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Janisse Ray quotes (showing 1-13 of 13)

“Of what use to humanity, I ask myself, is a man who cannot see beyond his own hurt?”
Janisse Ray
“I carry the landscape inside me like an ache. The story of who I am cannot be severed from the story of the flatwoods.”
Janisse Ray, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood
“The assumption is that hope is a prerequisite for action. Without hope one becomes depressed and then unable to act.
I want to stress that I do not act because I have hope. I act whether I have hope or not. It is useless to rely on hope as motivation to do what's necessary and just and right. Why doesn't anybody ever talk about love as motivation to act?
I may not have a lot of hope but I have plenty of love, which gives me fight.
We are going to have to fall in love with place again and learn to stay put.”
Janisse Ray, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food
“Rural places have hemorrhaged their best and brightest children, their intellectuals, thinkers, organizers, leaders, and artists-those who would create change and who would parent another generation of thinkers. All gone.

Our seeds are disappearing.”
Janisse Ray, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food
“Turning back to embrace the past has been a long, slow lesson not only in self-esteem, but in patriotism—pride in homeland, heritage. It has taken a decade to whip the shame, to mispronounce words and shun grammar when mispronunciation and misspeaking are part of my dialect, to own the bad blood. What I come from has made me who I am.”
Janisse Ray, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood
“I think of my own life, how it embraces a great quest to know every cog of nature--the names of oaks and ferns, the secret lives of birds, the taste of venison and Ogeechee lime, wax myrtle's smell and rattlesnake's, the contour of bobcat tracks, the number of barred owl cackles, the feel of Okefenokee Swamp water on my skin under a blistering sun.
I search for a vital knowledge of the land that my father could not teach me, as he was not taught, and guidance to know and honor it, as he was not guided, as if this will shield me from the errancies of the mind, or bring me back from that dark territory should I happen to wander there. I search as if there were peace to be found.”
Janisse Ray, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood
“By 2005, Monsanto had filed ninety lawsuits against U.S. farmers for patent infringement, meaning GM genes found in the fields of farmers that had not paid for the right, and Monsanto had been awarded over $15 million. I’ll tell you here and now: We have a screwed-up justice system. These lawsuits and seeds are nothing less than corporate extortion of American farmers, said Andrew Kimbrell, director of the Center for Food Safety, as reported in the Seed Savers Summer Edition 2005.”
Janisse Ray, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food
“Something happens to you in an old-growth forest. At first you are curious to see the tremendous girth and height of the trees, and you sally forth, eager. You start to saunter, then amble, slower and slower, first like a fox and then an armadillo and then a tortoise, until you are trudging at the pace of an earthworm, and then even slower, the pace of a sassafras leaf's turning. The blood begins to languish in your veins, until you think it has turned to sap. You hanker to touch the trees and embrace them and lean your face against their bark, and you do. You smell them. You look up at leaves so high their shapes are beyond focus, into far branches with circumferences as thick as most trees.
Every limb of your body becomes weighted, and you have to prop yourself up. There's this strange current of energy running skyward, like a thousand tiny bells tied to your capillaries, ringing with your heartbeat. You sit and lean against one trunk-it's like leaning against a house or a mountain. The trunk is your spine, the nerve centers reaching into other worlds, below ground and above. You stand and press your body into the ancestral and enduring, arms wide, and your fingers do not touch. You wonder how big the unseen gap.
If you stay in one place too long, you know you'll root.”
Janisse Ray
“Something happens to me when I garden. I am fully, reliably, blissfully present to who I am and where I am in that moment. I am an animal with a hundred different senses and all of them are switched on.”
Janisse Ray, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food
“I may not have a lot of hope but I have plenty of love, which gives me fight.”
Janisse Ray, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food
“Are you going to farmer up or just lie there and bleed?”
Janisse Ray, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food
“The moral of the story, Son," Pun would say, "is Don't take more on your heart than you can shake off on your heels."
Of all lessons, that one I never learned and I hope I never do. My heart daily grows new foliage, always adding people, picking up new heartaches like a wool coat collects cockleburs and beggar's-lice seeds. It gets fuller and fuller as I walk slow as a sloth, carrying all the pain Pun and Frank and so many others tried to walk from. Especially the pain of the lost forest. Sometimes there is no leaving, no looking westward for another promised land. We have to nail our shoes to the kitchen floor and unload the burden of our heart. We have to set to the task of repairing the damage done by and to us.”
Janisse Ray, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood
“Georgia Author Brenda Sutton Rose captures some of the conflicted and captivating characters of a rapidly changing South.”
Janisse Ray


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