Thursday, October 8

Last week, at the end of a long day of harvesting for the market, Matt grabbed a few hibiscus calyxes from our cultural garden and showed us an easy method of brewing tea with them. It was delicious, and I think a good metaphor for how our Contemplation & Cultivation group functions. For an hour on Saturday mornings we share contemplative spiritual practices, call them recipes, both ancient and contemporary, with the hopes that everyone will take them home, work them into their lives, and make their own recipes for daily spiritual health. Then, we get to work.

Hibiscus Roselle

Throughout the growing season (April – October), our Contemplation & Cultivation seeks to balance the physical labor of cultivating the land, with the contemplative practice of looking for God in each other, our environment, and our labor. I am thankful to have the opportunity to participate, and occasionally lead this group for the first time this year.

I was first introduced to contemplative practices during a silent retreat at the Abbey of the Genesee last year. Yet, I have struggled with the seemingly great divide between my everyday life as an employee, a husband, and a father, with the renewing contemplative practices and rhythms of the Abbey. The Contemplation & Cultivation group is a great bridge for this divide, right here in our neighborhood. It’s part of 5 Loaves Farm’s mission not only to provide sustainable market gardens and economic opportunities for our neighbors, but also to provide spiritual resources. This is one of the ways we do that.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from working alongside Matt Kauffman for a couple years, it’s this: At its core, to be a farmer is to be a mystic. Working the land, even less than an acre of land in the city, is an endeavor that requires tremendous faith, but also tremendous labor. We are spiritual and physical beings, and both of these components need to be nourished. This group seeks to offer a small slice of that experience each week for anyone who is looking for a renewed rhythm in their lives.

So, we hope you will join us for the last few weeks of this season. The next four Saturdays our farm crew will be out there at 10am for an hour of contemplative practice, reflection, and community. Then, from 11am – 1pm, we get to work on the farm. For the next couple weeks, most of the work will entail cleaning up from the season, and getting ready for next season. After such a difficult year, it’s been good to begin focusing on hope for next year’s season. I hope you will join us!

Mark Harley

Contemplation & Cultivation

Saturdays 10am – 1pm

70 West Delavan Avenue

Buffalo, NY 14213

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