January 2011 Statement
By A Handful of Catholic Worker Farmers & Gardeners
PREAMBLE in Memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
When Doctor Martin Luther King Junior opposed the war against Vietnam he
made the following Statement: “When machines and computers, profit motives
and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant
triplets of Racism, extreme Materialism and Militarism are incapable of
being conquered.” King predicted that if America did not change its course she
would be beset by war after war. True to King's prediction we have been in
war after war, and are currently mired down in two bloody wars in Afghanistan
and Iraq, while the unholy Pentagon plans more wars! One of the most direct ways we are pulled into these wars is by
our mechanized agricultural system that is the largest single consumer of
fossil fuels, and to keep that system intact our government secures
these resources by war.
It is with these shameful truths in mind that we make the following STATEMENT:
On this, the 75th anniversary of Catholic Worker farms, we urban gardeners and rural farmers have gathered near Sheep Ranch, California to celebrate the spirit of Peter Maurin—co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement with Dorothy Day.
All of God’s children deserve access to healthy food, yet hunger, malnutrition and starvation continue to harm people across the planet. Contemporary problems of hunger, mental illnesses, climate change, environmental degradation, industrial food production, and social alienation are interrelated. These challenges can be overwhelming, but our experiences have taught us that the vision of Peter Maurin is now more relevant than ever before.
Peter Maurin put out the call for a Green Revolution consisting of round-table discussions, houses of hospitality, and farming communes. Although houses of hospitality have been the most notable aspect of the Catholic Worker movement, many of us have experienced the need for Catholic Worker farming communities and urban gardens to help us more fully realize Peter Maurin’s vision. Peter encouraged us to follow the way of Jesus Christ as servant rather than master, spending our energy in decentralized food production methods.
To this end, we support the following sustainable practices across North America: utilization of heirloom seeds, conversion of abandoned places into community gardens, local production of organic food, creation of biointensive and permaculture farms and urban gardens. We support the resistance to industrial farming in a movement toward restoring localized production and distribution of healthy organic food.
We acknowledge the momentum of movements calling for a restructuring of our agricultural system and we applaud these efforts. We challenge ourselves, the Catholic Worker movement, the Church, people of all faith traditions, and all people of goodwill to promote sustainable ways of living.
11 January 2011
Contact: Chris Montesano 209.728.2159
75th Anniversary of Catholic Worker Farms
Calaveras County, CA
Members of Catholic Worker farms and urban houses of hospitality gathered this past week for a celebration of Peter Maurin’s prophetic vision for a new society in the shell of the old. Peter Maurin co-founded the Catholic Worker in New York City in 1933 with Dorothy Day. Three years later the first Catholic Worker farming commune opened in New York. For the 75th Anniversary of the first Catholic Worker farming commune, 21 people gathered in the remote Sierra foothills of California for workshops and discussions.
Today the Catholic Workers gathered in Calaveras County (at a spot between Arnold and Sheep Ranch) issued a statement reiterating and updating Peter Maurin’s vision in modern language, calling for more urban gardens and local organic farming communities. Urban gardeners and rural farmers came from Catholic Worker communities in California, Colorado, Montana, Wisconsin, Iowa and New Mexico. Richard Bishop of Bitterroot Catholic Worker Farm, MT said, “The beauty of Peter Maurin’s vision has not been realized. All of our discussions need to be illuminated by Peter’s prophetic teachings.”
Were you there, in Dubuque, Iowa that weekend? If so, you know this gathering was inspirational!
We organized roundtable discussions, meals, and fun...
Hi Catholic Worker Farmers and Urban Growers!
Yes it is happening! The National Catholic Worker farm gathering dates are Feb 20-23rd, for a weekend of inspiration, skill sharing, local food and libation, music, and fun, in the north woods of Luck, Wisconsin.
Schedule for the weekend is in the works. We hope people will arrive on Friday and head out Monday. Friday eve will begin with a meal, Lenten reflection and then casual frivolity. Saturday and Sunday will include a keynote from Jack Nelson-Pallmyer connecting spirituality and care of the land. We are lining up speakers on perennial vegetables, silvopasture*, permaculture, and restorative agriculture*. Round table suggestions to date include pastured animal keeping, vegetable growing, and how to begin a farm. A panel of urban and rural CW’s discussing best practices, challenges and successes on gardens and farms is also being planned. Craft workshops would be a nice addition! There will be time for outside activities and a tour of Anathoth Farm, weather permitting of course! Saturday night there will be a folk dance with members of Duck for the Oyster*which will be open to the larger community.
We are being hosted on West Denmark Lutheran Church* campus, located on Little Butternut Lake just outside of Luck. This is a congregation founded in the Nikolaj Grundtvig* tradition, and its commitment to peace and justice issues are noteworthy in the region. We have access to the church, the hall, and the Dane school, plus the beautiful grounds, giving us plenty of room for large and small groups. We are welcome to attend their service on Sunday (Mike and I are members), or there is mass close by as well, Sat eve and Sun am.
Luck is 90 minutes northeast of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Bus/train or airport pick up is possible! Floor space is abundantly available, and there are limited beds upon request. Music, food and kitchen help welcome!
For more information, to suggest a round table topic, or to say you are coming email Barb Kass or Mike Miles:
anathoth AT lakeland DOT ws (REPLACE THE "AT" with @ and the "DOT" with ".") or call 715 472-8721.
We hope to hear from you and get you on the Yes list!
Barb Kass and Mike Miles Anathoth Community Farm*
Friday February 20th-
Afternoon arrival, supper, evening prayer, music and conversation
Saturday February 21
Breakfast 8 am
Brief history of Catholic Worker Farms- New Hope
Jack Nelson-Pallmyer keynote/ discussion
Round Tables- topics to be determined by attendees