Seeding, Weeding, Feeding, and Putting Up

Chard, peas, nasturtiums, beans, sunflowers and a child's first ferment.

I’ve grown these flowers, these vegetables, and this child, from tiny little seeds. 

While the seams of society are ripping open, and the horrors of systemic racism, police violence, predatory tendencies of capitalism all are cast into the bright summer solstice sun, we have spiritual and political garden work to tend to.

We need to be weeding. Weeding out the ways that these toxic systems are buried deep within our psyches. And white supremacy is like horsetail or coochgrass, even if we think we have cleared it, it will keep sprouting back up until the conditions have changed. As we pull the weeds and tie things up, we should be mindful to let the light onto the life that was being over shadowed and choked out.  Weeding isn’t a clear cut, but a discernment, a filtering. We remove that which causes harm as a part of supporting that which deserves life.

We have watering and feeding to do. We feed that which we want to grow, and we do that with time, love, attention, resource.  Meeting calls for reparations means spreading nutrients around. A compost pile left in a horde can be stinky and hot enough to burn. Turned over and spread around it will turn a sad little plot to an abundant rich ecosystem. Wealth as acquired through colonial capitalism is stolen and apt to rot; horded it will continue to cause harm. Spread it around, turn it on it’s head, and keep it watered to make sure all the nutrients are reaching the roots. 

Permaculture and restorative growing principles like interplanting, hugelkukture, mycellial integration and food forests have insight to offer community building. Monocrops fail, they are less resilient in the face of pests, drought and disease. When settlers first came to North America they didn’t understand the integrated food forests they encountered, they razed them to plant what they knew. When we look around, at our social media feeds, at our friend groups, are we taking this to heart? Are we ensuring that we seek lived perspectives on issues our privilege may have shielded us from? Are we nurturing the connections between the seemingly unrelated? Are we willing to support the growth of that which doesn’t seem to serve us personally, but that are important parts of rich integrated systems? Are we supporting pollinators, saving seeds, planting long game crops we will never personally collect the bounty of? 

And lastly, as we harvest there is the labour of putting up. Finding ways to ferment and preserve what we have grown into something alive and nutritive that can see us through the dark times when we aren’t feeling as heavy with bounty. We can follow old recipes and experiment with new variations. We can pass these practices to our next generations, while learning new-old ways from each other and the secrets we each carry from our lineages. In doing so we recognize the ways that we may have lived our lives eating a narrow flavour profile void of life. Our digestive systems will come alive and the garden within is fed. Something as simple as a cabbage, when taken apart, put under pressure and given space and time reveals itself as more. When we take ourselves, our beliefs apart, salt them, apply pressure, and let them sit: What can we become? This happens in a dark corner and isn’t all that glamorous, are we willing to do it anyways? 

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