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Conference explores food quality, sustenance, environment

Food Quality, Sustenance, Environment Explored at February Conference

Submitted on December 26, 2017

The theme of food, faith, and community will be explored by scholars, environmentalists, and student researchers when the Georgetown College Center for Christian Discernment presents “For the Beauty of the Earth,” a conference scheduled on campus Feb. 1-2.

The conference objective is to focus on the shared character of human life and its dependence on basic sustenance in terms of food and its production as well as the connection to communities of faith that have traditionally gathered around food production and sharing.

Featured speakers are Norman Wirzba, Professor of Theology and Ecology at Duke Divinity School, and Mary Berry, founder and Executive Director of The Berry Center, Newcastle, Ky. They will discuss faithful stewardship of the environment necessary for good food and the fair distribution of food necessary for justice.

Dr. Wirzba pursues research and teaching interests at the intersections of theology, philosophy, ecology, and agrarian and environmental studies. He lectures frequently in Canada and the United States and is a published author.

His work focuses on understanding and promoting practices that can equip both rural and urban church communities to be more faithful and responsible members of creation. Current research is centered on a recovery of the doctrine of creation and a restatement of humanity in terms of its creaturely life.

Many may recall that Dr. Wirzba was a Georgetown College Professor of Philosophy from 1995-2008.

Mary Berry is the daughter of Wendell and Tanya Berry. She grew up on the family’s Lanes Landing Farm in Henry County, Kentucky. She started out in dairy farming and growing Burley tobacco, later diversifying to organic vegetables, pastured poultry, and grass fed beef.

Berry speaks all over the country as a proponent of agriculture, particularly in defense of small farmers, and in the hope of restoring a culture and an economy that has been lost in rural America. Her essays are included in recently published books.

Pastors and community leaders are invited to lunch and a question and answer session on Feb. 1 in the Jones-Hall-Nelson Suite of Cralle Student Center. Registration is available online at

Talks by both Dr. Wirzba and Ms. Berry later in the day are open to the public, free of charge.

Dr. Wirzba will speak Feb. 1 at 4 p.m. delivering the College’s annual Danford Thomas Memorial Lecture. His lecture is titled, “The Moral and Spiritual Significance of Eating.”

That same day, at 7 p.m., Ms. Berry delivers the keynote lecture. Her talk is titled, “The Work of the Berry Center and Its Importance for Land Use Questions.”

Both presentations will be in the Ward Room of the Ensor Learning Resource Center, which is located on Georgetown College’s main campus near the intersection of East College and South Mulberry Streets.

In conjunction with the conference, students have been invited to submit research and artistic interpretations on the theme categories. Those submissions are being accepted until January 20, 2018. A cash prize will be awarded in each and presented at the conclusion of Ms. Berry’s presentation.

More information on “For the Beauty of the Earth” is available from conference coordinator Roger Ward, Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy, and director of the Center for Christian Discernment. Email:

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