Here Come the Holidays, the Holy Days, the Holy Smokes! Days / by Christine Smith

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We’re buzzing like bees over here at Seedleaf. Holiday time fast approaches. The Good Giving Challenge is one week away. We’re readying the spot where we’ll pour the concrete that will serve as the foundation for our first-ever education pavilion up at our urban farm space on North Limestone. We’re searching for a Director of Development. The days in which we do our work grow shorter. We’re readying our tables and ourselves to receive.

That all these efforts are coalescing during this season feels appropriate. After all, what makes the holiday season “holy” is more than just the setting aside of time that even the busiest among us tend to do. The season is also “holy” because these days gather us to one another. From near and far, we meet up to reinforce familial and social bonds, to deepen affection, to break down (or overlook) barriers and to call forth and offer love.

And how do we go about reinforcing bonds, calling forth love and deepening affection? Over food, of course. Most holidays center around food — gathering it, preparing it, eating it and, hopefully, relishing in its good taste and abundance.

Everyone who partners with us, either as a volunteer, neighbor, donor, board member, supporter or ambassador does so because we all understand: An elemental and sacred bond exists between the individual’s well-fed body, families, neighborhoods and the broader community. It’s a bond that’s under increasing pressure from a myriad of threats these days. Threats that, in many ways, are new to human history — a climate in peril, shrinking access to good, fertile land, clean air and clean water, shrinking access to stable housing with functional kitchens and readily available and healthy food, incarceration rates that harm families, neighborhoods and individuals across generations, addiction, mass migration and violence on a scale that rivals the worst wars of the 20th century.

At Seedleaf, we seek to meet these threats on a local level, not out of fear but out of hope. We see them as challenges, as opportunities. Because we believe all people deserve easy access to healthy, sustainably grown food and easy access to community, love and connection, this season of holy days is our sweet spot. It’s a time in which our work — we hope — reaches lavish culmination in us, in you and in our neighbors.

But for many, that lavish culmination is either too hard wrought or not wrought at all. As much as this time of year can bring feelings of wholeness and plenty, it can also bring feelings of dissolution and want. And it’s not either/or, either. It’s a spectrum. Food access, food knowledge, community gatherings, community knowledge, feeling one’s self a part of something — these things generate wholeness and plenty. They guard against dissolution and want.

Next week marks the start of the Good Giving Challenge. This year it only runs one week, and we’re focusing our efforts on raising funds to build our education pavilion up at the North Farm space. The pavilion won’t solve hunger. It won’t directly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It won’t build affordable housing with working kitchens. But it will provide a space for education, for skill building, for gathering, for sharing in the work of growing food and learning about it, for feeling one’s self a part of something.

Come be a part of what we’re building. Sign up here to receive updates or to get involved strengthening our community’s bonds. We have something for everyone.

 Seedleaf’s proposed Educational Pavilion, slated to go up at the North Farm space in 2019.

Seedleaf’s proposed Educational Pavilion, slated to go up at the North Farm space in 2019.