Monday, December 8, 2008

Reflections: Birthing a Garden / Midwife to Justice

Last Saturday we, ubuntu-grows, had an amazing workday and mini-teach where we got together and weeded, mulched, winterized, and learned glorious things about our garden.

We used old coffee bags for a "winter blanket" mulch cover for our beautiful greens...collards, kale, red kale, etc. We cut slits or "x's" into the bags, and then carefully threaded the plants through the openings. As we eased the plants through the openings I remembered the few times that I have been able to witness a human birth. Each time is a miracle. Each time a head reaches out of the comfort of the warmth within their mother and out into the world is truly a miracle.

As we eased the plants out from under the coffee bags, I felt a joyous gratitude for the birth of each of those heads of greens. I laughed with delight each time a plant was threaded through, as if I hadn't seen one come through just a few moments before.


As I mentioned the birth anology to my garden family, Beth mentioned that then we must be the midwives of this garden. Helping to birth and deliver these miracles.

This is my second week at my new job with the National Farm Worker Ministry. It has already been an eye opening experience, a new way to look at the world and our food through the labor of farm workers lives.

Today at work I came across a passage that echoes these thoughts on birth and food from the land. I suggest you use it before eating your next meal.

"(Name of your divine spirit), bless the farmworker, and move our hearts to remember and bless them well. The farm worker shares in your power as midwife to creation. Help us to serve as midwife to the living wage they deserve for their labor. Help us to serve as midwife to the cause of just treatment in the fields." Amen. Ameen. Blessed Be. And so it is.

So as we do our work, and we assist in the birth of our plants, our food, as co-creaters with the Divine, we are also called to assist in the birth of justice in our communities.

What birth have you assited today?

posted by ymp

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Saturday, August 16, 2008

amend the jus soli

This is an exert from our latest meeting, notes taken by Kriti:

"We need to amend the soil, re-establish the planting grid, plant seeds and starts, put up PVC hoops, and put up plants that need vining. Kriti will bring aluminum foil and garden twine. Noah will bring shovels. As for amendments, Mikel will look into getting five 5-gallon samples of compost from the City of Durham. Beth and Yashna will both look into getting chicken manure. Mikel will ask Kia about getting the starts. Kriti and Noah will figure out what seeds to bring. Noah will look into saving eggplant seeds."

At our last meeting when Kriti said "we need to amend the soil". I had no idea what she was talking about, which is one reason I am participating here, to learn about gardening, about creating life. So, I asked Kriti, do what to the soil? Amend the soil, meaning to renew, replenish, add on to. Wow! That is beautiful! Wikipedia says that a "soil amendment is a material added to the soil to improve plant growth and health."

For some reason I am finding similarities in my naturalization process, the recent and horrible lash against undocumented (and often times documented) immigrants and my experience of gardening.

I am in process of becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States. I am excited about this, and take this process very seriously. I am in the last stage and now just waiting to hear back for final approval and hopefully be able to take my oath soon. I have felt growing attachment to the US as my home and where I find pride, safety, security and honor. I have lived here for 26 of my 29 years, this is my home, it always has been (even without a piece of paper to prove it), and I hope that it always will be (with that piece of paper to prove it).

To become naturalized originally came from "jus soli" which means to become "right of the soil."

During this naturalization process I had a chance to brush up on my civics, and study for the naturalization test, and studied the Amendments again after a long time. There are 27 Amendments to the Constitution. Amendments are changes made to something that needs to be altered. To make amends means to make up for something that was typically incorrect or wrong.

Every day in the the last few weeks I have cried. I have cried every day because I have heard, read or seen stories of people, yes people, not "aliens", not "illegals", but people, who have had there whole lives (and that of their families) shift in a second because of paper, skin color, religion, assumed nationality, or someone else's misguided hate or ignorance. This has made me unbearably sad, with tears flowing easily. If only I had a rain barrel for these tears to feed our garden with.

So, taken from our meeting notes, I would like to share these notes to my potentially new naturalized home, of the US, "we need to amend the soil..." we need to change the groundwork here y'all. We need to take out the old shit and bring in some fertile soil that encourages growth, not breaks life.

I stated earlier that the US, as my home, is where I find safety and security. I have had moments where I do not feel safe after the last few weeks where I have seen a blatant disregard to the Bill Rights, Amendments numbers 1, 4-8 and most importantly 9, unenumerated rights, or basic fundamental rights. I am calling upon the first amendment to be able to say that I am saddened by this tearing up of our garden called Durham, called NC, called USA, with blind eyes.

We need to make amends to the people we have hurt in this process, who are just trying to help our garden, our home, become more fruitful.

"We need to amend the soil and reestablish the planting grid..."

What does that look like for you?

(post by: ym)

Monday, June 30, 2008


This is what our Zucchini flower looks like at 6am.
Happy green tomatoes.
First ripe tomato!


These are long overdue....
First Baby Tomato!
Mulching keeps the moisture in!
Grow soybean sprout grow!

Welcome loved ones!!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Making Rain Barrels!

Hopefully there's a slide show below... If not, try here.
much love

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Watering days

So today was my day for watering. I almost panicked around 4 because I thought it was Wednesday and that I'd missed my time. Didn't want to disappoint anybody. When I got to the house the sun was still shining on the garden. I stood for a minute wishing and hoping that the carrot seeds hadn't all washed away in that heavy rain we'd gotten the days before. I decided right then to be gentle. I set the hose to a trickle imagining how slow the process would be if I'd used a watering can with the little holes in it. This is gonna take some time, wish I had my ipod. I started on the bed with the carrots cause thats what I had planted. Got down real close and let the water gently saturate the soil turning dusty brown into rich dark muddy earth. Looking like fertile ground I could swear I saw sprouts. I got about 4 sections done and I realized just how long this was going to take. So I turned the water up. It didn't feel quite right so I turned it down again and practiced patience. Daydreaming bout good food and loving community. Contemplating Lex's question today, about what we would grow in our Gardens- Peace, patience and self-determination, growing between thick bushes of love.
It took me over an hour, and a few mosquito bites, to water the garden. I appreciate the breath and stillness. I need to forget my ipod more often.

Why Gardens are Important

or because this made me cry.

Vita's Garden
by K Shalini

Shalini also has another film about the importance of water:
A Drop of Life