Every year about this time, our growing restlessness, somewhat annoyed cabin fever and desperate need to fly to some exotic and warm destination reveals something about us. No matter what our winter has been, while her seemingly incessant fist perpetually pounds down upon us, something inside us begins to stir. Our days grow longer, we hear the intermittent chirp of the birds, and the soil that has laid fallow for the better part of a season begins to awaken with the hope of a new year. All the while our desire to walk barefoot on the soil, lay in the summer sun, and taste the ripeness of June strawberries begins to take hold.
At Urban Roots this winter we have been a flurry of activity, sowing literal and metaphorical roots in anticipation for this next season. Every day we are privileged to hear another story, make another connection, and sow more seeds into the work in in the Madison neighborhood of Grand Rapids and throughout our city. Seeds are planted. Greenhouses are being built. Workshops are put on the calendar. And the web of our connections to people and organizations further establish the strength and resiliency of this work that extends far beyond food, but to the people and stories that make up this place.
In 2016, we are privileged to take up space in Grand Rapids. With the growing connections that develop every day, we will begin working with Bethany Christian Services and piloting our YouthCorps education program. Working alongside a number of youth from our neighborhood, we will transform the fallow land to the south of us into a thriving agroecosystem, helping make a place out of what has been a quiet and underutilized piece of property for a number of years.
We are again offering farm shares through our CSA program to individuals in our neighborhood and our Grand Rapids community. Not solely just about purchasing vegetables, but rather about joining us in the belief that there is something more beautiful to be done in the world, individuals can participate in a redemptive narrative by purchasing a share and receiving a box of vegetables weekly throughout the summer.
We will launch our Mobile Classroom program. Partnering with individuals from area schools, churches, and food pantries, we will join with the ever-growing interest, desire, and longing for thriving gardens throughout this city. Even now, our plans grow exponentially as we anticipate the times of growing, cultivating, irrigating, and harvesting this food for the body and the soul together throughout our entire city.
Finally we will learn together. By offering a number of classes, workshops, and events, we will continue our journey of learning together about the stuff of life. Our education isn’t done, and we believe the best knowledge to be gained will come from continuing to listen to the teachers that we have all around us.
In all this, our anticipation grows not only for the warmth and growth that we will soon bear witness to, but also to the rich tastes, smells, and sounds of the harvest that remind us again why, “Food is the first wealth. Grow it right, and you feel insanely rich, no matter what you own.” Our appetite for both life and food will soon be satisfied by the cornucopia that is Michigan summers.
This year, consider joining us at Urban Roots. Join us not only buy buying a share, attending a workshop, or donating to help us continue our mobile classroom program, but join us by diving in to the awakening of your own heart this season. Whether planning to plant your first tomato, building the hives to house your buzzing spring beehives, or getting some much needed humus under your fingernails, be reminded this year of the richness and flurry that is life.
We are awaiting it with you.