What makes Maryland a sacred place?
Maybe it’s the spirit of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass that is roaming free on the land
Maybe it’s the guidance from ancestors, relatives and visionaries who call this place home
Maybe it's the access to forests, lakes, mountains and plant medicine
Maybe it is the depth and range of Blackness
Whatever it is, I am glad that my life journey led me here. This has been the place where I learned how to integrate younger versions of myself. Now, I (inner)stand why those versions of myself were essential. They were preparing me to be open and willing to connect with other souls on their journey.
2017-2018, Farmer Tolu and I were both living in Madison, Wisconsin but never crossed paths. It’s not until this year that we connected through OurSpace World. The Ujima Jam at OlaLekan Farm felt like an opportunity to celebrate divine timing and guidance.
OlaLekan Farm is worth celebrating. Farmer Tolu started the farm this year and she made it through the first season!
When I arrived on the farm, I greeted the land. Soon after, Tolu pulled up. We talked about the intention for the Jam session. Tolu shared, she wanted the Jam to be light-hearted and productive.
As we set up, Tolu and I talked about our journey to the DMV area and different versions of ourselves.
As more folks arrived, we moved mulch, dug holes and planted garlic. One of my first friends in Maryland participated in this Ujima Jam. That made me smile. Also, some of Tolu’s students from the ECO City Farms Beginning Farmer Program came to support.
Collectively, we enjoyed a delicious sweet potato soup made by the OurSpace World apprentices. The sweet potatoes in the soup were harvested from Sisters of the Soil Farm. Farmers Michelle and Miriam were both present on the farm and enjoyed the soup.
We helped Tolu move two large tarps that were filled with mud and water. As we were moving the tarps, Little Simz's “How Did You Get Here” was playing in the background. At the end, we were covered in mud and water but we accomplished our goal.
Before I left the farm, Tolu harvested some chard and gave it to me. I used it to make dinner!
Thank you Farmer Tolu for reminding me of divine timing.
Thank you for teaching us to believe in ourselves.
Thank you for showing us how to steward the land we are on.
Photo Credit: MJ & Aita
There is so much suffering and destruction happening in the world. During this time, we can ask ourselves some questions.
What do we truly believe in?
How can we take the next steps to honor our deepest truth?
We all have different responses to these questions based on our lineage and live-experiences.
I believe in the power of coming together to support each other. I believe in a particular kind of healing, love and support that is only available when we are in community. The truth is, none of us know how long we will be on this Earth. We must lean into the connections, gifts and resources that we have now.
Connecting with folks in the OurSpace World ecosystem has reminded me to embrace the power of community.
Not the theory of community, but an active community. One where I can contribute to the Earth in meaningful ways.
The Ujima Jams are a beautiful example of what can be accomplished when we come together to support each other. Even when there is chaos happening around us we can carve out time to be present on sacred land.
Sisters of the Soil embodies the African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
In October Farmers Michelle, Trina and Miriam had a goal to harvest as many sweet potatoes as possible. The Ujima Jam was an opportunity to support their efforts. When I arrived on the farm, they were present, harvesting sweet potatoes and selling produce.
After I greeted the land and farmers, I got right to work. Farmer Michelle taught me how to cut weeds with a knife. Then she taught me how to use a broadfork to get underneath the sweet potatoes and loosen the soil. While Michelle was teaching, we talked about musical instruments (e.g. drums and saxophone) and the importance of growing our own food.
Throughout the day volunteers showed up at the farm. Children, parents, community members, OSW team members, apprentices and interns all added life to the soil. Collectively, we harvested sweet potatoes, made memories and enjoyed refreshments. It was wonderful seeing folks come together on a Sunday to support Sisters of the Soil.
If this Ujima Jam was a song it would be, “People Make the World Go Round” by the Stylistics.
Thank you Farmers Michelle, Trina and Miriam for all the effort you put into your work that makes Sisters of the Soil possible. Thank you for teaching us how to nourish ourselves and the land we are on. Thank you for showing us the power of community.
Photo Credit: Farmer Miriam, MJ & Aita
I'm on a double mission here on Earth.
Individually, I am here to grow and learn as a soul. And, I am here to collectively grow and sustain sacred environments where folks can be their whole self and proud of their contributions on Earth.
Earlier this year, I knew I needed more opportunities to be active in my double mission.
I felt ready to show up in a way I haven’t before.
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
I found OurSpace World.
In May, I attended an in-person Ujima Jam (an opportunity to help each other out on farms). This Jam was at A Heart 4 People Farm with Farmer Michele Coleman. I remember driving to the community farm and being unsure if I was in the right place. Soon after, I met folks that ensured I was exactly where I needed to be.
Farmer Michele is a guiding light. She greeted me with open arms and let me know how I can support her tasks with the skills I already had. I spent the day in community with folks who value land, farmers, reciprocity and ancestral wisdom. I left that Ujima Jam with my heart full.
I knew I would return.
In the Summer, I stayed connected with OurSpace World and waited for an aligned opportunity where I could show up in a meaningful way. The Ujima Jams became an entry point.
I spent some time with OurSpace World team members, apprentices, interns and farmers who all believe in collective work and responsibility.
On October 22nd, I returned to A Heart 4 People for another Ujima Jam. But, this time I had a deeper appreciation for the Jams because I experienced some of the planning and action required to make it possible.
I saw how dedicated Farmer Michele is to sustaining her farm and faith in God.
I saw how committed OurSpace World is to making their vision a reality.
I saw how supporting Black and other underserved farmers is an act of love.
I innerstand why my guides have called me here at this time.
During the Ujima Jam at A Heart 4 People, we worked on Farmer Michele’s tasks and listened to music. Karla Felecia Scaife’s “shining on me” played and I smiled.
We took a break to taste some okra that was hand-breaded by the OurSpace World apprentices and toasted by Aita. Farmer Michele isn’t a fan of okra but she tried it anyway!
We did not complete all the tasks on Farmer Michele’s list. But those who attended were able to support her efforts and leave her with a message. There is more work to be done. When I was driving away from the farm, Farmer Michele was still working.
Thank you Farmer Michele for being a remarkable and exceptional guide on Earth.
Photo Credit: MJ & Aita