Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Belovedhood: Feed all, serve all, love all

Here is a link for a movie that is being worked on called Growing Cities. These young men came out and filmed us at the Free Farm and the Free Farm Stand (at the end of the day) and some of the other farms they have visited across the United States seem pretty interesting.

Below is a description of the last Free Farm workday written by Pancho and it comes from a longer blog post about the Free Farm Stand and the Free Farm. You can read the whole post here: http://freefarmstand.org/.

As Britney and I write this piece from the Free Farm, there are people: harvesting for the free farm stand; building a terrace; beautifying the labyrinth; watering the beds and isolated pots; preparing the table for the vegan lunch at noon; planting seeds in the greenhouse; washing the produce for the 1pm farm stand; guiding visitors to show some of the magic of the farm; carrying wheelbarrows –or taking a nap in one of them– full of mulch to nourish the paths; turning the compost; taking pictures for the blog and writing a post to celebrate all of this work and the work that can’t be described with metrics.
The diversity of the people volunteering honors and matches the rich diversity of life in the farm. On the one hand, the farm is filled with people of brown, black, white skin; a 1 yearold whose mom joined the yoga and meditation sessions in the morning; young people from both Stanford and UC Berkeley; teens from all backgrounds sharing their wisdom; enthusiastic elders from the neighborhood; people without houses and without money giving away all they have: their time, love and energy; Christians, a Buddhist monk, secular people, anarchists, Jews, Muslims, Native Americans all united in this church without walls. With this diversity, we come together, work together, learn together, and share. On the other hand, the farm is inhabited by a red tail hawk who has made the farm her source of mice and rats; by ravens, hummingbirds, pigeons, worms, snails, ants; bees that live in hives and bees that live buried in the soil, who knows what fascinating interactions are happening beneath the surface of the beds. We learn from this animal world too, just as we learn from the diverse human worldviews that the farm draws together.

Many of us enjoy our volunteer work at the Free Farm because we believe that healthy, local food is the foundation of social justice. While 93 percent of the varieties of crops have gone extinct in the part of the Planet we call the U.S. –and all over the World– city kids, like many of us, are learning how to facilitate the growth of food and how to let crops go to seed. The concepts of both regeneration (not sustainability) and community are being shared and practiced. We are planting seeds of generosity and harvesting kindness to and from the community.

With this growth of soil and community, local neighbors are getting more and more involved. As these neighbors volunteer at the farm and receive its produce, a circle of giving and receiving is emerging. In this gift economy, we are able to provide for one another and cultivate compassion and care. As we shared before, the effects of the farm do not end within the Western Addition neighborhood here in San Francisco. They carry over to the Mission, where the surplus food produced by the stand is given away as an act of unconditional love. We don’t believe that in a pollution-violence based economy only people with financial resources can consume healthy local organic food. We believe and practice that everybody can and must be nourished with healthy local food and healthy entertainment. We are doing our best to treat each other as family. And our family is widening, indeed. There is a palpable love and acknowledgement to take care of our elders and our children.

Through the act of freely giving away healthy and local produce, unjust food systems–like the one in this part of the Planet, where kale is often not affordable for many, yet unhealthy hot dogs cost less than a dollar–are challenged and a community is built. It is the love and dedication of volunteers that makes this possible. And it is this same love and dedication which has an infectious tendency on others, keeping the farm and the stand energized and thriving.

In other words: feed all, serve all, love all.

These were our two seeds as Free Farmers, ;-)
May all become compassionate, courageous and wise.
Britney, Pancho and Adelaja.

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