Growing Awareness Urban farm is possible because it is a collaborative project. We rely on a combination of work teams, consistent volunteers, part-time, and full time staff to get the job done. It seems that the compost always needs attention, the plants need watering, and the greenhouses and other grounds need maintaining. It is a challenging delight to work with many people throughout the seasons, to hear their stories, and to exchange knowledge and wisdom gained from gardening and life experiences.
I, Morgan Attema, have been titled as the manager of the urban farm. I am a transplant from the fertile soil and corn fields of Iowa; I grew up on an acreage in the midst of the rural mid-west. I spent most of my childhood days in the haymow watching and playing with the kittens, bottle feeding lambs, and helping my dad glean hay from our neighboring ditches. I thought we were normal to have a huge garden in our backyard and to eat canned applesauce and salsa and fresh frozen veggies and beef all winter long. I attended a small Christian college in Iowa where my dad is still a professor, and my years between graduating and taking the job here at ECM have been very transient. I attribute the wander-blood in me to a combination of the farm life I love so much, and that I learned to appreciate camping and road trips from crib-hood. I was taught early on that education and learning are to be treasured.
Hours spent walking around Cairo, a 20 hour cattle truck ride from the Ethiopia/Kenya boarder to Nairobi, and conversations and observations with people from across the world have shaped me. I travel to learn—to learn and expand my understanding and relationship with God, his people, and his creation.
I have found another family and home here at ECM; the diversity of work and people involved in this urban ministry are comparable in more ways than one, to traveling and living in underdeveloped countries. I have found here a freedom and appreciation for asking tough questions, and wrestling with the paradoxes life presents. I love the combination of a non-profit ministry setting and the gardening/greenhouse; in many ways my ideal job! Because of the seasonal nature of my job and the ebb and flow of funding here at the ministry, I am able to take an extended leave for the months of July, August, and September (2012) to visit various organizations and individuals in India, Bangladesh, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. It is my hope that ECM will also benefit from the perspective and wisdom I gain from visiting and traveling around this area of the world. While I am gone, others will be filling in on some of my daily tasks, but involvement at Growing Awareness will be at a minimum while I am away. Thanks for understanding!