“The very essence of romance is uncertainty.”
― Oscar Wilde
We went to PR to visit my grandparents and to reconnect with the land I left when I was 11-years-old. I have always felt a connection to the island, and I went to share the history of my ancestors with my beloved. My grandparents own a beach house in Rio Grande on a bay called “Las Picuas.” I grew up visiting the beach, combing the shores for shells and romping around in the reef tide pools. I made friends with the urchins, starfish, and crabs. I helped my family collect coconuts. I watched my uncle fish. I cleaned up the beach with my grandmother, Mama Alicia. She and my grandfather, Papa Victor, built a home together here for their family. It is a sacred place. Jamie and I spent the night here during our visit. We danced together in the candlelight, the bohío adorned with conch shells and dried corals.
In the morning, Jamie cut us coconuts and we walked along the beach, the ocean calm and placid, seagulls and pelicans jet diving into the waves for their breakfast fish. This “paraíso”, as my grandfather calls it, is surrounded by mangroves and a backdrop of cloud-crowned mountains belonging to El Yunque National Rainforest.
For years, I’ve been uncertain about my return to Puerto Rico. I’ve felt a deep desire to live on the land in Picua, to care for the house my grandparents built. I sat watching a small white boat, belonging to an elderly fisherman, bob at the edge of the reef. I felt wealthy in spirit, all possibilities opened in that moment. I closed my eyes to meditate, inhaling with complete gratitude. Jamie joined me as we sat in stillness for several minutes. Our meditation over, Jamie went into the water with the coconut. “One last dip, with a sip!” he called to me brightly. I joined him.
Floating in the shallow crystalline waters, I drifted gently in the tiny waves. Jamie held up the coconut and said, “The last sip is for you, amada (beloved),” pressing it on my mouth a little too hard. I laughed unsure of what he was doing. Amused, I jokingly splashed in his face. Just a baby splash. He gave me the very last sip, tapping on the coco. An emerald ring slipped out onto the edge. I grabbed it excitedly and slipped it on to my finger. A crackerjack coconut surprise!
He said to me, “From the banks of the Río Grande in Texas, to the beach of Río Grande in Puerto Rico, I am more in love with you than ever. Will you marry me?” And I said, “Sí!”, kicking giddily in the sea.
That night, we celebrated our engagement at an amazing restaurant in San Juan with my half sister Issa who I haven’t seen in 19 years! We danced and laughed and Jamie continued to practice his Spanish. November 1, 2013, a day of goodness and cheers!
Who knows what our future will be? Only the Divine can tell…
If uncertainty is truly the essence of romance, then bring on the surprises! I want to gasp and giggle with my partner in life’s every day romance. Happily ever… every day. Yes, please. Thank you. I do!
If you know any youngsters who are yearning for the country life, then here is their chance to get their hands dirty and grow organic produce that will benefit many people in our community. This year Essex County 4-H’s farm program has expanded from the community garden on Miller Street to an additional… Continue Reading →
Montclair Community Farms is looking for excited, engaged youth ages 11-17 ready to learn about sustainable agriculture and healthy food production March-August 2013. We are also seeking college interns to serve as lead farmers during the growing season.
We will be farming in Montclair and in Irvington with Essex County 4-H Youth Development. We will learn about raising chickens, growing produce to donate to senior residences and emergency relief programs, and we will sell eggs and salsa at the farmers’ market!
Anyone interested in volunteering should contact us today! Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
In 2011, an inaugural local farming project for youth to grow and sell vegetables at affordable prices was created on Miller Street. With its expansion in 2012 to the Montclair Historical Society at 108 Orange Road, we are now called Montclair Community Farms. During 2012, we engaged local teens in growing nearly five hundred pounds of vegetables in a 2,000-square foot lot owned by HOMECorp. We donated the vegetables to local emergency food programs, low-income seniors as well as being sold well below market rate at a farm stand at Montclair Child Development Center on Fulton Street.
Montclair Community Farms was founded with a seed grant from Partners for Health Foundation. The Foundation once again funded the youth farming endeavor last year, and as the project expands to a new site, so does support from other institutions. This year, we’ve received grant award funding from Garden Club of New Jersey and Montclair Rotary Foundation, which will be used for seeds and supplies at the new farm site at the Montclair Historical Society.
