a CSA meditation

Every Tuesday we start our farm meetings with a “zero moment” – a pause to reflect on why we do the work that we do here. Often these moments are inspired by words of feedback and encouragement shared by visitors, friends of the Project, and our CSA members.

In honor of Tuesday farm meetings, here’s this week’s zero moment, written by one of our subscribers:

Meditations on My CSA Box by Meenal Kelkar

Kris is out of town today, so I had the exclusive pleasure of picking up our CSA box, as well as washing the contents. I find myself reflecting on how much I have changed in the past 6 months since we first subscribed for this box. When we first joined, there were often pick-up complications with the friends who were splitting the box with us, and we would both feel overwhelmed and even drained at the thought of the washing and drying that proceeded the storage effort. But as we know … given time … things can change! Here are my musings from today …

I was the first to arrive at the YMCA today, so I had my pick of boxes. I felt happy to see that there are more subscribers at this spot than last season – word is spreading about this bounty! And then I felt eagerness at seeing the purple beans on top of one box, the drops of water on the heads of lettuce in another … the four boxes in a row looked like a cornucopia! How lucky I am to have such a mouth-watering, freshly picked decision to make!

As I fill my two sinks with water, clear the counters on either side of the sink so that there is a flow between the create, washing, rinsing, drying and my refrigerator bin, I reflect on this chance to take a much needed mid-day break from the computer. A break that I generally intend for myself and usually forget, so I intentionally timed my pick-up mid-day to ensure I took a break. My one day each week where I do honor my promise to myself.

And as I wash, I get to soak my hands in the lukewarm water, swishing the greens back and forth, first in the soapy water and then in the rinse water. Occasionally, my focus changes to dry leaves in the spinner or pat them dry with the towel. As I reveal layer, upon layer of produce, I find myself anticipating what awaits me underneath. Often a surprise lays hidden: a few weeks ago, it was a handful of artichokes … later, a bag of lima beans … more recently, purple beans! Last week, there were two perfectly shaped globes of zucchini nestled amongst the carrots and turnips. I’ll confess to my dirty little secret … sometimes there are so many greens that my refrigerator is bursting at the seams, so often the carrot and turnip tops go directly into my compost bin. I feel a twinge of guilt at that confession, knowing that my grandmother would have ensured that every little piece would have been savored … cooked, canned, dried, pickled … so many ways to preserve this bounty.

And as I watch the dirt and water spiral down the drain, I feel an enormous sense of privilege at what could be perceived by many as a chore. You see … this past Sunday, another layer was added to my appreciation when I got to be a part of the community celebration for Casey, Cristy Rose, Katerina, Sarah, and Erynn, the 5 interns who grew, harvested, and distributed the vegetables for the CSA. Each one of these women are pioneers in the Abundant Table Farm Project, sharing a passion for radical progressive change, the need for spiritual connection beyond existing religious affiliations, the desire for food equality, and the sheer joy at providing nurturing, wholesome produce to their ever growing circle of subscribers. On one hand, it is so lovely knowing that the fields are blessed by interfaith clergy each year. But the level of both intention and attention that these 5 women devote to each box of produce is stunning. … And humbling. Everything that it has taken to get this box to me comprises a devotional practice for them … as it has now become for me.

Do I really have to get back on the computer?!

One Comment:

  1. I’ve just been reading about your wonderful farm! I’m the chair of a new community garden in Santa Barbara, Trinity Gardens, based at Trinity Lutheran Church at 909 North La Cumbre Road. We have a couple acres, with about one level acre developed– fenced, plus a Three Sisters Pumpkin Patch in an adjoining field. In the fenced area we have communal growing grounds (rows), surrounded by rented plots of about 200 sq. ft. each. Our groundbreaking (attended by the so. CA synod bishop) was last Nov., and the grand opening was in March–glorious events!

    We’ve come a long way, and harvest two times a week, taking food to needy programs in the Santa Barbara community. We offer garden education (horticulture/permaculture) and healthy cooking classes (focusing on fresh, seasonal produce). We’ve been blessed with donations of plenty of tools, a tool shed, and some volunteers, in addition to the required 20 hrs. a year of plot renter donated support. Check out our website for a few more details.

    Looking at YOUR information I’m “blown away” at your farm’s productivity and programs. How wonderful to have all that land and involvement. Perhaps some from our garden might take a field trip to visit your site, if you’d like to offer this opportunity and could suggest an arrangement. Likewise, you’re welcome to visit us. We have events (mostly listed on our website), and perhaps one might interest some of your farm hands. For example, next Sat., the 25th, we have a 10-12:00 permaculture session (companion planting, IPM, insects) and 12:00 to 1:00 we have a cooking class featuring seasonal vegetables (some from our garden).

    I’m sure we could learn a lot from your farm operation and management! Hoping to connect!

    Judy Sims, committee chair
    Trinity Gardens http://www.trinitygardenssb.org

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