Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal,
Through the years we have lived in communities where there are a number of Italian and Portuguese Canadians. How could we tell? They had the remarkable backyard gardens which seemed to outshine the efforts of everyone else. When we were in Toronto as students the yards were often tiny yet they were brimming with produce. There were beans as tall as Jack's beanstalk and tomatoes that seemed exotic compared to the standard beefsteak varieties.
Urban agriculture is making a comeback it seems, in everything from household plots to community gardens to larger tracts of reclaimed land amidst inner city decay.
I am intrigued by an organization called Sole Food Street Farms in Vancouver:
Sole Food’s mission is to empower individuals with limited resources by providing jobs, agricultural training and inclusion in a supportive community of farmers and food lovers. Individuals are given basic agriculture training and are employed at the farm based on their capability.
Some participants excel in this environment, but the project is set up to allow for the “ups and downs” of people with multiple barriers. For some individuals, a weekly shift at Sole Food is one of the only meaningful engagements they hold. Unlike mainstream employers, Sole Food uses employment as an outreach tactic, working to build and nurture relationships with even the most challenging individuals. http://solefoodfarms.com/
I love that so many of the Sole Food photos include people, and I would love to see our congregation get involved in an enterprise such as this. It would be a wonderful extension of our food ministries, empowering those who would like to get involved. Distributing meals is important and necessary, but actually growing food could be another aspect of reaching out.
The large vacant lot next to Bridge St. United Church could be transformed into an urban garden. I realize that I should pray more about this possibility. It could be Soul Food rather than Sole Food in the city.