110+ Wendell Berry Quotes On Community, Nature And Home

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Top 10 Wendell Berry Quotes (BEST)

  1. The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.
  2. It may be that when we no longer know... which way to go we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.
  3. Outdoors we are confronted everywhere with wonders; we see that the miraculous is not extraordinary, but the common mode of existence. It is our daily bread.
  4. People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the health industry, which pays no attention to food.
  5. Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction. Practice resurrection.
  6. We need better government, no doubt about it. But we also need better minds, better friendships, better marriages, better communities.
  7. Unexpected wonders happen, not on schedule, or when you expect or want them to happen, but if you keep hanging around, they do happen.
  8. Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.
  9. Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.
  10. Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.

Wendell Berry Short Quotes

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  • There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.
  • We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time: How much is enough?
  • Don't own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.
  • There is much good work to be done by every one of us and we must begin to do it.
  • If you don't know where you are, you don't know who you are.
  • Under the pavement the dirt is dreaming of grass.
  • To be interested in food but not in food production is clearly absurd.
  • If you eat, you are involved in agriculture.
  • It is not from ourselves that we learn to be better than we are.
  • A man with a machine and inadequate culture is a pestilence.
 quote Whether we or our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals a
Whether we or our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.

Wendell Berry Quotes On Community

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I believe that the community - in the fullest sense: a place and all its creatures - is the smallest unit of health and that to speak of the health of an isolated individual is a contradiction in terms. (pg. 146, Health is Membership) — Wendell Berry

Physical health doesn't exist apart from the health of other things. Health ultimately involves the community, and the community ultimately involves the place and natural life of that place, so that real health is harmony with the world. — Wendell Berry

A good community insures itself by trust, by good faith and good will, by mutual help. A good community, in other words, is a good local economy. — Wendell Berry

Education in the true sense, of course, is an enablement to serve-both the living human community in its natural household or neighborhood and the precious cultural possessions that the living community inherits or should inherit. — Wendell Berry

A viable neighborhood is a community: and a viable community is made up of neighbors who cherish and protect what they have in common. — Wendell Berry

People need to feed themselves, next they need to feed their own communities. — Wendell Berry

The primary motive for good care and good use of the land-community is always going to be affection, which is too often lacking. — Wendell Berry

and in some of the people of the town and community surrounding it, one of the characteristic diseases of the twentieth century was making its way: the suspicion that they would be greatly improved if they were somewhere else. — Wendell Berry

We will instead have to measure our economy by the health of the ecosystems and human communities where we do our work. — Wendell Berry

The freedom of affluence opposes and contradicts the freedom of community life. — Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry Quotes On Life

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I am speaking of the life of a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children; who has undertaken to cherish it and do it no damage, not because he is duty-bound, but because he loves the world and loves his children... — Wendell Berry

If a healthy soil is full of death, it is also full of life: worms, fungi, microorganisms of all kinds ... Given only the health of the soil, nothing that dies is dead for very long. — Wendell Berry

I dislike the thought that some animal has been made miserable to feed me. If I am going to eat meat, I want it to be from an animal that has lived a pleasant, uncrowded life outdoors, on bountiful pasture, with good water nearby and trees for shade. — Wendell Berry

You mustn’t wish for another life. You mustn’t want to be somebody else. What you must do is this: “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks.” I am not all the way capable of so much, but those are the right instructions. — Wendell Berry

I believe that the world was created and approved by love, that it subsists, coheres, and endures by love, and that, insofar as it is redeemable, it can be redeemed only by love. — Wendell Berry

It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. — Wendell Berry

All right, every day ain't going to be the best day of your life, don't worry about that. If you stick to it you hold the possibility open that you will have better days. — Wendell Berry

We conservatives bemoan the decline in values that has besieged our society. Why then should we not abhor the lack of morality involved in discharging untested chemicals into the air, ground, and water to alter and harm, to whatever degree, human life and wildlife? As a conservative, I do abhor it. — Wendell Berry

We live the given life, and not the planned. — Wendell Berry

The mercy of the world is you don't know what's going to happen. — Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry Quotes On Nature

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Our destruction of nature is not just bad stewardship, or stupid economics, or a betrayal of family responsibility; it is the most horrid blasphemy. It is flinging God's gifts into His face, as if they were of no worth beyond that assigned to them by our destruction of them. — Wendell Berry

