Poet, essayist, novelist and “local-ist” Wendell Berry kicked off the final panel of the Slow Food Nation “Food for Thought” series on Saturday by reading a short statement describing the current food crisis.

For too long, humans have been spared, mainly by the cheapness of the fossil fuels, from the universal necessity of local adaptation.

It is ultimately an inescapable biological imperative that human land use economies should correspond as closely as possible to the ecological mosaic. To this, we no longer have even the illusion of a second choice.

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The increasing cost of energy and the vulnerability of long distance transportation in an age of violence show the importance of local food and forest communities and the reasonable extent of local economic self-sufficiency everywhere.

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Berry appeared alongside five other heroes of Slow Food — Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, Vandana Shiva, Alice Waters and Carlo Petrini — for a panel moderated by Corby Kummer.

Check back over the next few days for video interviews and blog posts about SFN ’08.