Grounds For Change: Understanding the Agricultural Crisis in Rural America

In partnership with ABC Home, we’d like to offer discounted tickets for this event.

Grounds For Change: Understanding the Agricultural Crisis in Rural America (and its Impact on All of Us)

with Debbie Barker, Mary Berry, and Nick Offerman

“…In this difficult time of failed public expectations, when thoughtful people wonder where to look for hope, I keep returning…to the thought of the renewal of rural communities.” —Wendell Berry, What Are People For?

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Few living in urban centers are aware of the deep economic, environmental, and social crises in rural America and how this demise is connected not only to alarming political outcomes, but also to our broken food and farming system.

Despite decades of farmers markets, local food movements, and chef advocates, industrial food and farming remains the dominant model in our country. So, what needs to happen on-the-ground in rural landscapes where our food is grown? What does it take to build a local food economy? How do we become a culture that supports good farming and land use? Together we will delve into these key questions to reimagine an urban-rural ecosystem that works for everyone.

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Mary Berry, founder and executive director of The Berry Center (TBC), is the daughter of author Wendell Berry and Tanya Berry. She farmed for a living in Henry County starting out in dairy, then growing Burley tobacco, and later diversifying to organic vegetables, pastured poultry, and grassfed beef. Mary speaks around the nation to advocate for small and medium farmers and land conserving economies.

Debbie Barker is a consultant for The Berry Center and other civil society groups working on food and farming, ecology, trade, and more. She was formerly the international director for the Center for Food Safety, a legal and public policy institute in Washington, D.C., and director of the International Forum on Globalization, a think tank on economic globalization issues.

Nick Offerman is an award-winning actor, New York Times bestselling writer, and acclaimed woodworker who was raised in rural America. He is perhaps most well known for his role as Ron Swanson on Parks & Recreation. Nick’s film credits include We’re the Millers, Earl and the Dying Girl, Somebody Up There Likes Me, and many more. He recently starred in Hearts Beat Loud. Nick lives with his wife, actress Megan Mullally, in Los Angeles where, in his spare time, he can be found at his woodshop building hand-crafted items ranging from fine furniture to canoes to ukuleles.

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The Berry Center (TBC), putting author Wendell Berry’s writings into actions, advocates for farmers, land conserving communities, and healthy regional economies.

“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.”

—Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America

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