Never stop planting seeds. You can take this as a motto, a philosophy, a practice, even a spirituality. To stop planting seeds is to give in to despair. According to Søren Kierkegaard, despair is a condition of the soul and despair is sin.

Never stop planting seeds. This is my mantra when rain slowly rots a tomato crop in the field and pumpkins get sick in their pots because the ground is too wet to transplant. The first thing I do, before I let myself indulge in sorrow, is go to the greenhouse and plant new seeds. Then I let myself get sad, then I water and plant more seeds. Seed. Sad. Water. Plant. When the new sprouts come up, hope returns, with reinforcements.

Procter Center Farm grows vegetables from seed in our soil, on our land. As a small farm we strive to model sustainability, among other things, by how we steward the land – using sustainable rotations, cover crops, tillage methods, organic fertilizers and (very limited) organic pesticides. We market our vegetables directly to our Community Supported Agriculture network and at North Market in Columbus, stimulating local economy.

But Procter Center itself, in its mission to model sustainability, is a seed in the community of London, Madison County, Southern Ohio and the Church.

Procter Center is modeling sustainability with its Wetland initiative. A couple goals of that initiative are to create habitats for native species and pollinator habitats. And as a Center, we model sustainability by encouraging our neighbors to do what they can to model sustainability in their own practices, philosophies, spiritualties, and so on.

Procter and her guests are mutually blessed by every encounter. Guests leave this hub and touch their own communities, as good pollinators do. And so by existing like Procter does as an exchange for thoughts, prayers, foods, games, camps, (ad infinitum) we are modeling sustainability very literally like bees and flowers. Procter Center succeeds at its part only as far as we serve our mission and bear good fruit for our guests. For its part, the Farm has its sights set high for the quality and quantity of the fruit it provides for our guests. Fill your plates, people. And, of course, we have CSA shares available for those who want to take that plate to their home communities.

Also, I’ve heard whispers of homegrown, pasture-raised, non-GMO, no nitrates-added, BACON (and other pork products) on your plate at Procter Center this fall. Reservations are being taken for whole/half hogs.

The Farm is looking forward to working more closely with our youth and camping ministries this year, by having the summer campers visit the farm for spiritual formation, harvesting food they will eat, and, yes, planting seeds. And this is the message I want to communicate to the kids who come to summer camp this year.

Never stop planting seeds. Keep doing good. Seedlings are coming up and pigs are on the way. We’ll see you in the harvest.

“Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9 

Conor GillilandConor Gilliland serves as Garden Coordinator at the Procter Center. Contact him at procterfarm@diosohio.org.

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