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Another Turn of the Crank. Essays by Wendell Berry

By Wendell Berry

This renowned assortment positive aspects six essays on sustainability and stewardship from one among Americas most vital cultural critics. Provocative, intimate, and considerate, one other flip of the Crank reaches to the center of Wendell Berrys predicament for our state, its groups, and their destiny.

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Moreover, the old opposition of country and city, which was never useful, is now more useless than ever. It is, in fact, damaging to everybody involved, as is the opposition of producers and consumers. These are not differences but divisions that ought not to exist because they are to a considerable extent artificial. The so-called urban economy has been just as hard on urban communities as it has been on rural ones. All these conventional affiliations are now meaningless, useful only to those in a position to profit from public bewilderment.

These are rich woodlands nevertheless. The soil, though not so deep as it once was, is healing from agricultural abuse and, because of the forest cover, is increasing in fertility. The plant communities consist of some cedar and a great diversity of hardwoods, shrubs, and wildflowers. The history of these now-forested slopes over the last two centuries can be characterized as a cyclic alternation of abuse and neglect. Their best hope, so far, has been neglect—though even neglect has often involved their degradation by livestock grazing.

Transportation costs can only go up. Biotechnology, variety patenting, and other agribusiness innovations are intended not to help farmers or consumers but to extend and prolong corporate control of the food economy; they will increase the cost of food, both economically and ecologically. On the other hand, consumers are increasingly worried about the quality and purity of their food, and so they would like to buy from responsible growers close to home. They would like to know where their food comes from and how it is produced.

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