The earth is what we all have in common. — Wendell Berry

One of the most important resources that a garden makes available for use, is the gardener's own body. A garden gives the body the dignity of working in its own support. It is a way of rejoining the human race. — Wendell Berry

Men may dam it and say that they have made a lake, but it will still be a river. It will keep its nature and bide its time, like a caged animal alert for the slightest opening. In time, it will have its way; the dam, like the ancient cliffs, will be carried away piecemeal in the currents. — Wendell Berry

I believe until fairly recently our destructions of nature were more or less unwitting -- the by-products, so to speak, of our ignorance or weakness or depravity. It is our present principled and elaborately rationalized rape and plunder of the natural world that is a new thing under the sun. — Wendell Berry

To work without pleasure or affection, to make a product that is not both useful and beautiful, is to dishonor God, nature, the thing that is made, and whomever it is made for. — Wendell Berry

A liberal education rests on the assumption that nature and human nature do not change very much or very fast and that one therefore needs to understand the past. — Wendell Berry

We do need a 'new economy,' but one that is founded on thrift and care, on saving and conserving, not on excess and waste. An economy based on waste is inherently and hopelessly violent, and war is its inevitable by-product. We need a peaceable economy. — Wendell Berry

It is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it. — Wendell Berry

Our most serious problem, perhaps, is that we have become a nation of fantasists. We believe, apparently, in the infinite availability of finite resources. — Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry Quotes On Love

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Love is what carries you, for it is always there, even in the dark, or most in the dark, but shining out at times like gold stitches in a piece of embroidery. — Wendell Berry

I have always loved a window, especially an open one. — Wendell Berry

So, friends, every day do something that won't compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing. Take all that you have and be poor. Love someone who does not deserve it. Denounce the government and embrace the flag. Hope to live in that free republic for which it stands. — Wendell Berry

Geese appear high over us, / pass, and the sky closes. Abandon, / as in love or sleep, holds them to their way, clear / in the ancient faith: what we need / is here. And we pray, not / for new earth or heaven, but to be / quiet in heart, and in eye, / clear. What we need is here. — Wendell Berry

I've had a good life, and was born to and among people I've admired and loved. — Wendell Berry

We know enough of our own history by now to be aware that people exploit what they have merely concluded to be of value, but they defend what they love. To defend what we love we need a particularizing language, for we love what we particularly know. — Wendell Berry

The real work of planet-saving will be small, humble, and humbling, and (insofar as it involves love) pleasing and rewarding. Its jobs will be too many to count, too many to report, too many to be publicly noticed or rewarded, too small to make anyone rich or famous. — Wendell Berry

To love anything good, at any cost, is a bargain. — Wendell Berry

To defend what we love we need a particularizing language, for we love what we particularly know. — Wendell Berry

The mercy of the world is time. Time does not stop for love, but it does not stop for death and grief, either. — Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry Quotes On Home

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And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home. — Wendell Berry

A person who undertakes to grow a garden at home, by practices that will preserve rather than exploit the economy of the soil, has his mind precisely against what is wrong with us. — Wendell Berry

The uplands of my home country in north central Kentucky are sloping and easily eroded, dependent for safekeeping upon year-round cover of perennial plants. — Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry Quotes On Farming

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Urban conservationists may feel entitled to be unconcerned about food production because they are not farmers. But they can't be let off so easily, for they are all farming by proxy. — Wendell Berry

The soil is the great connector of our lives, the source and destination of all. — Wendell Berry

The industrial mind is a mind without compunction; it simply accepts that people, ultimately, will be treated as things and that things, ultimately, will be treated as garbage. (A Defense of the Family Farm, 1986) — Wendell Berry

To have good farming or good land use of any kind, you have got to have limits. Capitalism doesn't acknowledge limits. — Wendell Berry

The discussion about food doesn't make any sense without discussion at the same time of land, land use, land policy, fertility maintenance, and farm infrastructure maintenance. — Wendell Berry

My label is just "good farming", which isn't something you can put on a t-shirt. — Wendell Berry

Why should conservationists have a positive interest in... farming? There are lots of reasons, but the plainest is: Conservationists eat. — Wendell Berry

