Christopher D. Cook

By Contributor on June 27, 2013

On a recent Wednesday evening in San Francisco, a crowd of more than 130 people packed into a community center for a wonky two-hour discussion about Plan Bay Area -- a detailed roadmap for regional growth that would displace thousands of people while cramming the city with pricey residential high-rises, and a whole lot of cars.

In a cover story two weeks earlier, Bay Guardian executive editor Tim Redmond examined the little-discussed "smart growth" plan that, he wrote, would usher in another 280,000 people, 92,000 housing units, and 73,000 cars.

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By Contributor on May 13, 2013

Deciding how America will nourish itself and sustain its farms would seem a top policy priority, yet as the Farm Bill demonstrates, sustainably grown healthy food and livable incomes for farmers and workers remain an afterthought in a process controlled almost entirely by agribusiness and a handful of farm-state legislators.

Despite strong public opinion supporting local food, farmer's markets, organic agriculture, food workers' rights and access to fresh produce, agribusiness and commodity interests continue to dominate food and farming policy.

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By Contributor on September 26, 2012

The views that spill forth inside this swing-state Romney office plunge far deeper into the right-wing abyss than the so-called moderate stances trotted out by the Romney campaign.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
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. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
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.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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