Thursday, August 5, 2010

Just a few of my favorite things

For those of you who don’t know, I have been interning at the Free Farm over the summer and unfortunately this is my last week here. To say the absolute least, being at the farm has been magical. In my last blog post I thought it would be appropriate to go through just some of my highlights.

Regardless of the tasks or projects at hand, the one constant thing about a workday at our farm, is the trademark free vegan lunch. Not only is the lunch without exception delicious and healthy, the time away from work offers volunteers, new and old, an opportunity to build relationships. We share stories, debate ideas, and marvel at the progress the farm has made. Some call it community building, but in the end it is those relationships that form the sacred fixture that holds the farm together.

In the same light, I am constantly reminded that the entirety of my working here was based on my learning from the other volunteers. From teaching me why we need to inoculate the beans before we plant them to learning about why beehives swarm to hearing the richness of each volunteers’ individual journeys that brought them here—my experience here obviously and completely out did the traditional office internship.

Each workday will inevitably include planting and/or harvesting. Naturally, these activities are fundamental to farming, yet, for someone like me (I have only taken care of one plant in my life before this summer) I have taken great pleasure in the chance to directly connect to creation, care, and giving of food. Now, I actually love to get my fingernails dirty (reminding me of my childhood when I didn’t care a bit about coming home with a white shirt turned brown from mud). And kneeling down to put seedlings in the soil or picking ripe crops also takes my eyes down to the plant-eye-level. It is only from this level that I can truly appreciate the miraculous world that exists down there—how incredible what a little change of perspective can do.

Also working at the farm has given me the many occasions to talk with members of the community beyond the chain link fence lining the farm. It has been a great pleasure listening to the praise of those who pass by. It seems as if at least a dozen people stop by the fence each workday staring in amazement at what we have done here. It is a delight to see people so excited when spotting a favorite vegetable of theirs on the farm. Likewise, every so often a neighbor will come by to tell us the stories of the church, when it burned down, and what the lot was like before January.

On one hand I have been wondering that perhaps the farm’s presence in the community has initiated a dialogue with the city. I don’t know why each of them stop but for me I hope that the farm tells people that at the least it is possible to take care of each other and our shared space in a different way. But on the other I also wonder that if I never tried farming, I could have easily been one of the many who pass by the farm plugged into their headphones in and enthralled in their phone without even glancing at the vibrant color and completely failing to notice the magnificent beauty below his feet.

It seems kind of strange asking you to come by the farm just as I am saying goodbye. But if you haven’t in awhile, make an effort to come back. And when you do, bring a friend, spouse, neighbor, and/or child. Who knows the visit might end up giving them the gift of seeing the world from a plants-eye-view.

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