In March, Student Ambassador Alex Tiessen wrote this post about the significance of the collaboration between the Metanoia Farmers and Canadian Mennonite University. We asked Anika Reynar, a member of the Metanoia Farmers Worker Cooperative, to reflect on the first month of the growing season.
During the last month, the phrase “It’s go time!” has been commonly reiterated among the members of the Metanoia Farmers Cooperative. In the growing season, May brings a frenzy of activity. If you stop by the farm these days, you’ll notice lettuce, beets, swiss chard, onions, peas, and radishes poking out of the ground. You may see someone wheeling compost and raking soil beds in preparation for new seeds. You will definitely see someone waging a never-ending battle against the quack grass!
This season, new life is not only emerging from the seeds that we are planting into the ground, but also from the new ways in which the Metanoia Farmers Worker Cooperative is growing in space, members, and relationships. This year the Metanoia Farmers are growing vegetables at both the CMU Farm and in the village of Neubergthal. In doing so, we are learning to appreciate and navigate the dynamics and opportunities of both the city and the village. In the city, we have partnered with Beeproject Apiaries for the first time to host six beehives at the farm for three urban beekeepers-in-training. We have also created space for a shitake mushroom experiment that is being spearheaded by a friend of the farm. In the village, we are getting to know our neighbours, creating a field plan, and enjoying the open space.
As a new member of the Metanoia Farmers, I am part of this growth. During the year, I am a student at CMU and am completing an interdisciplinary degree in Social Ecology. This degree allows me to explore the relationship between human communities, the land, and God. In doing so, I am learning to listen to both stories of connection and disconnection from the land. In listening to these stories, I am only beginning to understand how the land can become both a place of fractured relationships and ecological exploitation, as well as a place of reconciliation and healing.
As we foster relationships with beekeepers, sharers, school groups, neighbours, seeds, and soil, we are learning to care deeply both for the land and the people we share it with. It is within these relationships that I encounter God.
As I have shifted from being a student during the year to a member of the Metanoia Farmers during the summer, I have begun to not only listen to the stories of the land, but to participate in them. As we foster relationships with beekeepers, sharers, school groups, neighbours, seeds, and soil, we are learning to care deeply both for the land and the people we share it with. It is within these relationships that I encounter God. Whether spotting a seed that has germinated, or engaging in a good conversation while weeding the onions, I am continuously reminded that our work is more than a series of mundane tasks. I understand the work of the Metanoia Farmers to be a spiritual vocation. Ultimately, the work of our day creates a space to practice cultivating faithful relationships with the land, our neighbours, and with God. Hereby, even in the most chaotic days, the work is life-giving!
If you are interested in sharing with us as we grow vegetables and relationships, consider signing up for a share… there are still a few available!
Anika Reynar is a #myCMUlife guest blogger