Bill Moyers interviews Wendell Berry
There are other reasons to leave the land and move to the big city, other reasons to decide to not be a farmer, but this is important:
BILL MOYERS: When you and I were born in 1934 there were almost seven million family farms in this country. There are now roughly around two million family farms and most of us are further away from the foundations of nature than we’ve ever been.
WENDELL BERRY: Well, there’s another tough problem. And so you have to look ahead a little bit. I don't like to talk about the future very much because it doesn’t exist, and we don’t know anything about it. But one thing we know right now is that people want to be healthy and to be healthy you have to have a diverse diet and diverse agriculture employs a lot more people than monoculture. So you imagine people moving out into the landscape because it will pay them to do it. It’ll be what we now vulgarly call job creation.
BILL MOYERS: But this will take a lot of patience, won’t it?
WENDELL BERRY: It’ll take a long time.
BILL MOYERS: Do we have time given what agribusiness is doing?
WENDELL BERRY: We don’t have a right to ask that question. We have to ask what’s the right thing to do and go ahead and do it and take no thought for the morrow.
BILL MOYERS: Resettling of America means….?
WENDELL BERRY: It means putting people on the land enough people on the land to take proper care of it and pay them decently for doing it. The fact that we and our families know the history of people having to leave the country because they couldn’t make a living there, is the history of rural America. But that they left because they couldn’t make a living is an indictment of our land policies. The idea that you have to go somewhere else, that you have to leave a fertile country in order to make a living is preposterous and it’s a result of the wrong idea of what we mean by making a living in the first place. To make a living is not to make a killing, it’s to have enough.
And I loved his description of going to the governor's office and staging a sit-in.
While you're there, check out the full show, and sample the links in the sidebar and the other segments. I like the idea of a 50-year farm bill, and while the story is a bit sappy and the music a bit too saccharine, the slow-motion videography in Dance of the Honey Bee is pretty cool.
That little robo-bee, do want.