The grower of trees, the gardener, the man born to farming, whose hands reach into the ground and sprout, to him the soil is a divine drug. He enters into death yearly, and comes back rejoicing. He has seen the light lie down in the dung heap, and rise again in the corn. — Wendell Berry

An agrarian mind begins with the love of fields and ramifies in good farming, good cooking & good eating — Wendell Berry

The most insistent and formidable concern of agriculture, wherever it is taken seriously, is the distinct individuality of every farm, every field on every farm, every farm family, and every creature on every farm. — Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry Quotes On People

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These are people who are capable of devotion, public devotion, to justice. They meant what they said and every day that passes, they mean it more. — Wendell Berry

A sustainable agriculture is one which depletes neither the people nor the land. — Wendell Berry

An economy genuinely local and neighborly offers to localities a measure of security that they cannot derive from a national or a global economy controlled by people who, by principle, have no local commitment. — Wendell Berry

A proper education enables young people to put their lives in order, which means knowing what things are more important than other things; it means putting first things first. — Wendell Berry

The chance you had is the life you've got. You can make complaints about what people, including you, make of their lives after they have got them, and about what people make of other people's lives, ...but you mustn't wish for another life. You mustn't want to be somebody else. — Wendell Berry

There's a world of difference . . . between that information to which we now presumably have access by way of computers, libraries, and the rest of it, great stockpiles of data, and the knowledge that people have in their bones by which they do good work and live good lives. — Wendell Berry

The connections between people and land are dangerously oversimplified and mainly technological. — Wendell Berry

The aim of industrialization has always been to replace people with machines or other technology, to make the cost of production as low as possible, to sell the product as high as possible, and to move the wealth into fewer and fewer hands. — Wendell Berry

The law is meant to work for justice. But people who know themselves know that, at some point, justice had better be mitigated by mercy. And you don't get to mercy by a legal principle. You get to mercy by way of imagination, sympathy, tenderness of heart - which are not weaknesses. — Wendell Berry

People talk about "job creation," as if that had ever been the aim the industrial economy. The aim was to replace people with machines. — Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry Quotes On World

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For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. — Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me... I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. — Wendell Berry

The world is not given by our fathers but borrowed from our children. — Wendell Berry

Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone. — Wendell Berry

The promoters of the global economy...see nothing odd or difficult about unlimited economic growth or unlimited consumption in a limited world. — Wendell Berry

This massive ascendancy of corporate power over democratic process is probably the most ominous development since the end of World War II, and for the most part "the free world" seems to be regarding it as merely normal. — Wendell Berry

In living in the world by his own will and skill, the stupidest peasant or tribesman is more competent than the most intelligent worker or technician or intellectual in a society of specialists. — Wendell Berry

In the dark of the moon, in flying snow, in the dead of winter, war spreading, families dying, the world in danger, I walk the rocky hillside, sowing clover. — Wendell Berry

Sabbath observance invites us to stop. It invites us to rest. It asks us to notice that while we rest, the world continues without our help. It invites us to delight in the world's beauty and abundance. — Wendell Berry

When the self is ones exclusive subject and limit, reference and measure, one has no choice but to make a world of words. — Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry Quotes On Care

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Monsanto doesn't care about feeding the world. We have to think about the wage slavery of migrant workers and salary slavery of those who are desperately unhappy. — Wendell Berry

Akin to the idea that time is money is the concept, less spoken but as commonly assumed, that we may be adequately represented by money. The giving of money has thus become our characteristic virtue. But to give is not to do. The money is given in lieu of action, thought, care, time. — Wendell Berry

We have the world to live in on the condition that we will take good care of it. And to take good care of it, we have to know it. And to know it and to be willing to take care of it, we have to love it. — Wendell Berry

If we can't afford to take good care of the land that feeds us, we're in an insurmountable mess. — Wendell Berry

If we are serious about peace, then we must work for it as ardently, seriously, continuously, carefully, and bravely as we have ever prepared for war. — Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry Famous Quotes And Sayings

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Sit and be still until in the time of no rain you hear beneath the dry wind's commotion in the trees the sound of flowing water among the rocks, a stream unheard before, and you are where breathing is prayer. — Wendell Berry

