Saturday, August 05, 2006

Grace Lafever's Weed Walk

DAY 7 of "A Journey with the Brethren"

We spend much of our time while in class on the second floor of the Brethren Service Center's hotel called Zigler Hall: a large, brick building complete with cafeteria, library and meeting rooms. But at other times, we go on exploratory field trips—like Grace Lafever's Weed Walk.

Grace Lafever, 83 years old and wearing a tan T-shirt with a long list of herbs printed on the back, is a marvelous specimen of someone who has lived her life growing, eating and selling good food. This was our first field trip, a visit to Grace's 60 acre Sonnewald Farm in Spring Grove, a village about 8 miles southwest of York, Pa., to learn about organic gardening and to experience Grace's famous edible and medicinal "Weed Walk."

We spent the day getting a very personal tour of Grace's ranch, a lecture on the virtues of eating weeds right out of the lawn, tasting the wild green morsels as we went along, and ended up being treated to a sample of Grace's "green drink" made from all the weeds, including hemp (no joking), that we had just picked.

Then came delicious hot lunch featuring a rich Greek vegi-casserole and cut fruit bowl prepared by Grace and her staff. And yes, all of the food was made from her organic vegetables, fruits and, of course, the weeds that we had just sampled. The experience was facinating for me... I really enjoyed talking to Grace and helping her with the dishes after lunch. Some of our less adventurous members in the group were less impressed with the weed eating portion, though.

Other lecturers we've hosted back at Zigler Hall have been Don Vermilyea of A Walk Across America and Phil Jones of The Brethren Witness/Washington Office in Washington DC. These two men, on different days, provided an exceptional example of the spirit we will soon be working with on projects in the US and around the globe.

Have lots more to report, like about our "Drop-off Day," but unfortunately that will have to wait.

Check back for more "A Journey with the Brethren."