The Arlington Public Library is pleased to present literary legend and Kentucky farmer Wendell Berry as this year’s Arlington Reads featured author and guest speaker.

Mr. Berry – who declared “eating is an agricultural act,” thus inspiring today’s movement toward safer, healthier, locally produced meals and sustainable living – will join us on Tuesday, May 4 at 7:00 p.m., to discuss his life’s work and his vision of people honoring and reconnecting with the soil.

Berry’s book “The Memory of Old Jack” is our Arlington Reads 2010 title, and will be the subject of a community discussion in Central Library Auditorium on April 19 at 7 p.m. Leading the exchange will be Professor Patrick Deneen, director of Georgetown University’s Tocqueville Forum on the Roots of American Democracy.

“Wendell Berry actually began the national conversation about food, agriculture, the environment and health decades ago,” Arlington Public Library Director Diane Kresh says. “Without him, we probably wouldn’t have a vegetable garden on the White House lawn or Wal-Mart trying to sell organic produce.” Kresh says this year’s Arlington Reads celebrates not only Berry’s “remarkable career as a writer of over 30 novels, essays and collections of poetry but his prescience in encouraging readers to ‘think globally and eat locally.’”

As a complement to Berry’s appearance, Arlington Reads will also feature an appearance by Novella Carpenter, urban farmer and author of “Farm City: The education of an urban farmer,” who will join us on Thursday, April 29, at 7:00 p.m., to discuss her experiences connecting with the soil in Oakland, CA. While in Arlington, Carpenter also plans to share thoughts with high school students and explore some of the County’s farmers markets and community gardens.

Arlington Reads will offer a panel discussion at Shirlington Branch Library on “Eating Local” on April 11 at 3 p.m. A group of area farmers and naturalists will look at simple ways to eat foods that are safer, healthier and geared to the bounty of each season. In addition, the films “Food, Inc.,” “Fast Food Nation,” locally made documentary “A Community of Gardeners,” and “How to Cook Your Life” will be screened. Central Library in April is also the site of a month-long juried art exhibition, “The Art of Food.”

See the Arlington Reads Events page for full event descriptions, times and locations, and read the Arlington Reads 2010 Press Release for more information.

Find previous Arlington Reads titles.

We look forward to seeing you at the Library!