We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it. — Wendell Berry

We don't have a right to ask whether we're going to succeed or not. The only question we have a right to ask is what's the right thing to do? What does this earth require of us if we want to continue to live on it? — Wendell Berry

Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand; it is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy. — Wendell Berry

We need to confront honestly the issue of scale... You may need a large corporation to run an airline or to manufacture cars, but you don't need a large corporation to raise a chicken or a hog. You don't need a large corporation to process local food or local timber and market it locally. — Wendell Berry

I am not bound for any public place, but for ground of my own where I have planted vines and orchard trees, and in the heat of the day climbed up into the healing shadow of the woods. — Wendell Berry

To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival. — Wendell Berry

The great enemy of freedom is the alignment of political power with wealth. This alignment destroys the commonwealth - that is, the natural wealth of localities and the local economies of household, neighborhood, and community - and so destroys democracy, of which the commonwealth is the foundation and practical means. — Wendell Berry

True solitude is found in the wild places, where one is without human obligation. One's inner voices become audible... In consequence, one responds more clearly to other lives. — Wendell Berry

The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life. — Wendell Berry

The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass. — Wendell Berry

We can make ourselves whole only by accepting our partiality, by living within our limits, by being humans not by trying to be gods. — Wendell Berry

As I understand it, I am being paid only for my work in arranging the words; my property is that arrangement. The thoughts in this book, on the contrary, are not mine. They came freely to me, and I give them freely away. I have no "intellectual property," and I think that all claimants to such property are theives. — Wendell Berry

The past is our definition. We may strive with good reason to escape it, or to escape what is bad in it. But we will escape it only by adding something better to it. — Wendell Berry

It is only by understanding the cultural complexity and largeness of the concept of agriculture that we can see the threatening diminishments implied by the term 'agribusiness.' — Wendell Berry

Our Children no longer learn how to read the great book of Nature from their own direct experience, or how to interact creatively with the seasonal transformations of the planet. They seldom learn where their water come from or where it goes. We no longer coordinate our human celebration with the great liturgy of the heavens. — Wendell Berry

We don't know how to use energy or what to use it for. And we cannot restrain ourselves. Our time is characterized as much by the abuse and waste of human energy as it is by the abuse and waste of fossil fuel energy. — Wendell Berry

I dream of a quiet man / who explains nothing and defends nothing, but only knows / where the rarest wildflowers / are blooming, and who goes, / and finds that he is smiling / not by his own will. — Wendell Berry

Today, local economies are being destroyed by the 'pluralistic,' displaced, global economy, which has no respect for what works in a locality. The global economy is built on the principle that one place can be exploited, even destroyed, for the sake of another place. — Wendell Berry

It is understood that nonhuman creatures adapt to their places or they don't live. And for some reason that I can't figure out, even the biologists have excused our own species from that obligation. I think there's going to be a biological penalty to be paid for that eventually. — Wendell Berry

The reason to preserve wilderness is that we need it. We need wilderness of all kinds, large and small, public and private. Wee need to go now and again into places where our work is disallowed, where our hopes and plans have no standing. We need to come into the presence of the unqualified and mysterious formality of Creation. — Wendell Berry

Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one's own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence. — Wendell Berry

A corporation, essentially, is a pile of money to which a number of persons have sold their moral allegiance. — Wendell Berry

For the true measure of agriculture is not the sophistication of its equipment the size of its income or even the statistics of its productivity but the good health of the land. — Wendell Berry

A protest meeting on the issue of environmental abuse is not a convocation of accusers, it is a convocation of the guilty. The realization ought to clear the smog of self-righteousness that has always conventionally hovered over these occasions, and let us see the work that is to be done. — Wendell Berry

We cannot know the whole truth, which belongs to God alone, but our task nevertheless is to seek to know what is true. — Wendell Berry

At the window he sits and looks out, musing on the river, a little brown hen duck paddling upstream among the windwaves close to the far bank. What he has understood lies behind him like a road in the woods. He is a wilderness looking out at the wild. — Wendell Berry

Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias. Say that your main crop is the forest that you did not plant, that you will not live to harvest. Say that the leaves are harvested when they have rotted into the mold. Call that profit. Prophesy such returns. Put your faith in the two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years. — Wendell Berry

