A main effect of having the great opportunity to spend time with David Wilson, manager of Duchy Home Farm/Highgrove, is a constant stir of thought and feeling about how to deepen my own small work toward the earth's health and harmony. David came to Kentucky in advance of the Health and Harmony Initiative event in Louisville on March 19-20, 2015.
Louisville's Christy Brown, at podium below, International thought leader on health, attracted rooms full of visionaries, activists, theorists, artists, philanthropists, musicians and experts to the event [Event Book here], which culminated in this keynote address by Prince Charles.
On March 20, In a long hall at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, ringed by exhibits, the first 23 speakers each spoke for three minutes, or thereabouts, except for the inimitable Wes Jackson of the Land Institute, who made nine key points in 71 seconds. With aching hand trying to keep up, I caught "Land is as non-renewable as oil" and a culminating point underscoring the necessity of transforming agriculture toward perennial crops in order to make sustainability possible.
The experience of hearing the ideas, commitments, and entreaties of world leaders like Alice Waters, Eric Schlosser, Patrick Holden, Andrew McElwaine and Gary Hirschberg overcame my limited ability to process, take in, make sense. I gave up trying and let the event, with its combination of hope and concern, fill me with its passionate energy.
Because I had agreed to moderate a panel in the afternoon that included David Wilson, and thanks to a wonderfully kind friend's wisdom and good planning, I had spent an earlier day with him and other champions of organic and sustainable agriculture. As we traveled from farm to farm, and toured on foot, David expressed intensity and a profound sense of urgency about recognizing the fragility and honoring the complexity of the earth's way of maintaining balance and health, with us human beings as major actors for good and ill.
It's easy to withdraw, deeming the challenges too great for any potent action at all. Wendell Berry, who introduced Prince Charles, sometimes suggests there are no big solutions; small actions are all we can attempt—in spite of the terrible urgency we face. I am pondering the wisdom of all these priceless, precious people, looking for more small actions I can take.