Create and enjoy your backyard Eden I
Kim Burgsma Special to ChristianWeek
’m curious what the original Garden of Eden looked like. No doubt, it was the most glorious
garden ever created: a garden without flaws, each plant perfect in every way, placed in a manner that each complemented the one beside it. As a landscape designer, I know I can never re-create the magnificent beauty God lavished on this earth. I’ll never create a waterfall as mighty, a forest as remarkable, a rockscape as imposing or a garden as impressive as gardens the Supreme Landscape Designer created. Nor will you. What I also know is that God has given us the
gift of flora and fauna. He’s the giver of our desire and ability to dream, plan and design. I believe each one of us can create a little slice of Eden in our own backyards. Will it be perfect? No. Can it be glorious for us to behold? Absolutely! Gardening is one of our nation’s top hobbies.
And, no wonder! God placed Adam in Eden to tend the garden. Working so closely with God’s creation was a joyful experience then and it is still today. Mind you, it may have been slightly more pleasur-
Shad Gardeners dream all winter of connecting with
the earth again come spring. Plotting, planning and designing the next garden when it’s too cold to actually be outside puttering in the garden. Then spring comes. Bulbs so carefully planted
last fall edge out of the soil and spring forth with magnificent colour and scent. Soil is turned. Compost and manure is raked in. Perennials are divided and shared with other eager gardeners and annuals are planted. Gardeners allow dust to pile up on coffee tables and dirt to gather under fingernails. Outside fashioning their own Eden is exactly where they are happy to be. All of the gardening frenzy is rewarding, but who
God has given us the gift of flora and fauna. He is the giver of our desire and ability to dream, plan and design.
able for Adam since he didn’t have so many pesky weeds to contend with. Nevertheless, the act of creating our own beautiful gardens is gratifying.
Described by one music critic Continued from page 1
as “Canada’s youngest hip-hop talent that [nearly] everyone can agree on,” Shad won a Juno for his 2010 album, Tsol. He has also been
short-listed twice for the Polaris Music Prize, an annual honour that awards $30,000 to one Canadian musician based on artistic merit. During his lecture at St. Margaret’s, Shad spoke about the limita-
tions of hip-hop—tempo, rhythm, rhyme, subject matter—and how he plays within those limitations to express himself. He spoke of limitations in a positive light, likening hip-hop to a
“The project of trying to express yourself honestly is very difficult,”
game. In order to play a game, one has to learn the rules and bound- aries before one can establish skill and use creativity to accomplish the goal of the game. “Overall, [hip-hop’s] a game,” he said. “It’s a game that’s helped
me enjoy myself, entertain myself, entertain others, discover who I am and to speak [about] who I am out loud.” Hip-hop has also given Shad the courage to be himself. “The project of trying to express yourself honestly is very dif- ficult,” he said. “But, it’s also necessary.” Kurt Armstrong, who attends St. Margaret’s and is on the organizing committee for the lecture series, says he was first interested in having Shad speak at the church after being impressed with his lyrics. “Shad’s music is catchy and playful,” Armstrong said. “His lyrics
are witty, clever and self-deprecating, but they also reflect a keen eye for reading the sign of the times. He tells us about himself, about his … snacking habits, his love of naps, his ongoing search for a wife, but he also talks about politics, gender roles, social justice [and] peaceableness towards your enemy. He mentions philosophy, and every now and then, discusses theology.”
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Shad recently graduated from Simon Fraser University with a master's degree in liberal studies.
Shad recently graduated from Simon Fraser University with
Master’s degree in liberal studies. During his talk, he shared a quote from the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley that he read during his studies: “The imagination is the instrument for moral good and poetry influences the latter by acting on the former.” “Beyond this game [of hip-hop] affecting my life … hopefully I
can enlarge people’s imaginations as well,” Shad said. “Hopefully the delight and the wisdom of poetry can broaden people’s imaginations as well and [I can] help them in that way.”
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can keep up that pace? The beauty is, we don’t have to! One of the wonderful things about the gardening season is that mid-summer is when our gardens need the least amount of care. Perennials fill out, the annuals spread about, and the hurried growth of shrubs has ebbed. Watering and plucking the odd weed that still finds its way through is about the extent of our mid-summer garden chores. In the hottest of summer days we spend more
time admiring our handiwork than actually work- ing. We stop and smell the roses and study the
inside of a lily, admiring the detail our Creator put into each and every petal. This is the time of year when we have time to
enjoy snuggling on a bench under a big ol’ shade tree with a great book and cold lemonade. We have time to gather friends in our backyard for a barbeque or a game of horseshoes. We sit outside long after dark around a fire pit and swapping exaggerated stories with our families. Just as Adam needed companionship in the
original garden, so do we in our gardens. We have successfully mimicked the original Eden when our gardens are places that are not only beautiful, but also places where friends and family gather for refreshment, relaxation and sport. I imagine God looking into our gardens filled with flowers, foliage and friends. When I envision Him looking into our yards and our lives, I also hear Him say- ing, “It is good.” Just as He did when He gazed upon His handi- work in the first Eden.
Kim Burgsma is an award winning landscape designer, speaker, garden class instructor and author of Almost Eden.
CMU Continued from page 1
Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) recently unveiled its one-acre on- campus Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) urban farm.
Volunteers just started their first season of harvest. CMU Farm together with the CMU Farmers Collective harvest
squash, beans, peas, herbs, carrots, onions, tomatoes, peppers and more in order to provide people who have bought into the collective with a weekly box of vegetables, says Kenton Lobe, an instructor of International Development and a member of the collective. But it’s not just about healthy eating. It is also a great learning experience for those involved. “We’re learning about the issues we’re trying to address in the classroom with food and security, the urban to rural divide and farming practices that we’re implementing here,” says Jeanette Sivilay, an International Development Studies student at Menno Simons College who is doing her practicum at the CMU Farm. DeLayne Toews, another member of the CMU Farmer’s Collective, says coming to work every day is like witnessing the miracle of creation on a daily basis. This is something that motivates Toews to get up in the morn- ing despite not being paid for his work. The seven members of the collective are affiliated with CMU
and work long hours (without remuneration) preparing the beds, seeding, weeding, improvising as situations arise and marketing. During the fall and winter semester, the CMU Farm will be used for educational purposes, in which the collective members will participate. “We’re trying to find ways of linking this [farm] integrally with the curriculum,” says Lobe. So far, the Ecological Peacebuilding class has concrete plans
to work on the farm during the school year, but Lobe sees many more places where the farm could be useful to supplement classroom discussion. The CMU farm is the brainchild of Lobe, CMU alumna Megan Klassen-Wiebe and Toews, who have both worked on organic farms. Lobe had wanted to establish a farm at CMU’s former Creation
Care Centre in East Braintree, Manitoba, but when that didn’t work out, Klassen-Wiebe and Toews pitched the idea of an on- campus urban farm. Several months later, in February of this year, the dream became a reality. Lobe and other members of the CMU Farmer’s Collective have
many plans for the future of the farm, including putting animals to work where often machinery would be used. They also hope to grow a wider variety of crops.
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