Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Native writers Berry and Johnson present awards for Central Kentucky sustainability group

Mary, Wendell and Tanya Berry
Two nationally renowned writers from Central Kentucky presented the awards as a regional sustainability organization, New Pioneers for a Sustainable Future, celebrated its 10th anniversary last month.

Wendell Berry and his wife Tanya gave the New Pioneers Trailblazer Award to their daughter, Mary Berry, of New Castle, Ky. Mary Berry directs The Berry Center, which was created to continue the Berry family's work in culture and agriculture, which goes back nearly a century. The center's Berry Farm Program is based at St. Catharine College, near Springfield, where the awards ceremony was held.

Fenton Johnson, a native of southern Nelson County, presented the New Pioneers Green Living Award to his sister and brother-in-law, Martha and Arthur Young, grass-feed cattle farmers in adjoining Washington County, of which Springfield is the county seat. Johnson said the Youngs evolved from conventional to sustainable agriculture through “self-education, conversion and humility.”

Martha and Arthur Young (B. Mattingly photo)
Arthur Young told the crowd of 150, “There are a lot of things—synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides—that I do not need on my farm. When I see my farm get better every year without the use of those, why do I need them? I can see the results. Nature will take care of a lot of things if we’ll let it.” For more details on the event, from Brandon Mattingly of The Springfield Sun, click here.

New Pioneers for a Sustainable Future was founded by Claire McGowan, a Dominican nun at the St. Catharine Motherhouse, to promote sustainable thinking and sustainable development in rural Central Kentucky. It has spearheaded establishment of a curbside recycling program, helped organize a farmers' market and holds regular forums on health, environmental and sustainability issues. It was very active in fighting the now-suspended Bluegrass Pipeline project, which would have carried natural-gas liquids through Kentucky and Ohio.

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