry describes it through the words of Burley Coulter, “The way we are, we are members of each other. All of us. Everything. The difference ain’t in who is a member and who is not, but in who knows it and who don’t.” First, it was participating in a CSA through Steve Smith, then, meeting Wendell on a Saturday visit to a friend’s farm, connecting through his daughter’s kindergarten teacher, the list goes on.

Another connection to The Berry Center grew out of his role as a Board Member for Iroquois Valley Farms LLC, a food and farmland company making impact investments in local and organic agriculture following triple bottom line principles. Triple bottom line is an accounting framework that considers three parts: social, environmental and financial. “Just as a relationship with Just Money advisors made sense,” Andy continues, “the connection with The Berry Center for Iroquois Valley Farms LLC was very natural because they are both working to help farmers.” One of his motivations behind serving on Iroquois Valley Farms board of directors is that he believes we must work to make right the harms to our farmlands created by “modern farming.”

“Both Wendell Berry and The Berry Center are interested in helping farmers regenerate their farmland. I am interested in that as well, and that’s why I support The Berry Center. They are the ones who will play a major role in getting that done.”

The Berry Center is committed to the formation of cooperatives that will protect farmers in the marketplace and ultimately build land-conserving communities. The Producers Program, starting in the agricultural counties of north-central Kentucky is a model for work that needs to be done all over our nation. The Berry Center believes that if mechanisms are put into place to move local food, if farm production is kept in line with demand, and farm prices fair, the rural economy can heal itself.

Andy acknowledged the challenges that he has seen in his role with Iroquois Valley Farms for farmers who are transitioning from conventional farming to organic or sustainable farming. “While there is a growing market for organic products”, he says, “it takes a lot of time and money to get the organic stamp of approval. Many farmers are growing organic produce without being classified as organic because it is often cost and time prohibitive.”

Farmers must be guided and supported economically during the transition from conventional production to organic production. The Berry Center’s present day iteration of the Producer’s Program will be the mechanism to move farmers toward more sustainable and more profitable farming.

This effort will help farming communities heal and become stronger moving forward, reminding us of the farm communities that Wendell Berry often writes about. The Port William Membership helps put Wendell Berry’s writings to work by advocating for farmers, land-conserving communities and healthy regional economies.

When we asked Andy what is favorite Wendell Berry piece was, he had no hesitation. “I do have a favorite Wendell Berry book. It is a collection of short stories called Fidelity, and it is really wonderful. My favorite of the stories is “Fidelity,” for which the book was named. It is about one of Wendell’s characters—the life and ending of the life Burley Coulter—it is the story of how he dies and how the community around him comes together to really guard the values that they knew Burley cared about.”

A special thank you to Andy Loving for being a featured Member Spotlight and for taking time to share a part of his story with us. We are truly grateful to have him as a part of our Membership.

Join Andy in showing support for Wendell Berry’s work by joining the Port William Membership.  Interested in being a featured spotlight member or want to nominate someone to be featured? Reach out to us.