earthday_dana-grayI enjoy celebrating Earth Day everyday, but especially on April 22nd, the day designated for remembering and celebrating. This year it was cool and misty, but this did not dampen my spirits. Tammy Ball, professor of Human Services at Big Sandy Community Technical College invited me to speak with her class about Grow Appalachia, Earth Day, healthy choices and more. I loaded the car with a plethora of alphabetically organized seeds, paper handout, notes and many ideas. After setting up it was as if Spirit took over, I was on a roll. Here is a sampling of what we talked about:

Everything in the universe is energy. After introducing myself briefly, I shared about how I felt such good energy when I met Tammy for the first time. How many of you have ever had this experience of literally feeling another person’s energy? As a way to demonstrate this, each person present was invited to hold their hands together as if in prayer. What do you feel when you hold this posture? Do you feel the energy pulsing between your hands? Spread your hands further apart. Can you still feel the energy? Have you heard of “healing energy”? Or of people in our area who dowse for water, metals, minerals, or energy fields? If we believe everything is energy, why would we choose to eat food that has no life or energy? Intention, the desire, puts positive energy into food. What else is needed to grow food that is “alive”? What other ingredients are needed to give food energy? This is why we choose to use organic methods of growing food and focus so much on the health of our water. We are Earth, we are of Earth. How we live makes a difference!

From here I talked about Grow Appalachia, John Paul DeJoria, Berea College, and our commitment to help people in Appalachia grow their own food. I passed out the contractual agreement for them to better understand our commitment and what we are asking of participants. We also looked at the listing of classes for the year, scheduled through November.

Students asked questions, some kept a copy of the calendar and agreement, for themselves or someone else they thought might be interested. Then they were invited to take some seeds. Most took seeds for their Mother, Mother-in-law, Mamaw or Papaw. Few in the class with the exception of the older learners have their own gardens. Even though they all expressed an appreciation of fresh home-grown food, and talked about their favorites; it was obvious that it was the elders that did the growing and held the experience. Some early in life worked with their parents or grandparents in the garden or on the farm, and spoke of these good experiences.

In the afternoon a few core faculty members and I went out to the BSCTC community garden, established by Grow Appalachia, to weed and just spend time in the garden. In the raised beds they have carrots that over-wintered, recent plantings of lettuce and peas, and an abundance of wild onions.

Though invited and encouraged, no students joined in the fun. This is a sad state of affairs and a pattern I see replicated often in ministry. At the same time so many young people give me hope for our future. Thank you Candace, Holly and Jeff!