It all began with mulch.
Thatís right, mulch was my very first word.
Not mommy, daddy, cat or dog. Not even yes or no. Or love. Or Kimmy.
Mulch. My first word was mulch.
Leave it to the daughter of an avid gardener and lover of nature to utter mulch as her first word. Leave it to the daughter of a woman who sent her older children to nature camp. Leave it to the daughter of a teacher who used everything in nature as an opportunity for learning and writing.
Of course I donít remember this vocal offering. I donít remember entering into the world of speech. I only hear the stories. My first word was mulch.
And now, almost 30 years later I am beginning to come back to that first word. Iím beginning to realize the depth of where my soul dwelled even at such a young age. Iím beginning to once again give thanks for mulch.
From a young age, from even a pre-verbal age, I knew mulch meant something. Somehow innately, I knew that mulch resided in each of us. I believed in mulch. And believing in mulch means believing in growth. New life. Believing in mulch means taking our hands and feet and getting dirty, getting sweaty and settling right down in the midst of mess. We look at mulch and we wait expectantly.
Giving thanks for mulch materializes when I gather at the Sedalia Area Farmersí Market weekly to share in the goodness of the land. Mulch sustains the life of farmers who work the land and provide local, fresh and healthy options to sustaining our creation and our bodies.
Mulch brings us into community. Mulch reminds us of our need to be community together.
It was the beginning of the Sedalia Area Farmersí Market season this year and as a newly elected board member, I am privileged to spend Tuesdays and Fridays being a part of the farmersí market experience. Recently, the market was beginning to wind down and a mother and son were shopping. They grabbed a bag full of ready-to-eat snap-peas from Bristle Ridge Farm and wheat berry bread from Larmís Farm. They took some refreshing yerba mate tea from Common Ground Bakery to go. There was fresh kale from Show-Me Produce that needed to be given away. The mother and son take the bag and ask what to do with it. They are given their lesson in kale chips. You can see the excitement and wonder in their eyes, kale chips, of all things!
ďThank you,Ē the mother says.
The son walks towards the car and the mother shares that they are from out of town attending a wrestling tournament. Her son canít eat at the restaurant with the team because he has liver problems.
ďItís been a hard day for him. Thank you for this.Ē She leaves hugging the women who have shared a bit of their hope with her this day.
You see, coming to the farmersí market isnít just about food. It isnít just about craft time for the children. It isnít just about learning new recipes. It isnít just about making new friends. It isnít just about sustainable eating. Itís about all of these things and ultimately coming to the farmersí market is about mulch.
It has taken nearly 30 years, but I am slowly growing into the sort of person once again who begins speech with the word mulch. Unbeknownst to me, the desire and connection to the land and to my body were there all along. It simply took showing up and being open to the world around me.† †
Perhaps you too will be uttering mulch this summer. Perhaps you, too, will see the signs of hope blooming all around you. Perhaps you will find the growth within. And perhaps we will gather on Tuesdays and Fridays at the market and share in this glorious world where mulch brings lives together.