Sunday, March 15, 2009

In Defense Of The Family Farm - by Wendell Berry

the article is here.

here is the eloquent first paragraph:

With industrialization has come a general depreciation of work. As the price of work has gone up, the value of it has gone down, until it is now so depressed that people simply do not want to do it anymore. We can say without exaggeration that the present national ambition of the United States is unemployment. People live for quitting time, for weekends, for vacations, and for retirement; moreover, this ambition seems to be classless, as true in the executive sites as on the assembly lines. One works, not because the work is necessary, valuable, useful to a desirable end, or because one loves to do it, but only to be able to quit—a condition that a saner time would regard as infernal, a condemnation. This is explained, of course, by the dullness of the work, by the loss of responsibility for, or credit for, or knowledge of the thing made.

and here I paraphrase some of his recommendations:

1. preserve families and communities
2. maintain the practices of neighborhood
3. maintain the domestic arts of kitchen and garden, household and homestead
4. limit use of technology so as not to displace or alienate available human labor or available free sources of power (the sun, wind, water, and so on)
5. limit farms to a scale that is compatible both with the practice of neighborhood and with the optimum use of low-power technology
6. limit costs by the practices and limits already mentioned
7. educate children to live at home and serve their communities
8. esteem farming as both a practical art and a spiritual discipline

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