These Wendell Berry quotes on community, hope, and farming will fill you with peace.
Wendell Berry is a poet, novelist, and environmental activist who is passionate about farming and gardening.
This collection of quotes will give you a deeper understanding of his character.
As an activist, Wendell Berry has spread a message of peace, unity, and preservation.
He is passionate about environmental causes, human rights, and a wide range of other issues that impact our local communities.
Throughout his career, Wendell Berry has received the National Humanities Medal and has also been inducted into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame.
These inspirational quotes and sayings are a great source of wisdom and encouragement.
If you want to honor the values of Wendell Berry, it is important for you to always respect nature and the community that you live in too.
Share these Wendell Berry quotes on marriage and hope with your friends and family.
Don’t forget to also check out these Henry Rollins quotes on life and politics.
Check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily inspiration.
Our inspirational quotes category page has all of our motivational quotes for all the different areas of life.
Inspirational Wendell Berry
1. “To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.” – Wendell Berry
Everyday Application: This is a sobering thought. Where would we be without the things we need like air, water, and food. Well, we would not survive. That seems like plenty of motivation to take at least a little bit better care of our planet!
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2. “We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time: How much is enough?” – Wendell Berry
Everyday Application: Gardening teaches us several things like patience and the value of hard work. We constantly ask ourselves how much is enough? How much is enough fertilizer? Water? Sunlight? We need to remember to keep stock of ourselves too though!
3. “The past is our definition. We may strive with good reason to escape it or to escape what is bad in it. But we will escape it only by adding something better to it.” – Wendell Berry
Everyday Application: Our past shapes who we are and who will become. How it goes about doing that depends on whether we run from it, or create a life that adds to what we have experienced. Just because your past wasn’t good, doesn’t mean that your future can’t be spectacular!
4. “Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.” – Wendell Berry
Everyday Application: There is rarely any satisfactory outcomes to arguing. However, rising early can give us the extra moments we need in a day to do things like meditate and connect with nature. And…red berries are delicious. So, make the most of your time!
5. “It is not from ourselves that we learn to be better than we are.” – Wendell Berry
Everyday Application: We can learn so much from people who are what we want to emulate. They know how they reached their goals, and they can help us forge our path. Find a mentor, take a class, or volunteer your time to help others. These things will open you up to new experiences which is how we learn!
6. “Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.” – Wendell Berry
Everyday Application: Nature does not care about politics or the things that people concern themselves with. Nature has its own order, and functions on a power much different than that of human beings. Being in nature also has many health benefits for people, so maybe we should take better care of it!
7. “The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.” – Wendell Berry
Everyday Application: How can you take care of the Earth everyday? Recycle, reuse, and conserve are great ways to help the planet. They are also simple and require very little effort on your part!
8. “I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” – Wendell Berry
Everyday Application: Spending time in nature helps us reset ourselves. It reminds us that there is something bigger than ourselves. Spend time in nature everyday and help manage your stress levels!
9. “Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction. Practice resurrection.” – Wendell Berry
Everyday Application: We can learn a lot from animals and nature in general. Sometimes, you might need to double back, or be a little crafty. What other animal do you draw inspiration from?
10. “Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.” – Wendell Berry
Everyday Application: A little nature humor and spin on the golden rule. Basically, don’t pee in the river and subject other people to that. Treat others how you want to be treated!
Wise Wendell Berry quotes
11. “We cannot know the whole truth, which belongs to God alone, but our task nevertheless is to seek to know what is true. And if we offend gravely enough against what we know to be true, as by failing badly enough to deal affectionately and responsibly with our land and our neighbors, truth will retaliate with ugliness, poverty, and disease.” – Wendell Berry
Everyday Application: What truths can we know? First, we need to recognize that nothing is permanent and things are always changing. Next, the sun rises in the East and sets in the West (and the Earth revolves around the sun). Finally, human beings are mortal beings. Life is short, so don’t worry about knowing things for certain. Go with the flow, and live each day to the fullest.
12. “To be interested in food but not in food production is clearly absurd.” – Wendell Berry
Everyday Application: Absurdities like this exist in many parts of our lives. We should understand the bigger picture of things we are “passionate” about. The more knowledge and understanding we have about things, the more we can be effective in making change, creating new things, and having a healthy perspective!
