Oblate Voices is a JPIC blog that follows stories of hope and is about how Oblates and associates live and experience mission work in the spirit of the Oblate founder, St Eugene De Mazenod of responding to the needs of poor and most abandoned around the world.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Gail Taylor of 3-Part Harmony Farm Reflects on Summer's Successful Harvest

That was summer?
It's amazing that even though we plant almost the same thing each year, the results are always different. Some summer harvest highlights:

We began our jalapeƱo harvest last week: 20 pounds! 
Sweet potato greens are back! A few years ago we had too many, we almost couldn't close the car door after one particularly glorious harvest. I think I was scared for awhile that there would be a riot in the CSA, so we took a break. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and certainly we all have been enjoying these greens! I daresay we've all forgotten that infamous year when we ate too many?

Another surprise: the abundant bunching onions. I was afraid that we'd lost some trays in the early spring when the temps went down again, so I re-seeded more and we ended up with the best harvest ever! Of course, too much of a good thing is still too much, and I know everyone on the harvest team is glad to know that this is our last week of the spring onions until late fall.

Green tomatoes: those bobcats did not let us down. We harvested some great green tomatoes this summer for frying, making pies, making salsa.

That was summer?
This summer was incredibly fast, and not too hot and humid considering what we had prepared for at the farm. Normally it is too unbearable to work past noon in the summer, so we cut the work day in half and try to do as many early mornings as possible. While we're at it, everyone on the crew takes some time away, and the farm rests as well. Currently almost half of our beds are in a summer cover crop mix.

I would have thought, looking at the calendar, that July and August promised abundant free afternoons to catch up on work in the office and maybe even have some free time? Alas, somehow the time went faster than the blink of an eye. Or I made a list too long? Probably a combination of both.

In any event, this week marks a chance to get an early start on the fall planting and we certainly aren't going to miss a chance for that. It seems incredibly auspicious to plant in the shadow of the moon.

As the farm looks ahead to fall, there are a few highlights:

The CSA (community supported agriculture) picks up again after Labor Day, with a new fall session. Each week, members receive 6 items (a single size share) or 12 items (a family size share. The multi-farm CSA typically has vegetables, herbs and flowers from Three Part Harmony Farm along with eggs and produce from Rainbow Hill Farm, fruit from Kuhn's Orchard, and medicinal herbs from Little Red Bird Botanicals. We feature additional produce from partner farms. 

If you are local to D.C., sign up here or contact me if you have questions.

Volunteer at the farm, on Fridays or Saturdays
Beginning on September 8th, we'll open up volunteer slots again between 9 and 1 on Fridays and Saturdays. RSVP at least 48 hours in advance by email, or calling. To sign up for our work exchange program, please email me and I'll send additional info. The work exchange is three hours of work and you harvest your own vegetables, up to a family size share each time you come. Work shares can come during the Friday and Saturday volunteer hours, or schedule on additional days including our Wednesday harvest day.

Annual Fall Festival
Yes, the end of summer means it is time to organize the annual fall festival. This event is held on a saturday in late october or early november. This is a potluck affair with music, games, community, art, and of course garlic planting. The fall festival is a time to celebrate the season, and celebrate the community surrounding the farm. I hope all volunteers, CSA members, Brookland (NE Washington, DC) residents, family and friends will come out! If you have ideas or want to get involved in the planning, please let me know.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

My Missionary Experience in Northern Quebec

By Fr. Ali Nnaemeka, OMI, Echo Des Collines, Maison Yves-Plumey, 2017

Going on a Mission far from my birth place and country was something I wanted to do since listening to my elementary school teacher speak about Irish missionaries who evangelized my people. Her words awoke in my young heart a very strong longing. Without understanding where my desire was taking me, I spent my childhood dreaming of going to wherever the wind was to bring me.

But with time, the desire to remain in my country overshadowed my original dream. And after my first formation, I returned home to Nigeria for Mission.

Later when invited to go on Mission in Canada, I rediscovered my initial dream. Once it was settled that I was to go to Canada, I was tempted to research the people and community where I was being placed. I later decided to have my own experiences and not depend on that of others. I was determined not to be conditioned by other people’s assessment of the First Nation people of Canada. When I arrived in Canada, it took one year of integration to fully understand their Church and social realities.

The inculturation program helped me to learn the language, culture and life style of the Innu Nation. I was also able to understand, within one year, the workings of the Canadian church in general and Quebec church in particular. After my one year of insertion and inculturation, two communities were assigned to my care. The two communities were 700 km apart (about 435 miles), so it was necessary to allow enough time for travel and visits. These two communities each had a very long presence of experienced missionaries. As a young priest who lacked experience in this part of the world, I had to find a new way of getting into the heart of the community. Little by little, I started by not just observing how things were done but leaning on the power of the Holy Spirit. At our communities, youth attended church mainly during significant celebrations. It was then necessary for me to find another way of reaching out to them. After several trials and errors, I opted to engage them in various activities like sports, community events and gatherings.

Today, experience has shown me that to succeed in a mission, a missionary should not wait to get approached by the community, but they should instead take the church to the people.