Healing Mind Body and Soil
July 31, 2015
"What did the carrot say to the wheat? Lettuce rest, I'm feeling beet."- Shel Silverstein
Thanks to generous support from the Celebrating Mothers Luncheon Fund A Need and NanoFarms’ urban farming experts, Epiphany’s new Community Garden is beginning to blossom. Carefully tended to by the women throughout the week, summer crops of crisp cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, strawberries, squash and more will soon be plucked and prepared for nourishing meals in the communal kitchen.
“Don’t be afraid to get a lot of water down into the soil. There are vegetable roots way down there, beets and onions,” said Ernesto Jasso, NanoFarms’ cooperative member and Epiphany’s lead instructor. Speaking in both Spanish and English to the attentive women, Ernesto, his wife Marcela and their small team enthusiastically share their passion and respect for Mother Nature and her bounty of healing herbs, fruits, and vegetables.
“You need to water every two days,” he instructs the thirteen women scattered about the multi-level rows of the budding vegetable garden. “The roots go down six inches, so take your time watering.”
The vision for Epiphany’s Community Garden became a reality three weeks ago when the agency partnered with East Palo Alto’s NanoFarms and transformed a wild and weedy hillside into an edible Eden and the organization’s first San Francisco garden. A Catholic faith-based workers’ cooperative, NanoFarms installs small, sustainable produce gardens with the option of ongoing maintenance on a weekly or monthly basis. The intent is to create paid employment for low-income people suffering from the skyrocketing cost of living in the Bay Area. “I had other jobs and I earned good money, but I think none is so beautiful as this job,” said Ernesto.
The new Epiphany community garden is part of an effort to promote healthy choices, self-reliance, and collaboration among the agency’s at-risk women, many of whom are mothers charged with feeding young children. “We’re hoping to help our families know more about what healthy foods are available locally and what they could potentially grow at home in containers,” says Epiphany’s Director of Adult Services, Suzi Desmond.
The women work well together, weeding, watering, planting, and fertilizing the crops. Seeds planted a few weeks ago are beginning to sprout buds. Soon the garden will be blooming with fresh strawberries, squash, beans, beets, peas, peppers, and more. Upon his arrival at Epiphany, Ernesto showed the women what their efforts will yield, presenting them with a basket of crisp cucumbers and ripe tomatoes just picked from their sunny South Bay farm.
“No le gusta,” says Ernesto, pointing to the celery, indicating that the women should not water the leaves.
“This is fun!” says one of the women new to horticulture and already a budding urban farmer. “I love gardening.”
As the weekly class comes to a close, Ernesto points to row upon row of plants and says in Spanish, “They’re not drooping because you ladies are doing a great job.”
Will you join us? Help us continue to grow strong healthy families by donating online today.