Friday, April 26, 2013

Blessing the Farm

On Wednesday night we had the inaugural dinner for the DePauw University campus farm.  This has been a dream for some years of people here at the university who care about environmental sustainability: to have a place where we could grow food for the campus community in an environmentally responsible way.  Now the farm is a reality, awaiting the planting of its first crops once the fields dry out from the torrential rains we've had this spring.

At the inaugural farm dinner we couldn't eat food grown from our own little farm, of course, as those harvests are yet to come. But all the food we ate was grown and processed locally, and it was a sumptuous feast, eaten at long picnic tables covered with red-checked tablecloths adorned with mason jars filled with spring flowers. Here are a few of the delicacies we shared:

Mixed Greens with Honey Vinaigrette
Samuel Fisher Amish Farm, Bloomingdale, IN; Majenica Creek Honey Farm, Huntington, IN

Red Barn Farms Grilled Chicken with Fresh Thyme and Lacqured with Harris Sugar Bush Maple Syrup
Red Barn Farms, Greencastle, IN; Harris Sugar Bush, Greencastle, IN

Peaper Brothers Turnip Hash and Mash with Fresh Chives (the best thing on this delicious menu!)
Peaper Brothers Farms, Indianapolis, IN; Samuel Fischer Amish Farms, Bloomingdale, IN

Fresh Asparagus
Melton Acres, Oaktown, IN

Breads served with fresh-churned butter and persimmon jam
Scholars Inn, Bloomington, IN;  Smith Dairy Farms, Richmond, IN; The Great American Persimmon Company, Freetown, IN

As we gathered, soft bluegrass music was played by two local musicians. The director of the Center for Spiritual Life offered a blessing: we all stood and faced our farm and offered up our hopes for its fruitfulness.  And then we ate. And ate. And ate.

One of my favorite songs ever, the mantra of my hour-a-day writing career, is the "Garden Song" sung by Peter, Paul, and Mary, Pete Seeger, and others:

Inch by inch, row by row,
Gonna make this garden grow.
Gonna mulch it deep and low,
Gonna make it fertile ground.
Inch by inch, row by row,
Please bless these seeds I sow.
Please keep them safe below
'Til the rain comes tumbling down.

So I joined with beloved students, colleagues, and friends to bless the seeds we would be sowing, and to bless all small steps that anybody takes to make our fragile world a better place.

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