"Human continuity is virtually synonymous with good farming, and good farming obviously must outlast the life of any good farmer. For it to do this, in addition to the preceding requirements, we must have community. Without community, the good work of a single farmer or a single family will not mean much or last long. For good farming to last, it must occur in a good farming community—that is, a neighborhood of people who know each other, who understand their mutual dependences, and who place a proper value on good farming."
— Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace
"Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai … used to say: if you have a sapling in your hand, and someone should say to you that the Messiah has come, stay and complete the planting, and then go to greet the Messiah (Avot de Rabbi Nathan, 31b). How can a person of flesh and blood follow God? … God, from the very beginning of creation, was occupied before all else with planting, as it is written, “And first of all, the Eternal God planted a Garden in Eden [Genesis 2:8] Therefore … occupy yourselves first and foremost with planting (Leviticus Rabbah 25:3)."
— excerpts compiled by Rabbi Daniel Swartz
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A belated happy Earth Day from the Berbecs. We were without power yesterday, so I was unable to make this post in time. The current rainy season has been a busy one for us, the second we’ve experienced since being in Tanzania. After a year of learning about the land, we’re finding our own rhythms and following suit with those around us. Every day, it seems, feels a bit like an honouring or celebrating of Earth Day as our work primarily concerns people, land, and the relationship between the two. It is in our current work, perhaps now more so than ever before, that we have more closely mirrored something of a semblance, a trace, an essence of the Divine. We are grateful for this work, these days, and all that they’ve taught us. We observed Earth Day as we do most other days here, by being in nature, harvesting matembele greens (local sweet potatoes) that cover the ground beneath our ripening old coffee trees, and sorting and planting some of the local bush beans we saved from last year.
If you missed our last post, our paperwork for registering After Trade is on its way to Dar es Salaam to become official. Now that After Trade will be legal, we can finally get resident and volunteer work permits, hopefully before our current visas expire. We are in need of a bit more funds to be able to afford these permits. If you weren’t able to lend support to any other organizations in honour of Earth Day, we’d be grateful if you’d consider supporting the work of After Trade.