Earth Month Series
Sometime in the 8th millennium BCE, humans realized that they could plant seeds and grow grains for food rather than searching for them and gathering them in the wild. This discovery, that the fertility of Earth’s crust could be utilized in relation with rain and sunshine to produce food, gave rise to agriculture. Since then, farmers have worked the land, planted seeds, and grown edible plants. Farming requires maintaining a relationship with nature; it is nature cultivated by human toil. Farmers know that Earth, if left to itself, is both fertile and frugal. Everything is in balance and there is no waste. They have learned to respect Earth’s cycles of birth, growth, death, decay, and rebirth. Earth is our mother, nourishing and protecting us in every moment, giving us air to breathe, fresh water to drink, food to eat and healing herbs to cure us when we are sick. In this time when so many of us are disconnected from Earth’s cycles and rhythms, individual small farms are the preservers of the initial connection between tilling the earth and human life.
All praise to you, O God, through Sister Earth, our mother
Who feeds us in her sovereignty and produces various
Fruits, colored flowers and herbs.
Francis of Assisi
When you eat vegetables or bread think of where they came from and with whom they originated. When possible, visit a farm and a farmstand. Do what you can to support local farmers. Reflect on the fruitfulness of Earth and how it is abused by megafarms and pesticides.
You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth.
For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God.
Nature helps when you work with her with knowledge of her ways, their value, and their ultimate dominance; she does not help, but works against you when you work against her.
No race can prosper until it learns there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.
Booker T. Washington
When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization.
The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.
We have neglected the truth that a good farmer is a craftsman of the highest order, a kind of artist.
Farming is a profession of hope.
I would rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world.
The story of family farming underscores a legacy of sustainability.
It feels good at the end of the day to know you made a product that other people are going to enjoy.
The farm is part of me.
Agriculture is the greatest and fundamentally the most important of our industries. The cities are but the branches of the tree of national life, the roots of which go deeply into the land. We all flourish or decline with the farmer.
I do think that there is a big difference between family farms and agri-business, and one of the distressing things that I think has occurred is with consolidation of farm lands. You’ve seen large agri-businesses benefit from enormous profits from existing farm programs, and I think we should be focusing most of those programs on those family farmers.
Based in our charism and our awareness of the responsibility we all have for the health of Earth and in particular for the Long Island Bioregion, the Sisters of St. Joseph worked with the Peconic Land Trust to preserve parcels of the Brentwood campus and return it to agricultural production. Twenty-eight acres of land are leased to several farmers enabling the fields that once were a working farm to be restored to food and seed production. The farmers are only permitted to use organic practices and vegetables grown here are organic and are available at a farm stand for purchase by the local community.