Sankofa Gardening Homes: Getting ready for Good Friday
Clarence Glover | 3/19/2018, 11:56 a.m.
As we are experiencing the last blast of winter weather we can already sense the rhythm of spring as trees, grass and plants begin to bud, eagerly anticipating the warmth of the coming summer sun. While this annual ritual is repeated without human assistance there are plants waiting for us to bury them in the ground by Good Friday so they can join this natural rhythm of nature.
This month, we will we reflect on our ABA – or Africans Who Built America – ancestors who broke the soil to prepare it for the annual spring planting and summer growing seasons. This process of being in tune with nature was a necessary requirement for many of them because much of the food they depended on was the result of what they grew themselves.
Their connection to the earth, sky, sun, and moon were all essential to the success of a bountiful harvest. Their knowledge of how these four elements of nature worked together had been passed down from generation to generation. It was their keen sense of being in tune with the rhythms of nature that would determine when it was the proper time to plant. To not plant in harmony with nature would often result in a poor harvest and the wasting of good seed. In essence, for our ABA ancestors the food they depended on was determined by their ability to stay in tune with nature, something many of us have forgotten.
As DABA – or Descendants of Africans who Built America – people, we have the opportunity through our Sankofa Garden Homes to reclaim this natural rhythm and get in tune with nature again, so our gardens can produce a bountiful harvest around our homes and for our families.
As I begin preparation for planting, I am taken back to my childhood, reflecting on my Grandfather and Great-Grandfather preparing to ready the soil for planting. While women could certainly do this work some did and some do, it was for the most part “man’s work.” It was considered “dirty work” that took great knowledge, skill and patience to do it right. Preparing the soil meant, mixing soil compost and manure. Preparing the soil properly and all its natural organic material was essential if there was to be a good harvest. You can purchase organic soil and manure at your local garden store and mix with your compost.
I can remember how my Great-Grandfather’s brother used his Mule and plow to break the soil, while my Great-Grandfather would use his International Tractor to break acres of soil for planting cotton and food.
It would be during these early days of my life that I bonded with the male elders in my life. These were invaluable moments that served to educate me to things I would not learn in school but were just as important. While they were not called STEM – or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – the things I was learning were grounded in STEM and the best example of Project Based Learning.