by Maylanne Maybee, PWRDF Diocesan Representative for Rupert’s Land
Please join us here all week as we have guest bloggers share their experience of the “Sharing Bread” Food Security course at the Sorrento Centre in British Columbia.
Day one of “Sharing Bread” at Sorrento began with worship and a reading about the Maya tradition of burying a child’s umbilical cord at birth as part of a rite asking for protection of the newborn from danger and error. “We”¦ plant this new child, this new compaÃ±ero, in this place.” A statement that we are creatures of the earth, at one with the food we eat, fed and nourished by water, air, sun, and soil.
As an introduction to one another, each of the 24 participants shared a story of our relationship with food. Many had grown up in farms or agricultural settings, though some, like me, were city dwellers seeking to build a new perspective. Ernesto Gonzales described how Cuba’s food source disappeared overnight when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1989, leaving them unprepared to grow their own food.
Bishop Griselda Delgado of Cuba told a story she had heard as a child. When a boy asked his father where bread came from, he was told it came from the earth. So he went digging and found none. It was then he learned that it came from wheat which human hands kneaded into bread. It was a story that moved her and made her aware of the opportunity for Cubans to learn to relate to the earth in a new way after the disappearance of their food supply.
Our morning activity was to join with children of all ages in digging our hands into dirt, tamping it into small pots, poking holes and planting bean seeds. With a prayer and a song for their growth, the adults returned to our “classroom”. There, thanks to the wonders of technology, the Primate and Zaida Bastos addressed us about the work of PWRDF.
We viewed a “Fred Says” video and learned how an $80 basket of food could make the difference between life and death for Sifa Naru of Mozambique. Without nourishing food, her AIDS medication would not have worked and she may not have lived.
We then watched a video of Zaida Bastos, who helped us to dig deeper into the long-term development initiatives of PWRDF in parts of Africa that change the lives not only of individuals but also of entire communities.
And finally, to bring it all home, “Farmer Devon”, a university student from Victoria who works at Sorrento in the summer, described the nearby farm that started a few years ago and that supplies the wondrous meals we eat ““ strawberries, lettuce, broccoli, carrots, kale. In a few short years the farm, a donation to Sorrento Centre, has grown from a tentative experiment into a thriving enterprise, which not only supplies the Sorrento kitchen but also participates in a Community Supported Agriculture initiative with the local Anglican-United Church and provides opportunity for hands-on learning for people like us!
Today we had a taste of bread that feeds body and soul, that nurtures community and makes us think. “Give us this day our daily bread” will never sound the same again.
Sharing Bread, Day 1, Closing Prayer,
From Psalm 145
The eyes of all look to you,
And you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand,
Satisfying the desire of every living thing. Psalm 145: 15-16
We thank you for the abundance of your creation, the fertile fields, the rich forests and the pure water of your lakes.
We give you thanks for the opportunity to come together in this beautiful place at Sorrento with other people of faith to consider how we can address access to food for all.
We thank you for the presence of our Cuban friends and for so many who have travelled from places all across Canada.
Thank you for the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences and for new perspectives. We thank you for the richness of the stories and symbols people shared about food in their lives. They touched our hearts and remind us of how food feeds us not only physically, but spiritually, how our views of food inform our relationship to the land, to each other, to ourselves, to justice and to you.
Thank you for the presence of the children and the gift of their joy and excitement. They renew and strengthen us. May the seeds of dreams and new ideas be planted here within us this week. Help us to be like the rain, soil and the sun to each other so that these seeds of new ways of understanding germinate and grow tall and strong.
Give us faith to wait for their flowering and bearing of fruit so that your vision of enough for all is truly realized.
We ask your continued blessings on the Sorrento farm, grown from a small plot to a food resource and model for food security at the Centre and in the larger community, on the seeds we planted today in the soil and will plant in hearts and minds of each other all this week.