At 5 Loaves Farm we try to balance the hard work of cultivating the land with taking time to contemplate the effects that this work has on both us and the community around us. Each Saturday morning during the growing season (April – October), we gather with people from throughout the community for our Contemplation & Cultivation Group, which specifically focuses on both taking quiet time to reflect on what we observe going on around, within, and between us, and partnering together to do the work of tending the garden.
Humanity’s first God-given task was to do just that; tend the garden. There is something purposeful, healthy, and life shaping about engaging in this primal and essential task. Without cultivating the land we won’t get what we need from it, and if we are not thoughtfully cultivating land or tending the garden, we will not be able to get what we need from it in the future. So we gather to be shaped by engaging in purposeful work together, and thoughtfully reflecting on how our relationship to the land is shaping us and how we are shaping the landscape.
The natural rhythms of day and night, seasonal patterns, or life and death in the gardens all provide opportunities for gaining deep insights into finding balance in those same rhythms in our souls. Where is there darkness; where is there light in my life? What is this season in my life allowing me to enjoy and challenging me to overcome? What are the life giving or thriving parts of my life; what needs to be weeded or cleaned out of my life; what needs special attention or nurture in my life in order for me to thrive?
So we participate in specific spiritual practices that help us interact with these questions. We engage in listening prayers, or breath prayers; we go on prayer walks through the garden, or sit in silent meditation in a quiet corner of the garden.
But we do these things with together, with both our farm staff (including youth), as well as other neighbors & community members. We gather first to share some food, often treats from our gardens or farmers market. We talk about our experiences in life, how to engage in spiritual practices, and get instruction from each other about these spiritual practices. After our quiet time we share our experiences and thoughts, continuing to learn from each other. And finally, we engage in the work of the farm together, continuing the conversation and continuing to be shaped by this work together.
For many, I think you will find something in you that resonates with all of this. I hope if there is some tug in your heart that reveals you’ve been longing for something like this, you would join us on a Saturday. We start with light snacks (and warm drinks during the fall!) at 9:30am at the farmhouse (70 W Delavan Ave). By 10 o’clock we shift into our time of reflection, and by 10:30 we are working on our garden tasks for the day. October offers the last set of Saturdays in the growing season, so we hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity to come and connect with the farm, the community of people working here, and with something deeper within yourself!