13. “If we can’t afford to take good care of the land that feeds us, we’re in an insurmountable mess.” – Wendell Berry
Everyday Application: We need to take care of the land that feeds us, the water that sustains us, and the air we breathe! This is the planet that we will leave to our children and grandchildren. Check out these Greta Thunberg quotes about taking better care of our world!
14. “Go with your love to the fields. Lie down in the shade. Rest your head in her lap. Swear allegiance to what is nighest your thoughts.” – Wendell Berry
Everyday Application: Spend some time outside and get in touch with nature! Being outside for just a little bit everyday helps you be happier and more grateful. It is hard to remain ungrateful when we are surrounded by the beauty of nature.
15. “We have the world to live in on the condition that we will take good care of it. And to take good care of it, we have to know it. And to know it and to be willing to take care of it, we have to love it.” – Wendell Berry
Everyday Application: There are many things to love about the world we live in. It is full of mystery, beauty, and wonder. Sure, it isn’t all good things, but that is the natural order of things.
16. “The atmosphere, the earth, the water, and the water cycle – those things are good gifts. The ecosystems, the ecosphere, those are good gifts. We have to regard them as gifts because we couldn’t make them. We have to regard them as good gifts because we couldn’t live without them.” – Wendell Berry
Everyday Application: This is a perfect example of how to appreciate the ‘simple things‘ in life. You might not give much thought to the Earth and water when you are thinking ab out what you are grateful for. However, if there was no water, you would quickly realize is for the gift of life that it is. What other things in your life are gifts that don’t get the recognition they should?
17. “All right, every day ain’t going to be the best day of your life, don’t worry about that. If you stick to it you hold the possibility open that you will have better days.” – Wendell Berry
Everyday Application: People who practice gratitude and choose happiness are not under the misconception that every day is going to the best day of their lives. Heck, they are well aware that there are going to be some downright horrible days. However, they remain rooted in the fact that no matter what happens there is something to be grateful for and that better days will come.
18. “This, I thought, is what is meant by ‘thy will be done’ in the Lord’s Prayer, which I had prayed time and again without thinking about it. It means that your will and God’s will may not be the same. It means there’s a good possibility that you won’t get what you pray for. It means that in spite of your prayers you are going to suffer.” – Wendell Berry
Everyday Application: Whether you believe in God’s will, karma, or just that everything happens for a reason, suffering is part of life. It is inevitable. However, it does teach us many things like what we are truly capable of surviving, strengths we didn’t know we had, and to appreciate things while we have them.
19. “I am not bound for any public place, but for ground of my own where I have planted vines and orchard trees, and in the heat of the day climbed up into the healing shadow of the woods.” – Wendell Berry
20. “There are no sacred and unsacred places; there are only sacred and desecrated places. My belief is that the world and our life in it are conditional gifts.” – Wendell Berry
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Thought-provoking Wendell Berry quotes
21. “The old and honorable idea of ‘vocation’ is simply that we each are called, by God, or by our gifts, or by our preference, to a kind of good work for which we are particularly fitted.” – Wendell Berry
22. “When you are new at sheep-raising and your ewe has a lamb, your impulse is to stay there and help it nurse and see to it and all. After a while, you know that the best thing you can do is walk out of the barn.” – Wendell Berry
23. “The latest technology is not always good for anything except to the producers of the technology.” – Wendell Berry
Everyday Application: Technology can undoubtedly make our lives easier and better. However, there are also downsides that technology introduces to our lives. For example, social media encourages comparisons, which makes people less happy. Check out this article for tips on how to use social media as a source of inspiration and not comparing yourself to the highlight reel of other people’s lives.
24. “Urban conservationists may feel entitled to be unconcerned about food production because they are not farmers. But they can’t be let off so easily, for they are all farming by proxy.” – Wendell Berry
25. “The two great aims of industrialism – replacement of people by technology and concentration of wealth into the hands of a small plutocracy – seem close to fulfillment.” – Wendell Berry
26. “An economy genuinely local and neighborly offers to localities a measure of security that they cannot derive from a national or a global economy controlled by people who, by principle, have no local commitment.” – Wendell Berry
27. “If I was freer than I had ever been in my life, I was not yet entirely free, for I still hung on to an idea that had been set deep in me by all my schooling so far: I was a bright boy and I ought to make something out of myself… something else that would be a cut or two above my humble origins.” – Wendell Berry
28. “Why should conservationists have a positive interest in… farming? There are lots of reasons, but the plainest is: Conservationists eat.” – Wendell Berry
29. “I’ve had a good life, and was born to and among people I’ve admired and loved.” – Wendell Berry
Everyday Application: Practicing gratitude for things like having people who admire and love you is a great way to be happier. No matter how bad things are, there is always something to be grateful for. That doesn’t make the bad things hurt less, but it keeps you from getting stuck in a mindset where everything is bad.
