Hello everyone! I’ve been pretty quiet on permies these last couple of months, largely because of how busy I’ve been. I’ve spent the fall organizing my denomination (United Methodist Pacific Northwest) to plant food forests. I might also be organizing an interfaith food forest near Portland.
This denomination is going through a schism right now, where this region will likely break off to form a new denomination that is more accepting. Other regions of the US and world might be included in this new denomination. I felt that this was a perfect time to introduce this other change, since a lot of soul searching and re-branding is going on anyway.
So far I’ve had a lot of success working with our churches to integrate more sustainable practices and teachings into their own lessons and practices. We broke ground on a small food forest in Shelton, Washington that included about 16 dwarf and semi dwarf trees. Each has an accompanying guild and there are shrubs as well. Classes are now being taught, sometimes by me, on soil building, native bee habitat, log and woven skep hives for honeybees, and more.
I’m working within my denomination to establish target quotas across the region for gardens, food trees, native bee hotels, and trees that stabilize our pollination calendar (climate change has really dried out our late season pollinator forage some years). A friend and I are approaching church leadership about buying clearcut land and reforesting them into food. If all goes well I’ll eventually approach other denominations about it such as United Church of Christ. A lot of churches around me were VERY hostile to these ideas. But I’m glad that some are not. The Reform Jewish communities in Portland also seem interested, among others. Through the bee club I’m a part of (Preservation Beekeeping) I’ve formed a Food Forest Committee and am working through it on the interfaith projects.
I want this post to serve as a positive example for positive, peaceful change. Sometimes we get so invested in our own farm and lives that we don’t even dream about making waves in the community. Hopefully this will give some inspiration, and maybe you in turn will have new ideas for me. Please don’t turn this thread into a religious battleground.
Anyway, attached are some pictures of the Shelton Food Forest as it was planted. I don’t have updated photos, but it looks even better now! The woodchips have all been laid out since then, and the shrubs added.
When you reach your lowest point, you are open to the greatest change.
Wow, I am really impressed, and to be honest with you, I admit I am a hard person to impress!
Good for you.
I have had some success and defeats in this myself. We live in the Permie Capital of the World, and I wanted to try and bring in a segment of our population with some Permie type things at Rock the Flock, but unfortunately I lacked the money to pull it off at the time, and our church did not think it was a proper use of their money.
But our church is actively involved in a food pantry, as well as helping out some local homeless shelters, and did a flocks for the hungry program, where the poor were given chickens so they could always have fresh eggs to eat.
So as I said, some success, and some failures, so it is good to hear that you are making progress.
It's truly a shame that some others can't see the big picture of, dare I say it, 'selling the religion'.
I realise that's a simplistic view, but grassroots real life tangible things that benefit people are definitely lacking in religion these days. Such endeavours help a vast variety of people: disabled, aged, PTSS sufferers, unemployed and other afflicted peoples.
It is very similar to Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh religions that provide free meals at their temples, where countless unfortunates would otherwise go hungry.
In a world seemingly controlled by bean-counters and opportunist, it puts hope in people hearts.
Keep up the good fight!
'Every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain.'
In the Jewish idiom, you're a real Mensch, James. It's a mitzvah you're doing.
I think a new, vital denomination that focuses on the type of stewardship we've discussed is brilliant. For people searching for some way to believe and make positive change, you're offering positivity and light where others tout damnation and fear.
I am very curious, though, as to the nature of the hostility you received. Would you be comfortable talking about the pushback? I don't understand how people of faith could be against providing food to those who need it, and promoting proper respect and care of the land.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
If there are Unitarian Universalists in your area they might be another group to engage with.
The permie formerly known as "Mike Jay"
"Hundreds of years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in or the type of car I drove... But the world may be different because I did something so bafflingly crazy that it becomes a tourist destination"