Planting for the Long HaulMay 15, 2009 at 7:55 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
By: Shamu (Program Director and Fearless Leader)
For as long as I can remember I thought of the act of planting fruit trees as the ultimate proof of a long-term commitment. Growing up in a family where history and gardening were central, I imagined myself putting down my roots in the chosen patch of ground by sinking apple, pear and walnut saplings into the earth. A person who could walk their land around pointing out thick-trunked fruit trees was both a hero in our culture of constant migration and instant gratification, and a powerful activist in the seemingly obscure and impersonal sweep of history.
I have always craved the vision and the patience demanded by an orchard.
This spring I am getting the chance to plant myself for the long haul. For the past two weeks on the Kaplan Family Farm we have planted 25 fruit trees and 150 blueberry bushes. Long before we dug holes, hauled mulch and chanted blessings we marked out spots on a map, choose varieties, and measured distances. We had a well dug and we did almost 1,000 feet of trenching for water lines. Adam Berman raised the money necessary for all the infrastructure on beebe hill. It felt like what Jews always say about the Jewish holy days, ‘It is all in the preparation.’ The month of Elul, or cleaning for Passover.
We bought these plums, cherries, peach, persimmon, apricot, pawpaw and apples as bare root trees, which means that although they are small whips of saplings they have the best chance for establishing themselves firmly for a long life.
We started planting with a ritual. Adamah staff and alumni were joined by Ellen, Segulah, Andrew and Oren Rudavsky (a great filmmaker who we have hired to make a short film about Adamah). Aitan spoke about the significance of the number 3 (God, humans, trees; 3 years before you can harvest the fruit), and I told the riddle about what you are supposed to do if the Messiah arrives while you are in the process of planting trees (keep planting). Segulah sent a shofar blast on the wind to invite all wandering souls to sit in our orchard. Josh (Fall 2008), Melissa (Fall 2008), Jill (Summer 2008), Ben (Fall 2007) and the Heschel 5 (Jered, David, Yaniv, Mac and Gabe), and of course all the Adamah staff dug, picked rocks, filled trenches, brewed home made gravel and planted.