Ferrum News

Wendell Berry to Speak at Ferrum


“Modern Day Thoreau” to speak at Ferrum College
Wendell Berry to appear as part of Southern Draft Animal Days.
Ferrum, Va. (September 14, 2010) –Wendell Berry, a noted authority on rural living and accomplished author and public speaker will bring his message of living in harmony with the natural world to the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum at Ferrum College on Saturday, September 18. Berry will speak in Vaughn Chapel beginning at 7 p.m. Berry’s appearance coincides with The Southern Draft Animal Days, which will showcase the way horses, mules and oxen can be used in modern agriculture in place of tractors and other motor-dependant machinery.
Berry’s thoughts on rural living have brought him wide acclaim and a devoted following. Berry lives on his farm in Port Royal, Kentucky, where he espouses a “back to the earth” lifestyle. Despite his rural roots he has taught at Stanford University, Georgetown College, New York University, the University of Cincinnati, and Bucknell University. He taught at his alma mater, the University of Kentucky from 1964 to 1977, and again from 1987 to 1993. Berry has won numerous literary awards including a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. He has authored more than 40 books of poetry, fiction and essays.
Woody Crenshaw, owner of the Floyd Country Store in Floyd, Va., and an architect of the Round The Mountain, Southwest Virginia Craft Trail referred to Berry as a, “modern day Thoreau,” in reference to the noted philosopher and writer Henry David Thoreau who in 1854 published the book, Walden which covered the two years he communed with nature at Walden Pond in Massachusetts. Among other themes the book is considered a manual for self reliance.
“Wendell Berry’s message about living in harmony with the natural world is important for modern culture,” said Crenshaw. “He speaks about a consciousness and perception which is needed if we are all going to live in harmony in this world.”
Jason Rutledge, who is bringing the Southern Draft Animal Days to Ferrum College on September 17 & 18, explained that the technology which will be on display is in keeping with Berry’s message.   “Draft animals can accomplish virtually anything that can be done with a motorized vehicle,” said Rutledge, who added, “only they do so with much less impact on the environment whether it’s the actual ground or the carbon footprint.” 
In addition to Berry’s talk on Saturday night, the event will feature demonstrations of horse drawn technology in both logging and agricultural techniques. It will also feature a horse pulling contest, a parade of breeds, live music and local food. In addition there will be a tack vendor expo, and hands-on learning opportunities with horse drawn technology. The Southern Draft Animal Days will be located at the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum on the Ferrum College Campus. 
Tickets for the event are $12 per day. Attendees may purchase a $20 ticket to cover both days. Additional information can be found at www.southerndraftanimaldays.com.
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About Ferrum College: Ferrum College is a four-year, private, co-educational, liberal arts college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Ferrum offers a choice of nationally recognized bachelor's degree programs at a cost well below the national average for private colleges.
About the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum: Ferrum College created the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum in the early 1970s to document, interpret, and present the folk heritage of the Blue Ridge region.  Since that time, the Institute has grown steadily, expanding its work throughout Virginia and Appalachia while maintaining an emphasis upon the western portion of the state.