by Elizabeth Grams
Photos: Ellen Earhart, Sophia Tragesser
The rhythmic buzzing of cicadas punctures the quiet of a summer Saturday morning. On the dewy grass, a crowd of 15 gathers to help set up the weekly farmstand for Praise Harvest, the community’s urban farm. After praying together, the volunteers spread out to gather the harvest from the vacant lots that God and hard work have turned into teeming plots. There are purple, orange and yellow carrots, green peppers, okra, red and green tomatoes, eggplant, banana peppers and greens. They wash the produce and lay everything out on tables beneath a tent canopy. Neighbors pull over in their cars and holler to ask what kinds of greens are available.
Bouquets of zinnias rest on a red-and-white checkered tablecloth, alongside a binder filled with pictures of sheet cakes and pull-apart cupcake cakes that Abby Earhart can bake to order. Children stop by on their bikes to say hello, then visit the chicken coop or play on an empty lot. Neighbors browse through the greens and chat. The morning light brightens, and the conversational hum rises. Old friends recognize one another and introductions are made. Some of the volunteers need to move on to other Saturday projects, but not before grabbing a runt cucumber or banana pepper and crunching into it—fresh and delicious!