Monday, March 23, 2009

eating: an industrial or agricultrual act?

Wendell Berry, amongst many other amazing things, is an intentional sustenance farmer whose essays I've recently fallen in love with. He offers a thoughtful critique of the urban consumer for whom food is an abstract thought. “The industrial eater is, in fact, one who does not know that eating is an agricultural act, who no longer knows or imagines the connections between eating and the land,” who has become passive, uncritical and dependent. He goes on to say, "Both eater and eaten are thus in exile from biological reality. And the result is a kind of solitude, unprecedented in human experience, in which the eater may think of eating as, first, a purely commercial transaction between him and a supplier and then as a purely appetitive transaction between him and his food." I look forward to reading some of his poetry and novels. Do you have a favorite Berry poem or novel?

Quotes from "The Pleasures of Eating," in What Are People For? (New York: North Point Press, 1990), 146, 148.
Photo credit: Bryan Schutmaat