The name of our proper connection to the earth is 'good work,' for good work involves much giving of honor. It honors the source of its materials; it honors the place where it is done; it honors the art by which it is done; it honors the thing that it makes and the user of the made thing. — Wendell Berry

Always in the big woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the Unknown, and it is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into. — Wendell Berry

The "developed" nations had given to the "free market" the status of a god, and were sacrificing to it their farmers, farmlands, and communities, their forests, wetlands, and prairies, their ecosystems and watersheds. They had accepted universal pollution and global warming as normal costs of doing business. — Wendell Berry

Condemnation by category is the lowest form of hatred, for it is cold-hearted and abstract, lacking even the courage of a personal hatred. — Wendell Berry

But our waste problem is not the fault only of producers. It is the fault of an economy that is wasteful from top to bottom-a symbiosis of an unlimited greed at the top and a lazy, passive, and self-indulgent consumptiveness at the bottom-and all of us are involved in it. — Wendell Berry

It is, of course, one of the miracles of science that the germs that used to be in our food have been replaced by poisons. — Wendell Berry

At night make me one with the darkness In the morning make me one with the light. — Wendell Berry

We cannot know the whole truth, which belongs to God alone, but our task nevertheless is to seek to know what is true. And if we offend gravely enough against what we know to be true, as by failing badly enough to deal affectionately and responsibly with our land and our neighbors, truth will retaliate with ugliness, poverty, and disease. — Wendell Berry

There is no sense and no sanity in objecting to the desecration of the flag while tolerating and justifying and encouraging as a daily business the desecration of the country for which it stands. — Wendell Berry

There comes . . . a longing never to travel again except on foot. — Wendell Berry

...And we pray, not for new earth or heaven, but to be quiet in heart, and in eye clear. What we need is here. — Wendell Berry

In Kentucky, we're destroying mountains, including their soils and forests, in order to get at the coal. In other words, we're destroying a permanent value in order to get at an almost inconceivably transient value. That coal has a value only if and when it is burnt. And after it is burnt, it is a pollutant and a waste-a burden. — Wendell Berry

The mind that is not baffled, is unemployed — Wendell Berry

It would not do for the consumer to know that the hamburger she is eating came from a steer who spent much of his life standing deep in his own excrement in a feedlot, helping to pollute the local streams. Or that the calf that yielded the veal cutlet on her plate spent its life in a box in which it did not have room to turn around. — Wendell Berry

When you have large-scale legitimated violence in a place that is divided as profoundly and bitterly as Kentucky was, the legitimate violence can cause illegitimate violence, a terrible local heartlessness and cruelty that feeds on itself and goes on and on. — Wendell Berry

If you start a conversation with the assumption that you are right or that you must win, obviously it is difficult to talk. — Wendell Berry

I believe in thrift as I believe in freedom, but I don't support the plutocratic hostility to taxation, regulation, and protections of land, water, and air. — Wendell Berry

But the only possible guarantee of the future is responsible behavior in the present. — Wendell Berry

A change of heart or of values without a practice is only another pointless luxury of a passively consumptive way of life. — Wendell Berry

I think the issues of identity mostly are poppycock. We are what we have done, which includes our promises, includes our hopes, but promises first. — Wendell Berry

The ability to speak exactly is intimately related to the ability to know exactly. — Wendell Berry

No individual life is an end in itself. One can live fully only by participating fully in the succession of the generations, in death as well as in life. Some would say (and I am one of them) that we can live fully only by making ourselves answerable to the claims of eternity as to those of time. — Wendell Berry

Rural poverty happens because people aren't being paid to take adequate care of their places. There's lots of work to do here. And you can't afford to pay anybody to do it! If you depress the price of the products of the place below a certain level, people can't afford to maintain it. And that's the rural dilemma. — Wendell Berry

Life Lessons by Wendell Berry

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  1. Wendell Berry encourages us to be mindful of our relationship with the natural world and to be conscious of our impact on the environment. He reminds us to be grateful for the bounty of the land, to be generous with our resources, and to be stewards of the earth.
  2. He encourages us to live simply and to be mindful of our consumption, to be content with what we have, and to be mindful of our impact on the world.
  3. He teaches us to be humble and to recognize our interconnectedness with all living things, to be compassionate and to be stewards of the land and its resources.

In Conclusion

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