Arts & Culture

Hall's ‘Sown in the Stars’ receives 2023 Henry Clay Public Service Award

UPK author Sarah L. Hall
UPK author Sarah L. Hall is the recipient of the 2023 Henry Clay Public Service Award | Pictured by UPK

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 28, 2023) — Sarah L. Hall, author of "Sown in the Stars: Planting by the Signs" (University Press of Kentucky), is the recipient of the 2023 Henry Clay Public Service Award. This release features nearly two dozen interviews with contemporary farmers in Central and Eastern Kentucky who still follow the signs of the moon and stars to guide planting, harvesting, canning and food preservation, butchering, and general farmwork. Featuring photographs by Meg Wilson, this timely book bridges the past, present and future by broadening our understanding of this practice and revealing its potential to increase the resiliency of our current agricultural food systems.

“It is an honor to be recognized for this project which brought together the voices of many wonderful farmers who call Kentucky home,” said Hall. “They are now not only passing on this tradition to those they interact with in their gardens, but also to anyone who picks up this book.”

Presented by the Thomas D. Clark Foundation in conjunction with the Henry Clay Society, the Henry Clay Award recognizes, honors and celebrates individuals of exceptional merit who share characteristics of the life and work of Kentucky statesman Henry Clay.

“The Thomas D. Clark Foundation is excited to award the 2023 Henry Clay Public Service Award to Sarah L. Hall’s 'Sown in the Stars,'" said Bennie Ivory, president of the Thomas D. Clark Foundation Board of Directors. “Her work clearly exemplifies the high standards of Dr. Clark.”

“'Sown in the Stars' has always been a special project,” said Patrick O’Dowd, senior acquisitions editor at the University Press of Kentucky. “At its heart, this book represents the best of what university presses — and the University Press of Kentucky in particular — publish. It blends meaningful, important scholarship with human stories rooted in place and presents all of it in an accessible manner for folks to discover across Kentucky, Appalachia, and the world over.”

Praise for "Sown in the Stars:"

“This book explains how gardening and farming by the signs is an Appalachian tradition, with wisdom passed down through oral legends, written records and general advice. Through its engaging and informative interviews, 'Sown in the Stars' preserves these customs for future generations. With a rich historical and regional grounding, (this book) is a fascinating, pragmatic cosmic resource for biodynamic planting.” — Foreword Reviews

Hall is associate professor of agriculture and natural resources at Berea College. Her scholarly articles on the restoration of native forests and grasslands in Kentucky have been published in a wide range of journals, including Restoration Ecology and New Forests. 

Meg Wilson, a Berea College alumna, is a graduate student in art and art history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Wilson’s photographs have appeared in many publications and collections, including Appalachian Reckoning, Appalachian Review, Time magazine, Oxford American and Looking at Appalachia. "Sown in the Stars" was released in April 2023 by the University Press of Kentucky.

About the University Press of Kentucky

The University Press of Kentucky is the statewide nonprofit scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Serving all Kentucky state-sponsored institutions of higher learning as well as seven private colleges and Kentucky’s two major historical societies, it was organized in 1969 as successor to the University of Kentucky Press. UPK is dedicated to the publication of academic books of high scholarly merit as well as significant books about the history and culture of Kentucky, the Ohio Valley region, the Upper South and Appalachia.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.