Soil Brings Season’s Blessings

Dec. 23, 2011
Our soil gives us organic blessings with each meal

Science cannot replace art or religion for the same reason that you cannot loosen a nut with a saw or cut a board in two with a wrench.
– Wendell Berry

Growing plants is more art than science, and if you ask the people who actually grow food for a living, or at least a portion of it, most would probably admit that faith and prayer trump both.
Yet, somehow, nationally and even internationally, we’ve allowed science, or at least the science that’s bought and paid for by the deep pockets of agribiz, to dictate not only our farm policy, but the food that’s produced.
Who does not wonder at the turn of the new leaf? The new bud? The fresh fruit on the vine? Each is miraculous.
In my view, producing food for others that’s fresh from the ground, without poisons, but fully laced with thanks and gratitude, is one of the highest callings of humankind.
Too bad we’ve relegated agriculture to an adjunct of government subsidy and the role of farmer as an invisible maker of ingredients for “food products.”
Thankfully, we can grow our own foods, organically, and share them with family, neighbors and friends.
It is, and should be, a “calling,” recognized with wonder and gratitude.
Our soil gives us organic “thanks” with each meal, as the fruit of our labor is turned to nourishment for our bodies, and shared in the most intimate ways with our loved ones.
What is more intimate than taking food into our bodies? Or turning the sweat of our labor into sustenance? Or so taken for granted?
These are ideas worth pondering at this time of giving, when we humbly give to others, in love and joy. The beauty of healthy food, nutritious food, grown by our own hands, or lovingly provided by another, is beyond the bounds of science, as Berry says.
The rational mind can be deluded by any plausible argument. But it takes faith and wonder, neither objectively measurable, to come up with heart-felt well-being. Such a recipe is the basis of a good life, whether “rich” or “poor,” as materially measured.
So, we give thanks at Christmas, and each day, for the abundance and life our Creator gives. And we enjoy the bounteous blessings of the food we grow and share.
It is art and religion in one: organic in every sense, as encompassing seed to succulence, the grower and grown, shared by all within the sphere of both.
Many blessings in this time of cheer!
Merry Christmas, to all.

Jim PathFinder Ewing is a journalist, author, writer, editor, organic farmer and blogger. His latest book titled Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating (Findhorn Press) is in bookstores now. Find Jim on Facebook: or follow him @edibleprayers or @organicwriter or visit

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