|photo taken by Cheryl Hajjar|
|Olsewski work to create the garden labyrinth in Dobbs Ferry.
Photo credit: Kathy Dean
What some of us forget when decrying the state of the world is that concrete steps toward a better world are made by committed people working in small, incremental local steps, consistently, over a period of time. They try different things, some work better than others, and they find people willing to work alongside them. Eight people on the church’s front lawn turning over the soil and planting young plants are one manifestation of thousands of examples all over the world.
“Solving the climate crisis” is a pretty tall order, and there tends to be a lot of overlap with work being done for other goals. Digging up your lawn to plant a garden, a movement that’s been gaining momentum over the last decade, does go some distance toward solving the climate crisis. No fossil fuels used to transport the food you grow, no petroleum based fertilizers and pesticides (assuming it’s an organic garden), encourages the eating of plants over animals (since meat production has a much larger carbon footprint). Lawn care is an enormous energy, time and attention expense, clearly a first world problem, and diverting those resources toward more planet-friendly endeavors can only help. Plus, there’s food justice, and 10% of the food grown will be delivered to their own food pantry, and it’s a visible demonstration of permaculture.
And it really is a labyrinth, a beautiful spiral laid out within the plantings. “People do come and walk the labyrinth,” says Kathy Dean, a quick-witted volunteer with an easy laugh, “and the kids seem to love it.” Susan DeGeorge, Associate Pastor for Study and Action, is the person to talk to about the spiritual meaning in labyrinths and the walking of them. She’s inside talking to brides preparing themselves for their upcoming weddings.
And today’s gardening is only a small part of what’s going on at South Church. There’s 17 families getting ready to put in a garden in the back, an effort in collaboration with Cabrini Immigrant Services to grow food and learn each other’s cooking traditions (“there’s families from Guatemala and Korea and from all over the world.”) There’s “Hungry for Change,” the monthly discussion group on food justice, and the film series (Economics of Happiness, Truck Farm, How to Boil a Frog, and The Last Mountain.) They’re participating in a sustainable living initiative that’s chronicled in their blog, “Roots and Wings.”