At this point in my life (and travels) I’ve shifted into the realm of community gardens. Learning about ways to offer land and food to people who live either urban or sub-urban lives yet want the opportunity to grow their own or have access to good, organic food is something I’ve taken on.
Though my dream life was once to be a neo-homesteader, complete with self-sufficient gardening and animal management, doing for myself what Western consumerism tells you that you can’t (make your own clothes from fiber to yarn to garment, for example, or provide your own meat by safely butchering an animal), living off the grid and watching my babes run around the yard all naked and natural while I hang laundry in the whispery breeze. To have work and family and learning and recreation be a cohesive package, a self-supporting cycle.
Enter the reality that land is hard to come by, money even harder, and the realization that good stewardship as a Christian involves more than just watching my resource consumption and living a frugal life, but is inherently about fostering relationships with people and valuing their worth. I’ve let my pursuit of a green and organic lifestyle get in the way of my friendships and fellowship with others in the past, spent the majority of my time and money on it, obsessing with health and living lightly. In essence, I created an idol. These pursuits are not very fruitful, to say the least. (This is another description of what I’m trying to convey.)
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” Matt. 6:27
But as I’m growing in my faith, I’m learning to balance my convictions with God’s purpose and the community He’s placed me in. To offer the knowledge of sustainable and organic gardening to others who might not have access to good food is something I feel is important not only to those immediately around me, but greater society as well. Not everyone can have 20 acres and a draft horse, but with community-involvement, everyone can have access to some land and a way to cultivate it.
There are lots of community gardens in Port Townsend, ranging from neighborhood collaborations and communal chicken coops, to food bank designated sites run by Ameri-Corp interns and other affiliates, and even to a local farm-based ‘dry-land project’; an initiative to bring draught-tolerant grains/staple foods into production.
All of these and more research down the road will be added to the compiling of paper mounds that are the makings of an intended book on methods and models of community gardening. And though homesteading may still be in it for this young, aspiring farmer, reaching the urban and sub-urban specters of our society is where the real need is for health and getting back to living naturally – a little bit closer to the world God designed in the first place.
“All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:
You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.
The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock – the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.
Your basket and kneading trough will be blessed.
You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.” Deut. 28:2-6