"You give them something to eat" – Jesus of Nazareth
Thursday, August 3
Most people are confused by this title. After sharing where I work, I often get the question, so what is an urban farm? People are often confused by the idea of a farm being directly in the city. I have heard by some city planners that in a truly well-organized city that there is no room for urban agriculture. Well, I would have to disagree. The opportunity that an urban farm presents to connect people in the city with their food, showing them how and where it can be grown, is one of unequivocal value. However, on top of that, there is a lot that simply the presence of such a green space presents. An urban farm is a place of beauty. Literally every time I step onto the farm I am overwhelmed by the beauty and power that the plants we grow hold. Planting a garden on a vacant lot is a symbol for the neighborhood. It says that people care about their place, that this place is important and that it holds worth.
Beyond these, urban farms offer an interruption. They bring something unique to a neighborhood. There exists a tension between the bustling chaos of a city and the tranquil, peaceful space created by an urban farm. The farm carves out a place for things to grow at the speed of nature, not at the speed of human hands alone. An urban farm is a place to slow down, to breath, to grow. 5 Loaves Farm faces this tension on a daily level. We can never escape the sounds of engines and car horns and often we experience odd mixes of smells coming from the pizza place at the end of the street and the sewage treatment plant down the road. We live and work in the collision between the rural and the urban.
Last week we encountered a sharp incursion of the outside chaos into the farm’s space of peace and solitude. As many already know, we unfortunately had about $100 worth of cucumbers be stolen from the farm. More than the disappointment that we lost all the cucumbers and weren’t able to share them with our CSA members, was just the disappointment that somebody would steal from us. A taste of the corruption of the world, something we often ponder yet rarely encounter so starkly, was felt on our little farm oasis. While we hope that we don’t encounter a theft on the farm again, we understand that that is part of the tension that we have chosen to place ourselves in.
On Saturday mornings, the farm attempts to embrace this tension between the peacefulness of the farm and the work of a city. We meet each Saturday from 9:30am- 1pm for a time of “Contemplation and Cultivation.” We seek to take an intentional time to meditate in the garden and encounter God through different spiritual exercises. This is a time to re-center and reorient our minds and hearts. Then we follow up that time with work. The farm is a busy place and has work that needs to get done. While we acknowledge the importance of stillness and rest, we also desire to see the work on the farm completed. We invite everyone to join us in this time on Saturday mornings. We hope you can all use it as a time to relax and work and check out where your produce is grown!