Cliff Kindy Iraq Blog

Current entries are related to Cliff Kindy's fourth Iraq trip, beginning in October 2007. The blog archives contains letters from Cliff's third Iraq trip in 2004-5.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Cliff's First Letter - Tending the Garden

(Cliff wrote this on Sunday, Oct. 31 and left for Iraq on Monday, Nov. 1)
Dear Friends, Family, and All Good People,

I am returning soon to Iraq for another five months with Christian Peacemaker Teams. I plan to write regular letters which Andy Rich will be sending out. If you wish not to receive this series of letters, please send a note to Andy.

One of my major summer tasks is to help Arlene with our organic market garden from which we sell fruits and vegetables for our income. Working with a friend in the garden this summer, I made the comment that, in spite of all the peacemaking work we do in various parts of the world, maybe the most important peacemaking work we do is building up the soil.

Right now we are putting all the old plants from the summer garden onto the compost piles. Those piles are the bank deposits for next summer's soil. We are also dumping truck loads of leaves that the town delivers to the farm and loads of horse manure/sawdust in strategic locations around the gardens. Then we are planting a cover crop of oats and soybeans on each of the cleared rows. Each of these tasks are steps that enrich the soil for the crops of the next year.

Removing the trash from the garden reduces the insect and disease problems and allows the garden residue to become compost. Leaves and manure will be the mulch that holds moisture, discourages weed growth, and slowly decays into rich earth. The cover crop will prevent erosion from the winter winds and rains and add humus and nitrogen for future crops.

Extending out from Joyfield Farm, building up the soil has an impact on justice and peace in conflict zones. Poor soil causes hunger, poor farming practices can pollute air and water supplies, and inequitable land ownership can produce the injustice that leads to war. Good soil feeds people, good farming practices purify air and water, and access to land can nurture justice. Good soil grows peace.

In a similar fashion, each one of us builds up the soil for a culture of peace. Nurturing understanding in family and community is a building block of a peaceful future. Reconciling differences in peaceful ways strengthens a feeling of self worth and allows differences to empower social units. Learning from other cultures recognizes the contributions that language, faith, and practices bring to this world. Crossing through barriers of hatred and fear can open possibilities for relationships that build up rather than tear down. Let's become farmers of peace wherever we find ourselves.

Cliff Kindy


Blogger Dave said...

Thanks, Andy, for sharing Cliff's words and message with all of us. WE can only hope for his safety as he does this very important work for peace. Would that more of us had only a part of the courage he and others have. Perhaps we could bring this awful war to an end.

6:35 AM  

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