Tuesday, April 20, 2010

growing harmony in iowa

Look at all the people who came to one of my Iowa concerts!

Just kidding. On Saturday my hosts and I joined the throngs of people - 23,000 strong - who turned out to watch the University of Iowa football team. Their opponents? Nobody. That’s the number of people who came out to watch the Hawkeyes PRACTICE!

People here loooove their college football...

For the past 4 days I’ve been experiencing a state where I’ve never been before (Iowa, that is, in case you were imagining something more hallucinogenic), and re-connecting with friends that I hadn’t seen in 18 years. I first met Gary and Nancy in Bolivia in the early 80s, when I was a teenager living in Cochabamba and they were MCC workers in the “campo” outside of Santa Cruz.

Nancy was one of the first REAL LIVE RECORDING ARTISTS that I ever got to meet - we had a cassette of her playing the guitar and singing Spanish “coritos” that we sang in many a church service.

And one summer my brother and I spent a week with Gary out in the country where he was doing agricultural development work. That week was most memorable (partly because Gary won’t let us forget it) for the time that my brother and I mistakenly cut down a whole field of carefully sown pasture when our assignment was actually to cut down the weeds. How were we to know the difference, “green” city kids that we were... in the days before “green” meant aware of and concerned about the natural world...?

Gary still gets a lot of mileage out of that story, and gave me a chance to redeem myself by joining him in planting 4000 onions on my first morning in Iowa.

What a delight to get to know Gary and Nancy again, and see their Community Supported Agriculture farm in operation (yes, that is a wind turbine you see in the photo). Last year Gary produced 21,000 pounds of vegetables on his not-quite-2-acre farm, and he has been running his organic CSA since 1997, providing weekly deliveries of fresh vegetables for the 84 families who are “members” of Growing Harmony farm.

Gary has also been a member of my “SmallTall Reference Council” since the beginning, interacting with me via e-mail with wise counsel and experience as I have set up my own “Community Supported Music” system.

Nancy and Gary drove me around to all 4 of my Iowa performances in different communities (Des Moines, Iowa City, West Union, and Cedar Falls). No community was the same, and no concert or worship service was the same. It was a delight for me, and there was great response (although, admittedly, not as many people as turned out to watch the Hawkeyes last “spring practice”).

Now I’m on the train again, munching on one of Gary’s famous carrots on my way to Kentucky, another state where I’ve never been before and where I’ll get to spend some time and do a concert with “Communality,” an intentional community in Lexington. Looking forward to it!

(In case you can't read it, the front of the t-shirt says: "The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution." - Paul Cezanne

And the back says "That day has COME!" - Growing Harmony Farm)


At 12:21 PM, Blogger Luke and Rachael said...

You will have to share the onion planting technique with us, hopefully this weekend! Looks like you had a great trip--I'm jealous


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