Guy’s news: Northerly winds, love & Wendell Berry

The new growing year has started with a blissfully dry and bright spring and no major gales, frosts or pestilence. Night time temperatures have been low with a few frosts, but nothing damaging. Most crops were planted into perfect seedbeds and are doing well; a few are even ahead of schedule, helped by super-light (just 17g/m2) fleece crop covers which retain moisture and keep off the recently prevalent northerly winds. The swallows have only just arrived, a month later than last year; presumably delayed by those dry winds.

With so little to moan about, let me instead recommend those with time to listen to an exceptionally good Start the Week on BBC Radio 4, titled Wendell Berry: The Natural World. Andrew Marr interviews the delightfully drawling 82 year old poet and Kentucky farmer, along with the environmentalist Paul Kingsnorth and economist Kate Raworth. The discussion was marked by a refreshing humility and refusal to bow down to the “grown up” notion, prevalent in economics, politics and neo environmentalism, that the world can only be measured in, and be guided by, hard numbers. Above all there was an acknowledgement of love; if we can’t admit to loving our surroundings, whether people, nature or food, how can we care for them? Love, often written off as a childish, romantic or unaffordable emotion, actually provides a more powerful motive to care for what we value than the fiscal incentives favoured by economists and politicians. Despite Berry reading perhaps one of the most depressing poems ever written (which he quickly and endearingly acknowledges), I urge you to listen. I suspect as a society we need a few numbers to check our more outlandish emotions, but I long for a world shaped by love over one which denigrates the unmeasurable, and will fight for it unashamedly in the boardroom, in my fields and in this newsletter until my dying breath.

18 responses to “Guy’s news: Northerly winds, love & Wendell Berry

  1. Tessa Hillman

    Love – that’s it Guy, how succinctly put. And how true. Under rated by many but at the core of what we do of any worthwhile significance. Thanks for those words of wisdom.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. Love is the essence of the “Big Man” whose idea it was to create vegetables and their ecosystems in the first place. That is why they and we are so wonderfully made. Notions of social justice and care for our world flow from that understanding too. Without love everything else is a waste of time.

  3. You really can’t go too far wrong with love, kindness and respect.

  4. How lovely to read this, this morning Guy. Abserflippinglutely!

  5. Sandra Bennett

    What a lovely sentiment…LOVE….so refreshing to read.

  6. Andrea Bradley

    Heard it and was entranced. It gives me a tiny bit of hope to hear such people esp in the seemingly venomous times we live in (even I can hear what an old git I sound ‘when you’re getting on a bit’ ..!)

  7. Yes, I heard that Start the Week too and I too strongly recommend taking the time to listen to it. As well as the treat of hearing Wendell Berry, Kate Raworth’s emphasis that growth (so loved by economists and politicians) always has limits, was so important. Either we must recognise, predict and manage unsustainable growth, or otherwise Nature / Earth / Gaia will do it for us, via global warming, famine, epidemics, wars.

  8. I was genuinely moved by your powerful blog this morning. My husband is an economics teacher who is setting up a sustainable business based around cobbing. The idea is to get people in touch with the outdoors whilst creating something affordable and in tune with nature, ie cob houses. So much of your philosophy ties in with his ideas, it is so heartening to read your blogs and will definitely listen to the radio programme. Many thanks, Kate.

  9. Bronwyn Smith

    Fabulous Blog of May 5th Guy … may you continue to inspire with such wonderful writing until my last breath as well … plenty of Australian love love love for what you do and represent – stimulate and remind me of the best in us all. Look forward to re-visiting Wendell Berry …
    Thank you.

  10. Jacqui Tatnall

    When we ran our restaurant using organic veg we always said the magical extra was love…it is very important!

  11. Shirley Sabin

    Yes Guy, that “Start the Week” programme was truly wonderful. I was so impressed with it that I “Googled” Kate Raworth and found a link to a YouTube video of a TED Talk she gave. It is well worth watching.

  12. Stuart Walters

    Love is the most important thing. If you want to see a sublime expression of it tune in to Amma on YouTube. She is the personification of love. It’s unmistakeable. Watch her consoling and caressing the paraplegic. She sees everyone as her child.


    Wendell Berry’s “The Mad Farmer Poems”, are truly wonderful. A guide to life.

  14. Wonderful words of wisdom, again!

  15. Thank you Guy. I so much support your aims. We really do need so much more love in this world.

  16. Thank you for he heads up. I am from Kentucky and love Wendell Berry, just listening to the program on catch-up. Love

  17. You old softy – thank god!

  18. Guy’s news, northerly winds, love and Wendell Berry.
    A truly outstanding outpouring from Guy because of the one word “love” Right on the button. I immediately referred to scripture which says:-
    If I could speak all languages of earth and of angels but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophesy and if I understood all God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge and if I had such faith that I could move mountains but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it but if I didn’t love others, I would gain nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand it’s own way. It is not irritable and does not keep any record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices when the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance. Prophesy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever.
    1 Corinthians 13

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