Community Harvest Day

I look forward to Community Planting day every year. This is the magical day we plant heirloom wheat at the Bishop’s Ranch, a 350 acre Episcopal retreat center in Healdsburg, CA. The Ranch doesn’t identify as a farm (not yet), it’s a place for people to gather for spiritual renewal. Yet, a few years ago when I approached the Executive Director about planting wheat to be grown for communion bread, he was open to the conversation. We identified the opportunity for spiritual renewal, where wheat becomes the instrument of education for faith, connecting soil and sacrament.

Anyone can participate in community planting days, just email me City slickers to green thumb gardeners are invited. This last planting day we even had a young woman who used to make commercial whole-wheat pasta join us. She had worked with grains intensively but had never planted it and was interested to learn what’s involved.

The day was so inspiring that I was moved to write a poem. ….Here it is straight from my journal…

I Remember Planting Day…

I remember the enchanting shimmer in the air, the emerald green grass and azure blue sky as we gathered to plant.

I remember the friendly faces filled with anticipation.

I remember wonderful Vincent, my friend from my grain growing group; first to arrive and last to leave, and his message that the intention we bring to planting really does matter.

I remember my eye lingering on the plot prepared with labor and skill, the earth rich in color like the bark of madrone trees, ready to receive the wheat seeds.

I remember the bent over bodies and the sore knees.

I remember the magnetic pull of our work, drawing people from all over the Ranch grounds like the priest on sabbatical and folks on retreat, intrigued to see what we were doing.

I remember sharing bread baked from last year’s harvest, feeling the energy of the sun in my mouth, knowing every hand that had touched those seeds and milled that flour.

I remember wondering if the people who will eat the bread made from this Spring’s planting, will taste the iron and other minerals drawn up by the wheat’s deep roots.

I remember the generations who came before us like Ruth and Boaz, and my great-grandfather, Pa, who also farmed wheat, putting their trust in the Soil.

I remember driving home, exhausted, happy and fulfilled.

I remember Planting Day…

Elizabeth DeRuffComment