Week 28 (N): nature
As the tired adage of naturalists and hippies goes, the Earth is important. For one, it’s the only planet we’ve got that’s habitable in any practical sense of the word. While I’ve been annoyed by this somewhat overused refrain since college, I can still see the truth in it. Jacqueline Basham‘s art, particularly the one that admonishes us to “live gently upon this Earth”, reiterates this excellent point.
Part of my flavor of paganism is the belief that the Earth is important. It’s not called a nature-based religion for nothing: nature is sacred. Part of it is because the Earth is where we live, but I think it’s more than having a simple respect for one’s house. Go outside and look around. Most of the time, staring at trees or walking barefoot in the grass, causes deep, inexplicable shivers in my spine. This was true even when I was a kid, before I found my Pagan path, which explains why it felt like coming home. I had finally found other people who saw nature as I did: as a deeply spiritual, magical, all-encompassing experience.
Book of Mirrors tackled this topic last month and expressed her irritation at the idea that Pagans are responsible for healing the Earth. I respectfully disagree. However, I take a broader approach: I think that, as people (rather than just as Pagans), it’s our responsibility to live responsibly and take care of what is our home. I think that practices like fracking, non-sustainable farming techniques, irresponsible manufacturing, and others are an affront to humanity. These things damage the Earth. And, as one of the species who live here, we absolutely have a duty to be respectful.
Consider this a bonus post for the Pagan Blog Project; we’re on E anyway this week. I bought into my first farm share this morning, so I’m excited and I wanted to share.
I live in an area that has quite a few farms. I’m not talking giant factory farms, where you’re not sure what the animals are being fed or where chemicals are essentially poured into the soil. I’m talking small-scale operations, many of which are what’s called community-supported agriculture (CSA). Basically it’s a way of distributing food grown locally to people who live nearby. Most CSAs that I know of are very concerned with sustainability practices and organic farming, both of which are important to me.
If you live somewhere that you can participate in something like this, I encourage you to do it. (You can search for a local CSA here.) Supporting local food sources is a pretty smart move in my opinion, as are shopping at things like farmer’s markets. There’s something amazing to me about being able to buy direct from the person that’s responsible for growing the food I get to eat later that same day.
The way a farm share from a CSA works (at least in this area) is this: you pay a set amount of money up front, in advance of the actual growing season. Then, whenever the first batch of crops comes up (usually the first week of June around here), you can pick up your first share. From June through October, you go to the farm every week and pick up whatever’s ripe that week. Most farms will give you a box, though some use bags, and you fill that with as much fresh, organic, locally grown produce as you like. For some crops, there’s limits (e.g. you can only have two potatoes this week because there weren’t a lot, but you can have unlimited kale), but mostly it’s just about filling your box with whatever strikes your fancy.
I got my CSA from Next Barn Over, but there at least four other options nearby (it was really hard to choose one actually!). Next Barn Over grows things like bok choy, leeks, peas, and parsnips, as well as a whole slew of other crops. Come June, I’ll get a box of fresh produce (veggies mostly, but I hear they have pick your own herbs and strawberries too) every single week, through the end of October. I can’t wait!