It’s been a whirlwind of a week! One good thing about being self-employed is that I get to work in different parts of the metro-area on a monthly basis. But after this week of teaching a class in Bay View on Monday, volunteering in the central city on Tuesday, making restaurant pickles in the far western suburbs on Wednesday, checking out an event space in the far Northshore on Thursday morning, and one more planning meeting in Bay View today…WHEW! I’ll have been all over the place.
The bright spot in my week was definitely late yesterday morning when I was invited to sit down with Ms. Venice Williams Executive Director of Alice’s Garden to brainstorm for some upcoming classes. As far as I can remember, I met Venice through Friends of Real Food when she spoke several years ago about her community garden and programming. We have found ourselves in the same urban agriculture and food circles many times since then, but I have gotten to know her more this summer through the wonderful Healing Herbs CSA she began.
Being in Venice’s home and talking over homegrown tea around her kitchen table is a spiritual experience in and of itself, but once we got talking it turned into an even deeper understanding for me. Looking back over my meeting notes I see words like “nourishing,” “spirituality of food,” “ancestral herbal knowledge,” and “reconnecting” sprinkled throughout the pages. As a lifelong writer and Lutheran minister Venice has so many stories to tell; she weaves them into her garden work, classes, and presentations.
I cannot think of better way to have spent 2 1/2 hours yesterday and was thankful that the universe opened up that block of time for me on what initially looked like another hectic day. I felt myself breathing deeply the rest of the afternoon and well into the evening.
The initial classes we’re hoping to offer will be at the Body & Soul Healing Arts Center in the Sherman Park neighborhood. I am excited to provide culinary classes in such a diverse setting and learn how to better engage the community, a skill at which Venice is much more versed than I. Hopefully next spring and summer we’ll move these herb classes into Alice’s Garden. We are excited to pair Venice’s herbal knowledge and my cooking ideas. Stay tuned for the lineup of classes coming soon.