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The Economy of Free: Wendell Berry

Aaron McHugh

Last evening I was introduced to Eighty-three-year-old Wendell Berry, Poet, author, essayist and voice of the local farmer by way of a private screening of the film, Look and See. A sound bite from his writings and living voice was, (paraphrased),

“The world believes there is one economy, of business and profit. There in fact is more. The economy of free is available to all like the delightful viewing of a flower.”

Mr. Berry’s writings, public speeches, and off-screen interviews created the steel girdings of this poignant movie. Since the early 1970’s, his sustainability advocacy transmits from his local farm plot in Tobacco alley Kentucky. Simple. Unhurried. Connected.

I told my wife last night he reminds me a lot of Yvonne Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia. Who Yvonne Chouinard has been for the wilderness, Wendell Berry has been for the local farmer. Both fathers have helped save and restore our lands from the other economy.

With deep gratitude, Mr. Wendell Berry, I thank you for sharing what you see. I have lived disconnected from the food I eat, the local communities I rely upon and the impact my consumption has driving the machine of “progress”.

Our inaugural little six foot by three-foot suburban garden plot has awakened in me a gratitude for the toil and reward that our food possesses. Today, I will take a walk and enjoy the free economy of flowers by the old farm house.

Aaron McHugh

Interested in hosting a local screening of Look and See in your community? Details are available here.

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