This past Sunday we hosted our inaugural event, the ATFP house blessing and BBQ. We journeyed as a group out to the field to end the blessing time with a blessing on the land that we interns are farming. After the blessing, our visitors got a little tour of the 10 acres and the crops we planted, with particular emphasis and open invitation to help harvest the pink radishes that are already proliferating in excess (these crops just don’t know how to wait). Since I happened to have grabbed our trusty dispenser of used plastic bags on the way to the field, I stood at the end of the row offering bags to people as they returned from harvesting, hands bursting with bright pink radishes. I felt like a bagger at a grocery store, but in a completely new sense, almost as if that metaphor had been turned on its head. On this non-shopping occasion, our visitors were consuming in an altogether different way, a more participatory and connected way. The people coming down the “aisle” to get their radishes bagged were literally picking their own produce, not from a shelf, but from the dirt.
And that’s what this short poem that I just finished is all about. Come pick pink radishes (and maybe some weeds too) with us sometime.
The crowd walks out to our field
to see how exactly food grows,
there are yellow, purple, and green beans,
the gold corn left from the crows,
and, like bright eggs in a carton,
pink radishes packed in tight rows.
After a blessing, the harvest,
“Pick all you can hold,” we invite,
without cart or basket they scatter,
and bend over the Pinks in delight.
A woman leads her young daughter
between two furrows of dirt,
clutching produce to feed her
a vegetable chocolate dessert•.
I stand as our guests come back loaded,
holding bags like some check-out clerk.
But these aren’t some super-store shoppers,
No, these hands have touched earth!
•A reference to Julie Morris’ kickin’ chocolate-dipped radish appetizers.