For the Beauty of the Earth

Exploring the Gifts of Food, Faith, and Community

February 1-2, 2018

Many thanks to all who attended, supported, and participated in our conference, "For the Beauty of the Earth!" Our keynote speakers were excellent, and the conversations around both the talks and in various classes were uniformly insightful and challenging. We cannot wait until next year! We will announce our theme soon, but until then, here are some pictures from the conference!

Mary Berry, Director of the Berry Center and daughter of Wendell Berry, argued for the need for a sustainable local economy to support farmers.

Mary Berry speaking at conference

Josiah Haller and Natalie Lenberger received awards for research at the "For the Beauty of the Earth" conference.

Student winning research award

Student winning research award

Keynote Speakers:

Mary Berry


Mary Berry is the Executive Director of The Berry Center. She is the daughter of Wendell and Tanya Berry, and grew up at Lanes Landing Farm in Henry County, Kentucky. She graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1981. She farmed for a living in Henry County starting out in dairy farming, growing Burley tobacco, and later diversifying to organic vegetables, pastured poultry and grass fed beef. She is married to Trimble County, Kentucky farmer, Steve Smith, who started the first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farming endeavor in the state of Kentucky.

She speaks all over the country as a proponent of agriculture of the middle, in defense of small farmers, and in the hope of restoring a culture and an economy that has been lost in rural America. Recently she has written a letter for inclusion in the book, “Letters to a Young Farmer: On Food, Farming, and Our Future” (Princeton Agricultural Press, 2016), and the introduction for a new edition of essays, “Our Sustainable Table”, Robert Clark, ed. (Counterpoint, 2017).

Norman Wirzba


The Danford Thomas Memorial Lecture Foundation was established in 1920 by Rhodes B. Thomas, local banker, farmer and college trustee, in memory of his father, who served as professor of Greek and Latin at Georgetown College from 1839 to 1882. Danford Thomas was also the college’s first librarian. The purpose of the lecture series is to further the historic interests and ideals of the college as an institution belonging to and representing the Baptist churches of Kentucky.

Norman Wirzba was raised on a farm in Southern Alberta, he went on to study history at the University of Lethbridge, theology at Yale University Divinity School, and philosophy at Loyola University Chicago. Since then he has taught at Saint Thomas More College/University of Saskatchewan, Georgetown College (KY), and Duke University Divinity School. He’s the father of four children and is married to Gretchen Ziegenhals. He likes to bake, cook and make things with wood. He also enjoys playing the guitar. He used to be a good athlete! He enjoys being outdoors and spending time with his family and friends. He tries to grow some food.

This conference is sponsored by the Center For Christian Discernment. Please direct communication to Roger Ward at Roger_Ward[email protected].



Church and Academy speakers


Mary Berry

Executive Director, The Berry Center

Norman Wirzba

Professor of Theology and Ecology, Duke Divinity School

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