Labours of Love and Seeds of Hope

February 7

Planting a garden or a crop is an act of trust and hope. Many gardeners and farmers have been exercising trust and hope, and have been planning their crops since last fall’s harvest. Winter months is a time for poring over seed catalogues. This winter I will be checking out a new on-line seed source, developed by Theo, the son of my good friend Ruth. 

Ruth’s family are really serious about stewardship of the earth; lifestyle and vocation merge as they seek to “be the change” they want to see in the world.

In an understatement in a recent letter I received from Ruth she writes, “transitions are not easy.” Ruth and Miles, both university graduates, have always lived simply and resourcefully, close to their Mennonite roots. Now their university educated sons have returned to the farm and have taken their family’s stewardship vocation to a whole new level, minimizing use of non-renewable fossil fuels, using old and new knowledge and technology, honouring the history of the land, the people who tended it, and the seeds that now are cultivated to feed the family. 

Last year Theo and his brother Andre, Ruth and Miles grew approximately 150 varieties of staple foods including small grains, root vegetables, other vegetables, berries, and herbs. As well as carefully storing foods to feed their family for the year, in carefully spaced plots they grew, saved, and tested seeds for approximately 70 of the 150 varieties — seeds which they are now marketing.

On the website (designed by Andre,) Theo wrote: “I often pick up a handful of seeds and spend time marveling over the thousands of gardeners before me who worked with a plant and at the end of the season said, ‘This is good, and I will grow it again next year.’ All the seeds of all our domesticated plants come down to us because every year, for thousands of years, someone thought that they were worth planting and tending again. I hope to do my part to continue their work for future generations to enjoy.”

Sometimes we think that we cannot make a difference, so why bother to try? Ruth’s family inspires me to believe in the possible. They are making a difference. Their lives challenge me and spur me on to make life-style choices that make me a better steward of the earth. The passion for their vocation inspires me to embrace my own vocation and to believe that what I do makes a difference.  Most important of all, they are living with hope, and their seeds of hope are cross-pollinating with my seeds of hope! 

Gratitude Prompt: Give thanks for ways that I am making life-giving choices.