Week 7 (Chicago Week 5)

List of this week's vegetables

  • Redventure celery
  • Turnips with greens
  • Zucchini
  • Purple Peacock or broccoli
  • Basil
  • Kohlrabi
  • Cucumbers
  • Bright Lights chard
  • Red rumple lettuce
  • Kentucky Wonder pole beans, and Provider bush beans

 

How your farm promotes International Year of Soil

My every accomplishment in life for nearly 30 years is a footnote to Dela, who introduced me to a garden as not merely a place of dirt, weeds and work, but a place of miracles, an infinite variety of living miracles.

It was a backyard garden, not a farm, and the North Carolina soil was not the fine silt loam at Scotch Hill. Her father dropped a tiller off at the house I rented between the newspaper where I worked and the Anglican parish hall where I first saw Dela’s face so full of light and life.

It was another 6 years of hard work together before we could put a down payment on a broken-down farmstead and walk with our babies into a garden that became a vocation. Actually, there is no owning a farm. If you are true to the farm – responsible, honest, the farm owns you.

To farm with commitment to stewardship and faith, is to be completely absorbed from dawn until dark, day in and out, serving and protecting fragile life, fertile soil. Only from this sort of work and soil spring miracles.

By this service, food is health, food is health, food is health. By any other farming system, there is only exploitation – not service, and food becomes sickness, debilitation, death.

It’s miraculous that our service to this place has brought people from many different faiths, even distant lands, onto this soil. It’s sadly ironic that so many people of Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths, who cleave to the same creation story, an account of miracles, have become in urban walks of life so removed and detached from the place of miracles – the garden, the farm. Hope lies in every person who subscribes to a season of Community Supported Agriculture. It lets miracles of healing continue to take place. It brings peace and unity.

Environmental teacher Cal DeWitt, who led the Au Sable Institute in Michigan for many years and expanded its work to the West Coast, has tried tirelessly to awaken people of his faith to care for Creation. He asks how anyone can praise a Creator’s work each week in worship, yet never go to see the Creation? Further, he asks, how can anyone who vigorously credits details of life on this Earth to a Creator, go about life indifferent when business, development, even agricultural practices drive elements of created life into extinction?

As a human race populating a globe of fragile soils, how many of us know that we’re 7 months into a year the UN Food and Agriculture Organization has proclaimed the 2015 International Year of Soil? Soil is the source of all forms of life. Soil is the source of the precious minerals essential to human health. Whether we realize it or not, all wealth comes from the soil.

Yet by fossil fuel-driven employment of petro-chemicals and synthetic fertilizers, the dominant agricultural system considers soil “unimportant.” Soil today has become simply a medium; a place to put seed, anhydrous ammonia, pesticide and herbicide on a massive scale, a land on life support.

Alternatives are not easy. It can take 100 years to restore an inch of soil to fertility once it has been eroded, over-worked, leached out. This week on rented land, I’ve been walking and driving along hundreds of yards of our fall squash with mowers, tillers and pitch forks of compost.

Before we rented this particular end of a field we farm, its history included chemical production and cash cropping. Sand predominates in the slope. Unrelenting rains this spring into summer have washed out the nutrients and organic matter I’ve tried to restore. 

We’re proud to take part again in the Soil Sisters farm lessons and tour, July 31 to Aug. 2. Want to help us get ready, volunteer a few hours with the miracles? Our next workday is Saturday, July 25th. Come any time between 9:00am and 7:00pm, and bring a picnic lunch to enjoy with us at 1:00.

It’s all to your health, our health. Every year’s our Year of Soil.