To live in an intentional community is to constantly be conscious of space (physical, emotional, mental) and interaction of spaces. To live in an intentional community is to constantly be engaged in a dialogue that analyzes that space and interaction of spaces. To live in an intentional community is to have the privilege of coming into contact with four amazing souls at some point throughout the day. It means that, for some otherworldly reason, we have off weeks at the same time and can lament together at 7am while pouring the coffee. Now over a month into living in this intentional community, I know how lucky I am to share this house and these values with such incredible women.
While it seemed to be a pretty off week for most of us, our weekend was jam-packed with events and meetings. On Saturday, Georgia, McKenzie, Abbie, and I (Oze) left the house at 7am to collect first pickings at the Memphis Farmer’s Market. We made sure that our first stop was the coffee booth. When we made it home an hour later, there was a rush to put everything away and hit the road for our Overton Park Farmer’s Market Workshop at Jack’s Farmacy! We drove 25 minutes (was it even still Memphis…?) to the middle of nowhere to a small farm on State Line Rd. Jack, his wife, and the rest of the farming workshop community welcomed us with open arms, smiles, and much appreciated warm coffee. Some of them had even heard about the Ruka! The others were eager to learn about our way of life and about our connection to the community.
When we got there, the sun was hitting the vast greenery just right. It wasn’t too hot, the air was fresh, and there was the soft cooing of chickens in the background. Jack took us on a tour of his 4 acres and offered tips on farming and upkeep. We learned what asparagus looked like growing on the farm and saw new ways to grow cucumbers. The whole experience was eye opening. To see the farm where portions of our CSA comes from, where farmer’s market items come from, and to see that it’s primarily one older man who works the farm was refreshing and inspiring. Jack was so passionate about his crop. His pride and intelligence shone through, almost brighter than his red OPFM shirt that read: “Thyme to turnip the beet!” After the tour and some equipment demos, we all sat down and ate the incredible lunch his wife and brother-in-law had waiting. Fresh hamburgers, gluten-free eggplant lasagne (4 u Georgia) and Memphis-brewed beer filled our stomachs and we were heavy with sleep and hearty food on the way home.
After Jack’s Farmacy, it was straight to Fall planting for our garden, which now seemed minute after visiting Jack’s. It took some time and McKenzie and Georgia had to do a quick soil run, but as of now we’re waiting on carrots, onions, broccoli, kale, and spinach to sprout. As I sat on the (newly cleaned & usable) screened-in porch earlier reviewing this week’s reading – Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire – I couldn’t help but think about how we, the Ruka Fellows, are truly living the word “Ruka.” To transform the world, we must not only be aware of the world, but we must also dialogue with the self and with the community and we must act and reflect. When we speak, we leave space for questions and problem-solving and that is the cycle of transformation. We are living with love and humility and faith in each other, and in doing so we speak the true word of Ruka.