War, Peace, Farming, and Art

Returning to civilian life after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, a growing group of veterans find refuge through art and farming. Republished from Fresh Dirt Ithaca.

Nathan Lewis in the greenhouse.
Photos by Lauren DeCicca.

In a humid greenhouse on the backroads of Trumansburg, Nathan Lewis, a 28-year old veteran of the Iraq war, weaves through a maze of of tables, hoses, and water tanks, pointing out the various plants he and other members of the Veterans’ Sanctuary are cultivating this year—chives, licorice, a hardy citrus tree, a hardy kiwi, a curling willow.

It’s an odd selection for upstate New York, but the veterans, who get most of their plants by donation, fill pools of water in the greenhouse to keep the air humid for the nonnative species. Despite their efforts, they can’t seem to solve their mouse problem, which raises the question: How does a peaceful, antiwar group like this one deal with pests?

“My friend John said to ask them nicely to leave,” Lewis says. “After a while, I’m inclined to stomp on them.”

The Veterans’ Sanctuary, which was set up to help soldiers returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan acclimate to civilian life, is a recent addition to the list of project partners at Cornell’s Center for Transformative Action. Located in an Italianate house on a hill overlooking the village of Trumansburg, the sanctuary endeavors to create a new model for healing from war trauma—one that involves peer support, reconnection with nature through farming, and a connection to self-expression through art. Continue reading

Advertisements

A Poem for Peace

Thank you to guest contributor Robert Hicks from St. Catharines, Ontario, for this lovely contribution to our peaceful food efforts!

there is as much hunger for peace in this world
as there is for bread.
war
 starves us all.

there is as much love in the home of your enemy
as there is in your own.
love unites us all.

there is as much need for understanding
in this world as there is for forgiveness.
reconciliation can save us all.

to satisfy the worlds hunger for peace
we must feed ourselves with good judgment,
we must feed our governments with good advice,
and we must feed all others with tolerance, goodwill, compassion and respect.

we must make our voices more powerful
than the most powerful weapon on earth.

we must and we can make peace now!   

Wartime Food Propaganda: Militarizing the Home Economy

In my explorations of peace and food, I’ve become aware of a whole era and subject matter that we’ve hitherto overlooked… wartime food propaganda.  The following is a series of posters from (mostly) North America during the First and Second World Wars.  I won’t say much, except that I find the language incredibly potent, the links between war and food outrageous, and the fear-mongering unconscionable.  And Victory Gardens are precursors to the modern-day community garden.  Just saying.

Continue reading