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La Vista Celebrates Autumn Equinox September 23rd, 2014

B6On Saturday, September 20, thirty people gathered at La Vista to learn about the fall Monarch migration and to celebrate the beginning of autumn.

To introduce themselves, participants told about the last time they spotted a Monarch. Maxine Pohlman, Director of the Oblate Ecological Initiative at Godfrey said, “We learned much about one another, our country or state of origin, and the presence and absence of Monarchs in our areas. Our sharing whetted our appetites for viewing the YouTube video “Plight of the Monarchs”, a twenty minute informative presentation filmed in central Illinois. We became aware of the threats to the endangered phenomenon of the annual Monarch migration, such as habitat loss, use of pesticides, and disappearance of the valuable milkweed plant.”

She added, “Next we headed outside to a patch of milkweed that has been cordoned off and allowed to grow throughout the season. As we stood there listening to a reading about the Monarch, one beautiful butterfly showed up to delight us – right on cue!”

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Oblate Garden Featured in the Washington Post September 23rd, 2014


Gail Taylor, farmer on the Oblate property in Washington, DC

An article in the Sunday Washington Post featured the garden at the Oblate Headquarters in Washington in a piece on the DC Urban Agriculture bill under consideration by the City Council.

Roberto De Jesus Silva OMI, our visitor from Brazil, is featured in the photo attached to the article and has been a regular volunteer with the Saturday group.

Read the article here.


JPIC Report Fall/Winter 2014 Issue Now Available On-Line September 17th, 2014

JPIC-Report-logoThe Fall/Winter 2014 issue of JPIC Report is now available on line as a PDF. It will soon be available in print form.

Please contact Mary O’Herron in the JPIC Office if you want to be added to the mailing list.

You can find all issues of JPIC Report on this website in the Resources section. (Download a PDF of the latest issue)


Corn from White Earth Indian Reservation Grows in Washington, DC! September 11th, 2014


Bear Island Flint corn seed from the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota produced this ear of corn grown in Washington, DC

Corn from the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota was planted in the garden at the Oblate headquarters in Washington, DC by farmer, Gail Taylor, and has yielded its fruit! Aware of the work of Winona LaDuke, the well-known Native American activist who lives and works on the White Earth Reservation, to preserve native seeds, Gail has been ordering seed for the garden at 391 from The White Earth Land Recovery project, although she wasn’t aware of the Oblate mission presence at White Earth.

The mission of the White Earth Land Recovery Project, which LaDuke founded, is “to facilitate recovery of the original land base of the White Earth Indian Reservation, while preserving and restoring traditional practices of sound land stewardship, language fluency, community development, and strengthening our spiritual and cultural heritage.” LaDuke is also the Executive Director of Honor the Earth, where she works on a national level to advocate, raise public support, and create funding for frontline native environmental groups.

We are delighted to have corn from this special place growing on Oblate land in Washington. It is also nice that the mission to save native agricultural heritage is alive in both places.


Gail Taylor, the farmer at the Oblate property in Washington, DC working in the garden.

Urge a Yes Vote on the Urban Ag and DC Food Security Bill of 2014 September 8th, 2014


The Garden at 391 Michigan Ave., NE at the Oblate headquarters in Washington, DC

If you live in Washington, DC, please join us in supporting the Urban Agriculture and DC Food Security Bill of 2014. The legislation is moving through the City Council this month, and your voice is needed!

DC City Council Member David Grosso, who spent time visiting the Garden at 391 last April, introduced this legislation, with the idea of building on the legacy of the urban farming act of 1986 and the DC Healthy Schools Act of 2010. This bill takes those initiatives a step further by opening up more public and private land to grow healthy food. Passage of the Urban Agriculture bill is very important as a way to develop local food growing capacity.

Gail Taylor, the farmer of the lower field at the Oblate headquarters in Washington, DC has been building the soil and productivity on the city plots that make up Three Part Harmony Farm for the last 3 years, but she and her fellow farmers need these policy changes to take the next step to really grow (in so many different ways!).

Please get involved in this brief grassroots effort to make sure the City Council knows how important this issue is to residents of DC.

Contact the Chairman and members of the DC City Council Finance and Revenue Committee. They are currently in the mark up phase of the bill.

Please feel free to use these points as a guide:

“Hi, My Name is:

I live in Ward:

I’m calling/ emailing to let you know that the D.C. Urban Agriculture and Food Security Act of 2014 is an important piece of legislation for our city and that I hope it will be passed soon.

• The Act encourages private, District landowners to lease their land for agricultural purposes and encourages urban farming on unused city owned land in response to problems of blighted property.

• The Act responds to the District’s continued struggle to address chronic hunger amongst residents with a local solution: encouraging urban farmers to donate a portion of their produce to District-based food banks and shelters.

• The Act enables urban farmers to sell their produce both on and off the leased land, bringing easy, fresh food access to neighborhoods across the city, including those currently identified as food deserts.

Thank you!”


Please write or call:

Thank Grosso and Cheh for their leadership, and the other supporters of the bill as well:

Thanks to Three Part Harmony Farm for the information in this post. For more information on Three Part Harmony Farm, visit: http://threepartharmonyfarm.org


Catholic Rural Life Expands Lay Leadership Training Program August 14th, 2014

LifeinChriststudiesAfter being tested and tweaked for more than three years, Catholic Rural Life’s Life in Christ is ready to expand. The Diocese of Des Moines will be the first new diocese to implement the lay leadership program. The program will now be present in three different rural dioceses in three different states. The Oblate JPIC Office is a member of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, and encourages interested Oblates to contact the coalition to learn more about the lay leadership training program.

The initiative, which has operated as a pilot program in the Dioceses of Winona and Sioux Falls since 2011, aims to equip laymen and women in rural dioceses with the knowledge and ability to lead small groups in their parishes. Life in Christ emphasizes an engagement with the entirety of the Catholic faith, including Scripture, the Catechism, and papal encyclicals, and seeks to ultimately revitalize the faith of Catholics in rural America in the spirit of the New Evangelization.

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