Saturday, May 05, 2007
Farming in LA
"Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains" (Jas 5:7).
I don't know if James ever farmed, but I wonder if the farmer back then was more resigned (because he couldn't control the weather) than blissfully patient. Or is it a Christian farmer trusts in God's timing while the pagan one entreats and seeks to manipulate his gods of wood and stone?
Anyway, I've been volunteering at a 4-acre organic urban farm just off the 60 in S. El Monte for the last few weeks. It's connected to one of the non-profits I want to work for called LA Conservation Corps. It blends a sort of environmental/green agenda with educational/mentoring of youth through their various work and after school programs. It's been a great way for me to see if this is really something I want to do, and so far so good.
Physical labor is really different than the typical office job. I've discovered muscles I didn't know I had, mostly because they were sore the next morning. I've learned to use a rototiller, seed broadcaster, and weedwacked for 3 hours (weeds are very juicy). And I'm developing relationships with the workers and high school students who are part of the program.
Honing a passion for green stuff has helped me see how it can contribute to showing the Kingdom in the community. I described it to some as "converting abandoned space into community space." Every time I see empty lots, I see their potential as green space that can also function as 3rd space for the community (God knows we need more of that in LA.) And developing relationships outside of the church is exactly the context I know I need to grow in being part of the Missio Dei.