I am Katie, a new intern at Sarvodaya among other things. I am also a member of an 11-person intentional community in the heart of LA, an artist, a former social worker, a beekeeper, a bike rider, a mediocre cook, a reader, an aunt…etc. My journey to Sarvodaya and this internship came as I quit my job at a non-profit last January. After four years of wonderful experiences with amazing, resilient, funny, people (both social workers and clients) I learned that I needed to have a more sustainable livelihood. I needed to do something that was different than bandaging wounds and managing my own stress/fear, and contribute to the living core of the health of humanity (easy, right?). Actually the answer was fairly simple to figure out: I wanted to learn to grow plants, especially plants that can be eaten or used for other medicine, and maybe eventually show other people how to do it. As a child I spent a lot of time with parents and beloved elders in my life who gardened up a storm. My first memories of growing things are zinnias, tomatoes, and giant pumpkins–and feeling magic. I guess as an adult I lost track of that magic and maybe even thought that I couldn’t make a living working in the soil. Coming back to it has been a culmination of all the things I’ve been thinking about: social justice, food security, peaceful protest of consumerism, environmental health, and personal joy.
This past week I went up to Santa Rosa for the National Heirloom Expo. It was a time packed full of lectures, learning, and thousands of beautiful gourds (see photo). It re-oriented me to the things that are at the marrow of it all, for farmers and for all of us: seeds and soil. People spoke about the importance of resisting corporation sponsored seed laws, the possibilities of no-till farming, the beauty of ecosystems, and the common, sacred ancestry of seeds with their ability to tell us about ourselves and truly nourish our hearts and our bodies. Seeds and soil! There are a thousand things to do, but I truly feel/think/believe that so many parts of our lives come down to these two lovely things. The last week reminded me why I want to farm and why it’s so important for the earth, for people, for all creatures, and for me.
I can’t wait to continue my learning at Sarvodaya. I realize that being a farmer will be an everlasting learning curve and at this point it’s pretty steep! I am reading a ton, experimenting in my own little raised beds at home, and prepared to ask LOTs of questions (get ready, Rishi). Sarvodaya is doing just what I want to learn and eventually practice. They are nourishing the soil, growing strong and beautiful food, creating a safe place for pollinators, feeding neighbors and themselves.
That’s all for now, thanks for reading! I’ll be checking in weekly with my thoughts.
All the best,