I was at The Berry Center
in New Castle, Kentucky with my colleague Joe Waters, CEO of Capita
. We joined Dr. John Powell's class of Kentucky Governor's Scholars
as they considered their responsibility to contribute to the future of Kentucky.
Upon first meeting Berry, it's hard to not be struck by his humor and candor. He juxtaposes indignation at the waste and violence of our modern capitalist society with a deep peace about who he is and the limits of his work. For example, I was surprised to hear him remark that the local food movement, of which he might be considered a patron saint, has largely been ineffective.
Much of Berry's perspective is informed by his memories of boyhood on a Kentucky tobacco farm only a few miles from where we talked. He recalled drinking from springs, swimming in creeks, and playing amongst work crews in the tobacco fields. I wondered how far removed most children are today from this kind of grounded community experience.
There are four insights from our time with Wendell Berry that seem especially vital for leaders who seek to reimagine how our work might contribute to flourishing communities. I will publish a post on each of these topics in the coming weeks.