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Peace from the Soil

By Emmanuel Karisa Baya*,
Farmer and Co-founder and Director of Magarini Children Centre and Organic Demonstration Farm, Kenya

I hear the cry of the mankind. The sadness of our cry. It is clear we human beings are in a dilemma. As much as we have developed tools for solving conflict among ourselves, there remains a thorn deep in the flesh of our belonging and community.

There are those who cry because they have lost loved ones in wars, tribal clashes and political conflicts. The snow or rains are too much for some who are displaced by flooding and yet others are dying from these excesses. Still others are dying from the hunger of drought. And then there is poverty, overtly brutalizing the lives of people in many areas of the world.

 It’s clear, however, those fortunate enough to live in affluence and peace and those now condemned to suffer amidst the terrors of war and conflict are all on the same road—so long as we live on planet Earth. If not war, then changes in nature’s climatic patterns will ultimately overtly bind our destinies together. We arrived here because the focus and goals of our lives shifted in an unbalanced way from we to me, from us to I.

Where is the peace we each long for and how can it be obtained? Where have we lost love and care for each other—and how can we rediscover it? How can I feel for another—if I am afraid of my own emotions or for my own security?  Where does my loneliness come from? Why am I afraid of my own humanity? It is because I have lost connection with my true nature, with the humus of the soil which informs and sustains our human being.

The soil is communicating to mankind in many ways but very few humans feel its pain or hear its messages to us. When those of us who feel and hear the messages of the soil within our own bodies and communicate this back to mankind, our voices are ignored or even shut down. Yet the soil has and will always be ready to provide the peace we seek. We need only amend our living styles to bring on-board and integrate care and love for the SOIL, NEIGHBOR, AND NATURE.  It is painful to see and know how we have lost this preciousness of peace that soil and nature can gift to us and our neighbors.

We people of the world are meant to live together, grow together as one community of diverse cultures. This entails caring for each other and protecting the soil and nature at large. This is my voice as a farmer, for the people and for the world. The soil speaks all the languages of human kind. It speaks the languages of all ecosystems underlying all earthly creation. Soil is the basic foundation of life. It is from and through intimacy with the soil that peace building and conflict resolution can organically take place among human beings and the womb of our earthly home.

Living together as a community of agricultural producers and consumers, the soil requires us to work together and support each other in acquiring health and safe food. This is made possible by coming together and sharing the organic ways of food production, sharing the importance of caring for and protecting the soil and nature at large. Eating together, too, then becomes a fulfillment of our responsibilities for living in community as human beings and the nurturing of a culture-of-life.

By doing this our hearts attune to and feel each other as human beings regardless of which community we are coming from. Caring for the soil is caring for the people. Not using chemicals in growing food and vegetables actually plants seeds of peace and love in the hearts of people. This is also one way of helping the soil to heal its wounds. And this conscious inclusion of the soil within the community-of-our-being brings sustainable peace among people.

When each takes another’s hand with love rather than judgment, and we walk together and work together towards peaceful living, then the soil is more self-sustaining because that is its nature. Then we reap the peace that comes with the joy of supporting one another, creating life-cycles of love and peace and unity that may not be broken. All people will benefit from investing in this sustainable and peaceful life.

Planting the seeds of peace in our hearts begins with how we grow our food, how we share the food among ourselves as people, how we put our hands into the soil and protect it with our hearts and care for it by working together in growing food for the community. People working together in sowing seed for food and eating together have the opportunity to solve their problems among themselves. As people care for the soil, the soil helps the people to feel each other and listen to each other through their hearts as they speak about issues affecting them in their homes. When these problems are shared, a peaceful environment is created as people discover inner peace and conflict live within and among us as an ecosystem, akin to the healthiness of living soil.

And because peace and conflict inevitably live within us as human beings, they also live within us like day and night. When people live in peace it means they choose to solve their conflict in a positive way. They have planted, nurtured and grown humbleness by working together, by harvesting together. This sharing of life together as community makes visible a need for and cultivates a high valuation of peaceful living. When we feel each other in this way, we feel the health of the soil with our hearts alive in our hands. We care for the soil with love so that we may have a good harvest. We choose not to use chemicals because they put people in conflict with the of the vitality of the soil that is needed to create the sustainable life of peace we desire.

Peace from the soil arrives when people from the same community view and respect the soil as a living organism deserving of the freedom and richness of its nurtured natural existence. Trees are likewise treated as partners in life for we as people cannot live without them.

As with the soil, protecting and caring for the trees and Nature at large makes the life of human beings more organic and natural, more naturally meaningful.  Our life as human beings is rightfully informed and shaped by the trees as trees know how to create and live peacefully as communities. This shows clearly how the soil speaks to us of who we are, and of our roots and our dreams and of our purpose in life. A human being can tap into the peaceful life of trees by protecting them and planting more into the soil.

We plant our seeds for food-growing with love and care too; this approach actually seeds a good harvest and brings people together in thanksgiving and singing and dancing in celebration of the health and security that safe and plentiful and tasty food brings.

These are the fruits of a philosophy of peace from the soil. They arrive as the processes and problems and conflicts of growing food together are solved using organic solutions. Listening for these soil and life enhancing solutions both avoids violence and promotes positive peace among those who live together in vigorous community mirroring the health of our soil. This is how we harvest peace from the soil.

(*With edits by J. Larry Glover, February 2017)

Follow the Magarini Children Center and Organic Demonstration Farm on FB here: https://www.facebook.com/Africa.Organic.Farming/
Follow Emmanuel on FB here: https://www.facebook.com/emmanuel.k.baya

Filmed in April 2019, while sitting on the soil, in the forest outside Santa Fe, NM. This is a potent description of Peace from the Soil creatively applied in a circumstance of escalating tensions.

What if…, “The soil speaks all the languages of human kind. It speaks the languages of all ecosystems underlying all earthly creation. Soil is the basic foundation of life.” — Emmanuel Karisa Baya. Join myself, Cheryl Slover-Linett (Leadfeather.org) and Emmanuel this Sunday, July 5th, 2020, at 11am MT, for a zoom call as we explore our relationships with soil as in-former and inspiration for our pandemic-times. Emmanuel is the co-founder and director of the Magarini Children Center and Organic Demonstration farm in rural Kenya where 300 mostly orphan children receive a formal and soil-based-education in Peace from the Soil.

This is part of Cheryl’s and my Nature on Zoom support series of calls where we will also soon be hosting our dear friend and author Robin Easton, soon as we can work out the technical details! Please contact me for the zoom link details.

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