When I was single and living in the city, I never thought about food and faith being connected except that I shouldn’t be a glutton and food shouldn’t become an idol in my life.
When I got married and moved to the country, I decided to raise a garden. It would make for healthier eating and I wanted to connect with my grandparents by learning to can and preserve the summer’s produce like they had done. I also decided it would be an organic garden, because who wants to eat chemicals?
I soon realized that living in the country made obvious God’s design on everything from the moon phases and seasons, to sunshine and rain, growth and dormancy. As I noticed these things, my faith in God’s sovereignty grew as I could see first hand how everything was so finely coordinated.
When our son, Preston, started talking about his interest in sustainable farming, all of that naturally made perfect sense on our food journey. Animals should be treated well in the environment God designed them to thrive within, not in feedlots or crammed into small, poorly ventilated spaces without sunshine and fresh air.
Food should be raised and consumed locally rather than burning fuel to travel many miles before getting to someone’s plate. The land should be treated in a way that nurtures it and gives it important nutrients so it can keep giving back to us.
As we learned more about this, the word “giving” came to mind over and over. We give to the animals and the land. They in turn give back to us the best and most healthy meat and produce. As consumers, we give to the local farmers in turn for them giving us healthy food that was treated the way God designed.
The concept of giving is so very Biblical and it’s what connected the dots for me on a deeper and more spiritual level. It’s why Preston co-founded Marksbury Farm Market, a local processing plant and butcher shop, to serve our community. It’s why we partnered with Chef William Hawkins to create The Bluebird, a farm-to-table restaurant in our town. It’s why we’ve participated with our friend John-Mark Hack in the start up of the Local Food Association to work on behalf of local food growers. It’s why I continue to raise a garden and enjoy canning and preserving food during the summer.
Aside from all that, there is the spiritual act of “going to the garden.” For me, it is nearly a sacred time. It’s one of the special places where I pray and listen to God. And there’s something about getting my hands in the dirt. It’s when I feel the most grounded.
In the bible, we often see Jesus going to the garden to pray. I’m not a Biblical scholar, but just maybe the garden reminds him most of his heavenly home and that’s why he seeks refuge there to be with the Father. I have never been to heaven, so I can’t say for sure, but I do know my garden is my own little piece of heaven on earth.
Angela Correll: Grounded
Angela Correll is the author of Grounded, a farm-lit novel set in Kentucky. She is also the co-owner of the Bluebird, a farm-to-table restaurant, promoting local food produced in a humane and natural way, as well as a shop, selling handcrafted goat milk soap. She lives on a farm with her husband, Jess, and an assortment of cattle, horses, goats and chickens.
Photos by Jason Asa McKinley. Used with permission.