I just finished sending out thank you letters to all the companies that donated food or money for food for our volunteer appreciation party and anniversary celebration. The party was really sweet and wonderful and though I was planning to drink, I got drunk instead on all the wonderful energy in the room. I haven’t shaken all the thanks out of my pockets yet. Zubin and Muiz from the Sufi house in San Francisco started us off with two dances of universal peace. It was such a great way for me to transition into the party from cooking and organizing to doing a dance of gratitude to the Mother Goddess. The dances were selected by Zubin and Muiz to have a theme of gratitude to the earth and nature. There is full coverage of the party including photos at http://thefreefarmstand.org/.
Last week I read an inspirational article in a Sufi magazine put out by the Sufi Ruhaniat International which was founded by the spiritual teacher ( or “spiritual leader of the hippies”) and gardener, Sufi Sam, who lived on Precita St. here in San Francisco. Somehow this article resonated with my own thinking and experience and I feel like it is worth sharing an excerpt from it (the article is online here http://www.ruhaniat.org/pdf/heartbeat.pdf). “My Grandfather’s BlessingsStories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging by Rachel Naomi Remen, MD
Restoring the World”
“In the sixteenth century the great Kabbalistic Rabbi Isaac Luria offered a profoundly beautiful cosmology of the world, a sort of mystical version of the Big Bang theory. In the beginning there is the Ein Sof, pure Being without manifestation, the infinite, absolute Source of the world. The world as we know it begins with the Or Ein Sof, an emanation of light from the Source. Rabbi Luria explains the fragmented nature of this world by postulating an accident of cosmic proportions: the vessel holding the Or Ein Sof shattered and broke open, and the light of God was scattered throughout the universe into an infinite number of holy sparks. These countless sparks of holiness are hidden deep in everyone and everything.
Like many other mystical cosmologies, this creation myth is based on an idea of service. The purpose of human life is to uncover these sparks of light and restore the world to its original wholeness. Everyone and everything we encounter is a shell or container for a hidden spark of holiness. It is up to us to help free the hidden holiness in everything and everyone.
We restore the holiness of the world through our loving kindness and compassion. Everyone participates. It is a collective task. Every act of loving kindness, no matter how great or small, repairs the world. All those ever born have shared this collective work since the beginning of time.
The name Kabbalah uses for this collective work is Tikkun Olam, we repair and restore the world. Everything in life presents us with this opportunity. It invests all our struggles with a deeper meaning and deepens all our joy.”
So this is what the Free Farm and Free Farm Stand are all about in a nutshell. We are growing soil, growing plants, growing community, sharing the abundance and diverting the waste stream, and educating people about where food comes from and how to make healthy eating choices in our lives. But it is really just trying to be kind and generous and compassionate. Planet Repair Service if you will.
Last week I attended a gathering of a number of great local non-profit groups who got grants from the wonderful foundation called the Seed Fund. It was another beautiful event I attended and I enjoyed running into a number of people I know who are doing such valuable work in the city. At some point we were asked to tell everyone our name and in two words what our vision of the future would be. Most everyone in the room was saying similar things, more green spaces, more bike friendliness and less cars (one was brave enough to say a car free city), more quietness, more school gardens, basically the vision of making the city more livable. I was actually thinking that maybe the first order of business would be to work on making things more equitable and livable for everyone. That we have too many people going without…going without shelter, food, health care, services, love. We can start out with compassion and generosity were the words I chose, though I don’t think anyone knew what I was referring to.
I enjoyed the Free Farm Stand this week. The warm sunny day brought out the crowds and the lawn was full with people hanging out waiting for their number to be called. I especially liked that a couple of neighbors came by with some surplus produce to share. One story was that a neighbor got a lot of grapefruit from their neighbor and it was too much so she brought some to share at the stand.
Another neighbor brought some lemons. I was thinking about lemons because for the party we needed some Meyer lemons for the kale salad and the homemade lemonade with honey from the Free Farm. They were almost $3 a pound at Rainbow (we actually did buy some, but then I got a donation of lemons from Veritable Vegetable…there were a few rotted ones in the box and they were pulled from inventory to give away). Then at the stand a neighbor told us he had two trees loaded with lemons and asked us if we wanted to harvest them (yes I hope to get them picked for the stand this week). There was also extra produce because while gathering food for the party I tapped into the generosity and abundance of wholesale produce distributors like Earl’s Organic and Veritable Vegetable. In summary it was another glorious day in the park.