30. “The only time I’ve been arrested was in opposing the Marble Hill nuclear power plant in Indiana. That was in 1979.” – Wendell Berry
Wendell Berry quotes to elevate your perspective
31. “I prayed like a man walking in a forest at night, feeling his way with his hands, at each step fearing to fall into pure bottomlessness forever. Prayer is like lying awake at night, afraid, with your head under the cover, hearing only the beating of your own heart.” – Wendell Berry
32. “We cannot comprehend what comprehends us.” – Wendell Berry
33. “These are people who are capable of devotion, public devotion, to justice. They meant what they said and every day that passes, they mean it more.” – Wendell Berry
34. “I’m a writer more than I am a talker.” – Wendell Berry
35. “We’re all complicit in the things we may be trying to oppose. I’m complicit in the things that I’m trying to oppose.” – Wendell Berry
36. “To hear of a thousand deaths in war is terrible, and we ‘know’ that it is. But as it registers on our hearts, it is not more terrible than one death fully imagined.” – Wendell Berry
37. “It is a horrible fact that we can read in the daily paper, without interrupting our breakfast, numerical reckonings of death and destruction that ought to break our hearts or scare us out of our wits.” – Wendell Berry
38. “For any sin, we all suffer. That is why our suffering is endless.” – Wendell Berry
39. “The fertility cycle is a cycle entirely of living creatures passing again and again through birth, growth, maturity, death, and decay.” – Wendell Berry
40. “Annual plants are nature’s emergency medical service, seeded in sounds and scars to hold the land until the perennial cover is re-established.” – Wendell Berry
More Wendell Berry quotes
41. “There are, it seems, two muses: the Muse of Inspiration, who gives us inarticulate visions and desires, and the Muse of Realization, who returns, again and again, to say “It is yet more difficult than you thought.” This is the muse of form. It may be then that form serves us best when it works as an obstruction, to baffle us and deflect our intended course. It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.” – Wendell Berry
42. “People use drugs, legal and illegal because their lives are intolerably painful or dull. They hate their work and find no rest in their leisure. They are estranged from their families and their neighbors. It should tell us something that in healthy societies drug use is celebrative, convivial, and occasional, whereas among us it is lonely, shameful, and addictive. We need drugs, apparently, because we have lost each other.” – Wendell Berry
43. “The primary motive for good care and good use of the land-community is always going to be affection, which is too often lacking.” – Wendell Berry
44. “If conservationists will attempt to resume responsibility for their need to eat, they will be led back fairly directly to all their previous concerns for the welfare of nature.” – Wendell Berry
45. “The uplands of my home country in north-central Kentucky are sloping and easily eroded, dependent for safekeeping upon year-round cover of perennial plants.” – Wendell Berry
46. “Industrial agriculture characteristically proceeds by single solutions to single problems: If you want the most money from your land this year, grow the crops for which the market price is highest.” – Wendell Berry
47. “When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood Drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.” – Wendell Berry
48. “Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.” – Wendell Berry
49. “Telling a story is like reaching into a granary full of wheat and drawing out a handful. There is always more to tell than can be told.” – Wendell Berry
50. “Ask the questions that have no answers. Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias. Say that your main crop is the forest that you did not plant, that you will not live to harvest.” – Wendell Berry
What are your favorite Wendell Berry quotes about gardening and farming?
When you are a part of a community, it is important to always be kind and respectful.
These Wendell Berry quotes will teach you how to honor life and beauty in every circumstance.
Once you have a full understanding of how the food industry impacts our lives, you will gain a new perspective on farming and gardening.
Read this list of quotes while you’re out in the wilderness if you want to have a peaceful day in nature.
As a poet and novelist, Wendell Berry has influenced the world with many beautiful words.
This collection of quotes is only a small sample of his work.
If you’re interested in learning more about this author, read some Wendell Berry poems for additional insight.
What are your favorite Wendell Berry quotes and sayings on marriage and community?
Let us know in the comment section below.
June 27, 2022 1:06 AM EST