McMinn, a sociologist and co-owner of a small farm, presumes a certain level of privilege among her readers: choose heirloom seeds; eat only fair trade chocolate; avoid plastic food containers; and buy eggs “from a local source, if possible, and/or from chickens raised outside eating grass and bugs.” Still, this book is an enticing reflection on the sacramental nature of preparing and eating meals.
Two weeks ago, I was in my office getting ready for worship when a church member stopped by with a cherry tomato. A small, single tomato, which he handed to me. Then he pointed out my window toward the front yard of the church. “We’ve got a couple of tomato plants growing out there,” he said.
The parable of the sower has just failed at my house. Last winter I decided it was time to start a garden—not only because I thought it would give me pleasure but also because I hoped it might help me read the Bible. Since I moved to the country, I am more aware than ever what a rural preacher Jesus was.
I hold three mottled white-and-burgundy beans in the palm my hand. The beans are named Jacob’s Cattle for the “striped, speckled and spotted” goats that Jacob bred to thwart Laban’s devious whims in the book of Genesis. The jar of shiny seeds will provide hearty, delicious winter meals. The plumpest of them supply next year’s crop.
Don Charles grips a broadfork, his feet invisible beneath displaced straw from the potato row. The tool is a cross between a rake and a shovel and rises to chest height on most people. Charles bends his 6’7” frame to grip the handles at his waist and plants his weight on the metal beam connecting handles and teeth.