On Monday, Kayla, Zach, and Sydni, who lives in the Alliance House and interned in the gardens last summer, attended a sustainability lecture at College Wesleyan Church. Matthew and Nancy Sleeth, who have been instrumental in the revival of the Sabbath movement, spoke about the physiological, psychological, and spiritual benefits of setting aside one day per week for total rest. Sydni, the only person in attendance who had made Sabbath a weekly practice, was able to share her experiences with the rest of the audience. The Sleeth's book, 24/6, goes into greater detail about Sabbath-keeping as a sustainable practice.
For the Alliance House dinner on Wednesday night, we hosted Dr. Chris Bounds from the Division of Theology and Ministry. We had all read his essay "God’s Redemption of Creation: Begun, but Moving to Culmination," which was published in Creation Care: Christian Voices on God, Humanity, and the Environment. Dr. Bounds said that it was theology that got him interested in sustainable practices: if God created the earth, then the earth deserves our utmost respect and care. We talked about the irony of current evangelical stances on environmental issues: that humans are more important than the earth, and that gives us license to do whatever we want with our resources. But towards the end of dinner, we talked about ways in which our individual churches are responding holistically and sustainably to ecological concerns like urban food deserts. With his belief in the power of parish ministry, Dr. Bounds helped us identify practical ways we can participate in God’s redemption of creation.
We spent several hours this week harvesting seeds. In a few years, we hope to have system such that we will not have to purchase seeds, and can even sell seeds to community gardeners. As we are still learning the process, we decided to save seed from only a few crops. This week, we harvested, cleaned, and dried seeds from our pumpkins, cleome, and lettuce. Pumpkin seeds in particular are valuable because we can roast and sell them at our produce stand.
Broccoli, our winter cover crop, is coming in at the 46th street garden. With the removal of our tomato trellises, the gardens are beginning to look barren, but this new season will give the ground a chance to rest and recover for next year. The principle of Sabbath-keeping applies even to the soil that produces our food. As this year’s gardens are coming to a close, we are all anticipating a restorative fall and winter and a productive spring and summer for next year’s manager and interns.