The Berry Center

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Wendell Berry at the Agriculture for a Small Planet Symposium July 1, 1974

Today marks the 40th Anniversary of Wendell Berry’s speech about the culture of agriculture that was delivered at the “Agriculture for a Small Planet” Symposium in Spokane, Washington. The first few lines of this speech, written on a yellow legal pad in route to the symposium, inspired his book The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture published in 1977. Berry’s speech was also a catalyst for the launch of the Tilth Movement in the Pacific Northwest.

“Your symposium, as well as a lot of other meetings I’ve been to in other parts of the country, proves the existence of a thoughtful and even knowledgeable constituency for a better kind of agriculture,” wrote Berry in a letter to Gigi Coe and Bob Stilger following the Symposium (July 4, 1974).

Read the transcript from Berry’s speech and an excerpt from the letter that served as a catalyst for the Tilth Movement online.

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