Regenerative Agriculture

Regenerative Agriculture

Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry

As of December 28, 2022, we have closed registration for this Exploration. Please email maggie@thegathering.com to be added to the Waiting List.

From the food we digest to the air we breathe to the water we drink, the farm touches all the essentials of life. How humanity grows the plants and raises the animals that feed the world carries enormous ecological and economic impact. On this trip to understand regenerative agriculture, we’ll ask: How might Christians approach the cultivation of land and the production of food in ways that serve people and honor God’s creation?

Our adventure begins in Louisville, Kentucky, a region with a global reputation for fast horses and flavorful bourbon. We’ll stay downtown at The Brown Hotel, which in its 100-year history has hosted a Romanian queen and a former British prime minister. Just 45 minutes away, Wendell Berry, an American literary icon, toils on his land and aims to educate the next generation of farmers on regenerative agriculture. This approach relies on nature’s own unique characteristics – how birds and insects and flora and fauna interact to produce a healthy ecosystem on a farm – rather than applying man-made chemicals at industrial scale.

A central highlight: Conversation with Wendell Berry while eating local produce under the stars on his farm. The balance of our time will be spent at the Berry Center, with walks around the farm and talks with farmers. We’ll also add a visit to a local nonprofit or two, perhaps working on rural prosperity, and build in time for fun, fine meals, and spirited discussions with friends on the trip. Before the trip, we’ll connect on Zoom and start our journey of learning.

Joel Salatin, a self-described “Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer,” offers a launching point for our Exploration in his book The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs:

“The point is that the sum and substance of our lives should point toward the Goodness of God. And He wants us to understand that how we extend that respect and honor to His creation indicates our level of honoring His specialness.”

Schedule

For a general sense of our itinerary, please see the *draft* below which is subject to changes in timing, venues, speakers, and site visits.

Friday, April 28

3:00 pm - Arrival at The Brown Hotel and Welcome Reception

5:30 to 8 pm - Dinner in Downtown Louisville // bourbon tasting

Saturday, April 29

8:00 am - Breakfast at hotel

9:30 am - Site visits TBD

12:00 pm - Lunch

1:00 pm - Departure to Berry Center and Farm (45 min drive)

2:00 pm - Visit the Berry Center, library, and bookstore. Panel discussion and conversation with local farmers and Berry Center staff.

3:30 pm - 1.5 hr walking tour of farm & hayride 

5:00 pm - Cocktails and reading and Q&A with Wendell Berry

6:30 pm - Dinner on the farm with Wendell Berry

8:30 pm - Conclusion and return to hotel

Sunday, April 30

8:00 am - Breakfast at hotel

10:30 am - Conclusion

* 11:30 - 1:30 pm - Optional excursion to Churchill Downs for private tour

The Brown Hotel

We will be staying at The Brown Hotel in Louisville. Book your room on our discounted room block by clicking here.

Save your seat

To reserve your spot on this trip, please make a suggested donation to The Gathering for $1,000 per person or $2,000 per family. This is a tax deductible gift that supports the year-round work of helping our community give wisely and faithfully.

Cost

We will tabulate all shared expenses for the trip (meals, transportation, honoraria for speakers, staff expenses) and split the cost equally per person. We will invoice each party after the trip. This is NOT a tax deductible gift.

Cancellation/refund policy

If you’re unable to attend for any reason outside of a medical emergency or COVID infection, given the time and expenses we’ve incurred in planning the event, we are unable to refund your donation. Thank you for understanding and for supporting our efforts to create memorable learning experiences!

Criteria to join our community events

  • Follow Jesus as Lord and Savior.
  • Give at least $200,000 a year to Christian causes. Though the number isn't a rigid threshold, it represents a proxy for the types of people who are asking and wrestling with the same questions around wise stewardship, giving well, avoiding pitfalls, raising the next generation, allocating resources, defining a family legacy, etc. People come to The Gathering to pursue relationships with peers who are exploring similar issues with a measure of humility, vulnerability, and trust.

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