Crazy Year Down on the Farm

This has been a wild year at the Crazy Chile Farm. The extraordinary heat and lack of rain toasted our summer crops and played havoc with our irrigation system. But because of the equally extraordinary volunteer work of our farmers, and their commitment of Time, Talent, and Treasure, we are in surprisingly good shape going into winter.

Early season harvests of squash, blue corn, tepary beans, and a two-year accumulation of seeds, were used for both food offerings for those in need, and seed stock for indigenous tribes. The latter has become important.  Native Americans throughout the Country are trying to restore their history of agriculture with traditional seeds, which are in short supply. Over the course of the spring and summer, our farmers delivered a significant volume of rare seeds to numerous tribal groups in the southwest, both urban and to the Tribal Nations: Havasupai, Hualapai, White Mountain Apache, San Carlos Apache, Yaqui, Tohono O’odham (Papago), Akimel O’odham (Pima), Navajo…and to the urban gardens of Pasqua Yaqui in Tucson, and Guadalupe.

Our farmers’ activities have now captured the interest of two of this area’s largest providers of the food needs of Native Americans, currently sequestered by COVID-19, Native Health Services and United Food Bank. Native Health has ordered 400 to 600 1.5 lb. bags of Ute Mountain Ute Blue cornmeal. UFB has ordered 900 bags. Net revenue from this sale will fund our entire 2021 operations, enabling us to continue “giving to the world from what we have received.”

The indigenous seed program is about feeding people—a frequently mentioned New Testament theme—one which I believe is at the heart of our stewardship, as well as our Baptismal Covenant. From the wedding at Canna through the 21st Chapter of John, Jesus is constantly feeding people. Even our most sacred liturgy, the Eucharist, is set within the context of a meal. If you decide to play a role in this ministry, I can promise you, you will be both challenged and deeply touched. You will experience the awe and wonder that Andrew experienced at the feeding of the 5000. And you will be responding YES to Our Lord’s final mandate, in the final chapter, of the final Gospel: “Feed My Sheep”.  Amen!   

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