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

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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.

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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

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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!”

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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.

Click here to read more »


Catholic Sisters Release “Earth as our Home” Booklet August 11th, 2014

earth home image with credit - low resToo often when we hear the word ‘house’ we only think of a physical building and its rooms. But what if we began to think of Earth as our house – with various rooms – what would we need to do to make this ‘house’ a true ‘home?’ The Catholic Sisters for a Healthy Earth have prepared a reflection booklet on the various rooms of a house, placing each room and its activities into the broader context of our Earth-home.

Catholic Sisters for a Healthy Earth is made up of representatives from congregations of women religious from the upper Mississippi Valley in eastern Iowa and southwestern Wisconsin. The group’s coordinator, Joy Peterson, PBVM explains, “Our intention is to take a new look at how everything we do, no matter where we are, is interconnected and tied to the well-being of all living things.” The booklet includes suggestions of simple actions for families to take in order to live more sustainably and walk more gently on Earth.

You can get a free download of the booklet at the Sisters of St. Francis website.


Human Rights Mentioned in Proposed UN Sustainable Development Goals July 23rd, 2014

united-nations-headquarters_smCivil society welcomes human rights language in the open Working Group (OWG) outcome, while continuing to call for a rights-based approach towards development justice.

The Mining Working Group at the UN has reported through VIVAT that they congratulate the members and co-chairs of the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on the completion of their work and their adoption by consensus of an outcome that includes seventeen proposed goals and an introductory chapeau. The group said: “In particular, we celebrate the mention of the human right to water in paragraph 7 of the chapeau, as an essential entry point for further work on ensuring a rights-based approach to development. With the Blue Planet Project and more than 300 civil society partners, we advocated long and hard for those two small words – “and water” – to be added to the text, and we applaud this achievement on the part of the governments that championed this language: Palau, Nauru, Papua New Guinea; Italy and Spain; Bolivia, Argentina, and Ecuador; and Uruguay.”  Please see the OWG Press Release MWG

For more information on the Mining Working Group please visit miningwg.com

 


Carl Kabat,OMI Protests Nuclear Weapons in Kansas City on July 4 July 5th, 2014

Our thanks go to Jane Stoever of PeaceWorks, Kansas City for this article on the anti-nuclear protest action by Oblate Father Carl Kabat on July 4th.

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Spray-painted entry sign at the new federal nuclear weapons facility in Kansas City, Missouri

Carl Kabat, 80, a priest in the Order of Mary Immaculate, spray-painted the National Security Campus entry sign at 10 a.m. July 4. This is Carl’s fourth consecutive “interdependence action” in July at the so-called campus, the new home for the Kansas City Plant (in Kansas City, Mo.), where the National Nuclear Security Administration this year will begin making and procuring non-nuclear parts for nuclear weapons. In a phone call to friends at 10:03 a.m., Carl said, “This damned plant has got to be closed somehow, some way.” He chose red paint to signify blood, he said, and after painting was sitting alone by the huge sign, awaiting arrest.

The new $687 million facility replaces the Kansas City Plant at Bannister Federal Complex, also in Kansas City, Mo., where the federal government has documented about 900 toxins–the legacy from radioactive and other substances used at the old plant. The Kansas City Plant makes parts such as wiring, fuses, guidance systems, security devices, and the trigger for nuclear weapons.

It is expected that Carl will spend the weekend in the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department’s holding cell; will come before a judge via TV court on Monday, July 7; will be freed; and will be told to return to Kansas City for a hearing, where he’ll speak truth to power.

About noon on July 4, lawyer Henry Stoever took pictures of Carl’s handiwork, but by 6 p.m., when Jane Stoever went for more pictures, the sign was under cover. Both Stoevers were warned to leave or be charged with trespass.

In a statement Carl prepared before an earlier July 4 resistance action, Carl said, “One of our Minuteman III’s could kill approximately three million of our sisters and brothers. … We have perfected the ‘art’ of killing and burning. … Four Minuteman III’s could kill 12 million of our sisters and brothers. … The opinion of the International Court in 1995 states that nuclear weapons are a Crime Against Humanity!”

In 1980, Kabat became one of the first Plowshares, following Isaiah’s mandate to “beat swords into plowshares.” He has spent about 17 years in prison for resisting nuclear weapons. In his short phone call this July 4, Carl signed off, “God bless! Peace on you!”

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Carl Kabat’s paint covered over by officials

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