The Conference

St Catherine College media

St Catherine College media

HERD ABOUT IT?

by Ana Grarian

Ana is just back from an amazing conference in Louisville KY put on by the Berry Center. Our host was Mary Berry, Wendell’s daughter, whose love of her family, their farms, Kentucky, and this work shined through every moment. After two days of driving the conference began with a service of music,  at The Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville. Three different styles of music: cathedral choir; acoustic folk; and bluegrass, interpretations of Wendell Berry’s poetry. It was an exquisite experience.

Friday’s day long event began with a taped personal message from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. Not a boring but polite snippet of congratulation to Mr. Berry, but a quite long and detailed, heartfelt appreciation of a friend and colleague. Then came panels and presentations by experts in slow food, slow money, the environment, religious aspects of agrarian culture, every possible angle you could imagine.

On Saturday we were up early for a bus ride to St Catherine College where we had the privilege to sit in on a conversation between Bill Moyers and Wendell Berry. Mr. Moyers is a consummate interviewer, and this conversation with an old friend and peer, was particularly free and intimate. Then lunch and more panels (I sat a few feet from the podium as Bill McKibben spoke), and a tour of the St Catherine farm. St Catherine will be the home of the Berry Farming Program offering both a BA and a BS in Farming & Ecological Agrarianism.

Carmichael’s Bookstore provided an opportunity to buy any of Wendell’s Books, and those of the other speakers as well as related titles. Of course I wanted to buy them all, but I settled for one.

Exhausted and happy, inspired and overwhelmed, I am still trying to take it all in.