Gracy Olmstead attended the FPR conference in Louisville and gives this fine description of the conference and the localist ideals animating FPR.


One elderly gentleman sat with his wife near the back of the auditorium, wearing glasses and a tweed blazer. It was only after the speakers began that I saw him there, his notebook and pen at the ready. It was Wendell Berry, the conference’s keynote speaker. I’ve not seen many keynoters show up early for conferences—and I’ve never seen one sit through the several hours of lectures before and after his speech. Yet there Berry sat: the award-winning author, poet, environmentalist, farmer, and critic, listening to speakers talk about the importance of tending to place and building community. Throughout the day testimony to Berry’s work was significant—several speakers referenced his poems and his novels Hannah Coulter and Jayber Crow. When his time came to speak, Berry told us, “I keep living to see things I’ve never expected to see. This is very moving for me.”

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Mark T. Mitchell
Mark T. Mitchell teaches political theory at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA. He is the author Michael Polanyi: The Art of Knowing and The Politics of Gratitude: Scale, Place, and Community in a Global Age (Potomac Books, 2012). He is co-editor of another book titled, The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry. Currently he is writing a book on private property. In 2008-9, while on sabbatical at Princeton University, he and Jeremy Beer hatched a plan to start a website dedicated to political decentralism, economic localism, and cultural regionalism. A group of like-minded people quickly formed around these ideas, and in March 2009, FPR was launched. Although he was raised in Montana and still occasionally longs for the west, he lives in Virginia with his wife, three sons and one daughter where they are in the process of turning a few acres into a small farm. See books written by Mark Mitchell.