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Lovarchist Farming Chronicles

Spring Sprang Dang Done

This Spring sprang so quickly that i think Summer is already here--for the past two weeks already. It's May, the month of Peter Maurin's birth and death dates, the Catholic Worker Movement's birth of MayDay (1933), Conscientious Objector's Day, Women's Day of Disarmament, Chesterton Day, Sts. Isadore & Maria Day, and Mothers' Day. (See the peaceful source of Mothers Day elsewhere on the interwebs.) So in this first month of the new era of the Catholic Worker Farms (i HOPE it's a new era) we are inundated with the heat of Summer. And that heat and sunlight brings much fecundity on our farm.

Regarding the "new era" in the CW movement, it's a hope i have that's inspired by Chris Montesano's delight in the present regarding the past 8 years of dynamic energy in CW farming. The first 80 years of the movement lasted until MayDay this year, and i hope that the next 80 years of the CW movement will be a reversal in the percentage of CW urban vs. CW farming endeavors. Peter Maurin talked about "cult, culture and cultivation," a.k.a. "liturgy, literature and agriculture," a.k.a. "Christian praxis, scholarship, and gardening," or in the generic Pax Christi way: prayer, study, and action. Looking at the latest NY CW paper, it looks like there's about 170 communities worldwide, including only 20 farms per se. If Maurin's prophetic calling for a Green Revolution was more fully realized, then our statistics in the CW movement would be more like 50% farms and 50% urban spots. We'll see what the next 80 years brings...

We can focus more on these ideals at the Faith, Farming and Resistance Retreat in October--here in Calaveras County, CA. Chelsea and i spoke about the coming retreat on KPFA radio in Berkeley a few weeks ago, as we promoted the peace vigils at Livermore Lab.

To celebrate the first 80 years and plant hope for the next 80, Chris passed the ENORMOUS baton to me, so i quickly tossed it into the hole next to the phone company's green metal box, and Lisa and Carol shoveled the dirt into the hole to make the pole stick. Chelsea read a Peter Maurin Easy Essay, and then Don, from Sheep Ranch (a guy born in the same hospital as me 5 or 6 decades ago), pounded the dirt down to keep the pole vertical as we headed back up the hill for dessert. You can see clearly in these photos of the peace pole that we are putting up this wooden stick representing the prayers for peace and the radical pacifist activity to bring about the end of nuclear weapons and war-mongering in the US Empire. Our neighbors joined us for the fun as we had dinner and dessert together, with the peace pole planting in-between. Our pole was first given to Chelsea and me 4 years ago on St. Francis Day, after which we carried it in the streets of Berkeley from the church to the park for a post-wedding party. It then got planted in Albuquerque, NM for more than three years, and back here to CA to stay as long as it can last, at the southern entrance to our 80-acre Earth Abides Land Trust.

We've got a lot of planting left to do here in CA at the Earth Abides Catholic Worker Farm, but for MayDay (my sister's birth anniversary) we merely planted the peace pole and a bunch of pole beans in the flats that now live in our green house. During the Faith, Farming and Resistance Retreat in October we'll build a second green house to help expand our food-production capacity--God willing. Chelsea talks about theology at her school online. Tom and Chris both wrote articles for our latest Farm News.

Even our sprouts do yoga, and the balcony of St. Catherine's Retreat House is blooming for sure.

For those of you not familiar with the peace pole phenomenon, they can have 4 or 6 sides, with a different language for each side. The message is "may peace prevail on earth". A taller pole can easily have 8 languages (stack two on each side) or 12 languages (stack two on each side of a six-sided pole). Ours is in English, Newe, Aramaic and Spanish. Newe is the language of the Newe (Shoshone) people based in Idaho, Nevada, and part of Oregon. They were nomadic when the Treaty of Ruby Valley was written in 1863, allowing the USA to have free access in Newe Sogobia (their territory) without interruption. Unfortunately, less than 100 years after that treaty, the US began bombing the Shoshone lands at a place now known as the Nevada National Security Site. The bombs are primarily nuclear weapons, forever polluting the soil and groundwater in Western Shoshone territory, and affecting all peoples in the region for the next 100 thousand years. Our first radish is a sign of hope--the grace of this flying critter is much more fun than the poison fire situation that NDE will tell you all about.

PART TWO: Harvest For
Jubilee Plowshares Anniversary & Boniface Day

Two weeks ago was the international protest against Monsanto. Chris Montesano joined the protest against Monsanto (locally in Sonora, CA), in an Ammon Hennacy-esque way by showing what he's done for 37 years at the Farm:

CLICK for video of this event.

Tom carried around a jar of some of our saved seeds--the Scalzo family beans. I held somebody else's sign regarding Monsanto's stupidity (poisoning the world with pesticides and controlling the world's food through seed ownership). The back of my orange shirt was the main message i sported that day (partially visible in the shots below of the peaceful carrot harvest basket): Save Seeds & Terminate Monsanto (referring to the terminator gene that keeps seeds from being able to reproduce themselves as adult plants). It's good to recognize that saving and planting our own seeds is a constructive way to resist Monsanto, and it's not illegal yet to own your own seeds!

Today (June 5th) is the date we remember a good moment in peace movement history when Fr. Steve Kelly and Susan Crane disarmed a nuclear weapons delivery system at Lockheed-Martin in Sunnyvale, CA (1995). Our friend Katya Komisaruk (herself a plowshares activist) represented them in court in San Jose. In honor of the peace needed everywhere, we harvested a big bowl of peas, and all the carrots (except for the ones that're going to seed so we can save the seed). Tomorrow we harvest all the (non-seed) radishes. That'll make space in the bed at St. Catherine's House for butter beans.
Here's the harvest shots:

Tom single-handedly got all these goodies and then made a pie...

The seeds in Spiritbringer's jar above get planted and germinate to look like this after two weeks:

Scalzo Heirloom Beans