Eco-Stewards Intern Dave Grace stacked hay, repaired a chicken coup and built an Earthship-style garage and goat-milking barn during his stay at Greenwood Farm this summer. He is a sustainable agriculture major at Warren Wilson College.
Tomorrow I will say goodbye to Greenwood Farm and Montana for a while. I have a lot to say about my time here and the thoughts I’ve been having, but I won’t be able to provide much detail in 500 words—so I will just outline the basis for these thoughts and provide a few examples that offer a glimpse into the value I’ve found in joining the Graber family, if only temporarily, in their work and lives.
My Christianity is founded upon resistance to the implications of The Fall while trying to stay attentive to the spirit within me and the signs of the promise of redemption around me. The basis for this is in wild nature—God’s original intention for humanity as expressed in Genesis. For me, this is where the discussion of Christianity and the environment is centered: the fundamental breakdown in human relations and alienation from Earth characterized by The Fall. When it comes down to distilling this theology into practice, it is a matter of creating egalitarian relationships, based in wildness, that are human to human and human to nature. This is an expression of love that is not ideological or fantastic but an experienced reality in alignment with the highest expression of love in God’s grace.
My time at Greenwood Farm has been highly beneficial to me. I see relationships in this family that demonstrate an intention of loving relationship. This intention extends to Greenwood Farm and to involvement in the wider community—from the Crow Hymns Project to the Bighorn Valley Health Center. In short, I really appreciate the genuine respect and care that I felt from this family.
Here at Greenwood Farm, I’ve assisted with many projects: construction of an Earthship-style garage and goat-milking barn, using tires packed with sand, clay and cob for its walls; stacking hay bales and mowing grass; chicken coop repair; leveling an area for a bunkhouse floor; and preparing barrels for hot water storage. This work has proven to be educational for me, especially the Earthship construction. It has offered me an experience of reclaiming an industrial waste (tires) to put to other uses that have the potential to increase self-reliance and community responsibility. I find the necessity of work troubling in civilization, as its production focus is misleading from a wild state of communion in nature. However, there seems to be a way of subverting work’s aims if this necessity is understood and does not become a force of domestication.
As I leave this internship, I am looking forward to getting in touch with Mi Media Naranja in North Carolina to further study these intimate connections between nature and Christianity. But first, I’m heading to Alaska, where I look forward to fishing for salmon.