Farming the Montclair Historical Society plot will quadruple the land to be tended by youth farmers, and Montclair Community Farms seeks young people, ages 11-17, to participate in the growing project from May through October. Youth interested in learning more about the opportunity and receiving an application, which must be returned by February 28, should email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our mission at Montclair Community Farms is to empower youth to grow healthy, affordable, and sustainable communities. We are a collaboration of Essex County 4-H, HOMECorp, Montclair Health Department, Montclair Historical Society, Montclair State University, TerraNoble Design, and United Way of Northern New Jersey. Vegetables grown by the youth are donated to senior housing sites and emergency feeding programs. This year, the youth famers will also tend chickens and make salsa from harvested tomatoes, and we will sell the eggs and salsa locally.
Follow Montclair Community Farms on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MontclairCommunityFarms, and join other local residents and businesses in supporting the project by making a donation to HOMECorp, 1 Woodland Avenue, Monclair, NJ 07042, with a note that the donation is designated for Montclair Community Farms.
I recently attended a beautiful Full Bellies harvest feast benefitting SWAG Urban Farm Project in Newark, NJ. The event was organized to raise funds to continue the program into its 3rd year of teaching youth how to grow food organically and serving the community real, healthy food. Elder Simon and Alexandra Payne, founders and collaborators, were there to welcome guests with a huge smiles and wonderment at the bounty of fresh food volunteers and community members grew during the 2012 season (1,000 lbs. so far!) Speaker Stephen Ritz of Green Bronx Machine was there to share in the enthusiasm filling the air and to encourage us all to continue our path toward healthy, sustainable communities.
From public schools and charters school, businesses and faith-based organizations, SWAG Farm is doing its best to raise awareness for hunger justice in Newark by including community members from all walks of life. SWAG is now trying to raise $4000 for their project at IOBY (In Your Own Backyard). They’ve raised a little over half, and need your help to raise the rest! Give the gift of real food to the community this holiday by contributing to the cause or by volunteering. To find out how to volunteer please contact Chantrice Barnes at email@example.com.
More about SWAG: Continue Reading →
Montclair, New Jersey—On Saturday October 27th, we held our first annual “Spoon-A-Thon: Seasonal Soup Celebration” for Food Day. Local restaurants served up soups made fresh from local ingredients. Visitors sampled the steamy soups from compostable cups and voted for their favorite with stones. The participating restaurants were Fitzgerald’s 1928, Let’spoon, Terra Café at Isabel Rose, Uptown 596, and Comfort Food Kitchen. Fitzgerald’s won the competition with their exquisite butternut squash soup.
Montclair Community Farms is a collaboration of Essex County 4-H, HOMECorp, Montclair Health Department, Montclair State University, TerraNoble Landscape Design and United Way of Northern New Jersey. The Montclair Community Farms collaboration was established in 2010 as a youth farming program at Miller Street Farm to teach teens how to grow and sell vegetables. Montclair Community Farms launched a 3,000 square ft. site at the Montclair Historical Society, and the Spoon-A-Thon was a fun “friendraiser” event to get people connected to the urban farming cause. Continue Reading →
The Montclair Historical Society (MHS) and Montclair Community Farms will celebrate the expansion of Montclair Community Farms with a “Spoon-A-Thon” event to be held Saturday, October 27 at the Montclair Historical Society, 108 Orange Road, Montclair. The event will run from noon until 4:00 p.m. and will have something for everyone. The suggested donation for adults is $5 and $10 for a family. The rain date is Sunday, October 28th.
As live music plays, attendees can participate in the tasting and judging of delicious seasonal soups provided by local restaurants and caterers. They can take tours of the historic homes on the grounds of the Montclair Historical Society, as well as tours of the new farm and chicken coop areas. There will be a cooking demonstration in the Israel Crane House as period soup is made in the open hearth kitchen there. Kids can enjoy “Stone Soup” story time. There will also be a slide show about Montclair Community Farms and information about growing organic produce, raising chickens and more. Restaurants participating at this event will be: Fitzgerald’s 1928, Comfort Food Kitchen, Terra Café, and Let’spoon, and Ora at Uptown 596. Continue Reading →