I spent the better part of the weekend in the company of some of the most inspiring people in the world. It was the 40th reunion of the UCSC farm program—now called the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. For 40 years, people have "apprenticed" there, to learn to farm sustainably. They have slept in tents, teepees, yurts, and on rare occasions (such as the young man from Uganda, who could not tolerate the unnatural cold), a trailer.
For forty years, the graduates have gone out into the large world and done work to bring sustainable agriculture—one-acre farms in the middle of urban areas, some right next to highway, others in prison programs—to places that need it badly.
I will have to write more about it later, but I will say this. These people, and this work, is what church SHOULD be like. It's what religions should strive for. It's what every person alive, possessed of a good conscience and heart, should be supporting.
I lost several coats of mascara in the inspiring presentations.
Last night, there was a feast, originally for 500 people, which soon expanded to 600. There were two long tables—with nearly a hundred bouquets—set between rows of fruit trees, and then the apprentices (the students) went and found even more. There were the most lavish and creative foods pouring out of the makeshift kitchens: grills and the occasional gas burner did the work of feeding an army.
I am too tired to write about all of it, but you will hear more on these pages because honestly, I found my religion. No, I won't be a farmer, but I'll keep coming to the church of Alan Chadwick.
More on it all soon. It was, in a word, heaven.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: “I feel no need for any other faith than my faith in the kindness of human beings. I am so absorbed in the wonder of earth and the life upon it that I cannot think of heaven and angels.” — Pearl S. Buck
Thank you for visiting, as ever. And thank you to all the new people: some kind of critical mass has been achieved, or some huge shift, because all of a sudden, twice in the past month, I have had a huge spike in visitors. The first time it was because of Betty Van Dyke's Blenheim apricots, but the rest of the time, it's been a little of everything. I've got well over twice the traffic I had a year ago, and I can only believe that people like to see beauty that is real, and to read about people who are working to make the world a better (and tastier!) place.