We are hungry… We are hungry for not only food but friendships, to belong to people that understand us, to love and to be loved, to be able to contribute to something meaningful, experience personal growth, and have a place to call home.
Ever since my wife Andrea and I spent a year overseas in service to the people of eSwatini, we have had a hunger for something more in our lives. We were honored to work alongside individuals who had a passion for helping their neighbor. An overwhelming passion that I had never encountered before and can only aspire to now. I saw people who worked tirelessly for the benefit of those in need around them with a seemingly reckless perseverance and irrepressible enthusiasm. I feel a relentless gravitational pull, an incessant yearning to take the things I learned there and contextualize them in my life today.
So, I look around our neighborhood at 8th and Lee in Oklahoma City and I see people who are hungry. The statistics are stunning. Oklahoma is the fifth hungriest state in the nation. One in four Oklahoma children fight back hunger pangs every day and Oklahoma ranks as one of the ten worst states for food insecurity among seniors.
But it is not just a lack of food that challenges us. Although most of us have plenty, our bodies are hungry for wholesome and nutritious food. Oklahoma is ranked as the least healthy state in America by the United Health Foundation. The food that we eat today will impact our future health outcomes tomorrow. Healthy eating habits have been shown to reduce the risk factors associated with many chronic diseases, including heart disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
I also have a desire to preserve and shepherd our planet. To create energy for themselves, plants release oxygen and absorb carbon in their roots and the soil, thereby sequestering some of the excess CO2. Carbon-rich soil is beneficial for the earth, as it produces healthier land that retains more water and is therefore more resilient to droughts. As a result, biodiversity can prosper, allowing for an influx of beneficial organisms that can pollinate and fertilize plants, while causing the number of pests to decrease. With less chemicals needed to cultivate crops; the products grown may be richer in nutrients.
I am hungry for something more in life. I long for a day when no child goes hungry, when the sick are made well, and the earth is restored. I am tired of being inside all day behind a screen. I crave relationships with people who have different stories than I. I want to learn from them, even sit alongside in their pain, and joyfully exult in their triumphs.
All of this is why we are starting The 8th St. Urban Farm.
The story of the Bible is that we start in a beautiful garden and we end up in a splendid city. We are placing ourselves directly at the intersection of these ideas. We are literally planting a garden in the city. I invite you to come along. I think we can do great things when do them together. Even if it's just one small seed at a time.
- Evan Mosshart