Noted Poet-Farmer reflects on ‘Soil and Spirit’
As a farmer with decades spent working in the fields, Chaskey’s worldview has been shaped by daily attention to the earth. His career as a writer has been influenced by these experiences, showing a profound commitment to the promotion of food sovereignty and organic agriculture. In both writing and farming, his efforts have been animated by a central conviction—namely, that humble attention to microbial life provides us with invaluable lessons for building healthy human communities.
Soil and Spirit is a collection of personal essays, mapping the evolution of Chaskey’s thoughts on ecology, agriculture, and society through decisive moments in his biography. In its pages, he takes readers to his original homestead in Maine; the rugged Irish countryside, complete with blackberries, heather, and Nobel-Prize-winning poets; the ancient granite cliffs of the Cornwall coastline; Santa Clara, New Mexico, where he harvested amaranth seeds alongside a group of indigenous women; and finally, to Amagansett, in Suffolk County, where he recalls planting Redwood saplings and writing poetry beneath a centuries-old beech tree.
The lecture will take place at 7:00 pm in the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum’s Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium. Tickets are available here. Support for the lecture series is generously provided by a grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation.
About the lecturer:
Scott Chaskey is the author of Soil and Spirit. He is also the author of a memoir, This Common Ground: Seasons on an Organic Farm, and a book of nonfiction, Seedtime: On the History, Husbandry, Politics, and Promise of Seeds. His poetry, first printed in literary journals in the early seventies, has been widely published over four decades.
A pioneer of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement, for thirty years he cultivated more than sixty crops for the Peconic Land Trust at Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett, New York, one of the original CSAs in the country. He is the past president of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York and was honored as Farmer of the Year in 2013.
Chaskey was a founding board member for both the Center for Whole Communities, in Vermont, and Sylvester Manor Educational Farm, in Shelter Island, New York. He taught as a poet-in-the-schools for over two decades and as an instructor for Antioch International and Friends World College in Southampton. He lives and works on the east end of Long Island, New York.