Girls of Hope – The Sun-Gazette


I think it’s a matter of faith, actually. It seems to me that believers might want to explore some of the darker corners of the church to see if we have left any crumbs unattended, crumbs of commitment to be God’s people. What would Jesus do about Exeter’s neighbors in Tooleville and their plight? Are there tables to overturn? Fish and bread to share?

I get courage from a Methodist pastor, John Pitney, who lives in Oregon. I met him when we planned and hosted the Church and Land Forum in Fresno in 1992. John writes music about food and water, agricultural sustainability, farm size, gatherers broccoli, vertical integration and other atrocities of our food system, the inequitable distribution of land, resources and political power, the holiness of nature and yes, climate change. (You can listen to these songs on He preaches a relevant gospel. He makes people sing and think. This is my brother Sun.

He has this song, “Blue Heron Fly,” that hit my mind last week. This is a small farm in northern Washington that suffered a fire and huge setbacks after a thunderstorm, her friends. “Old John Deere, I’m going to miss you, you shouldn’t have died this way,” is the end line of the chorus, referring to the tractor that burned down with the barn.

But the verse that has moved me all week begins: “It is a simple act of courage to plant garlic in the fall. It helps me that he calls this simple act “Courage”, not faith, hope or love. A little later in the verse, he confesses to having planted his garlic “in the shade of the moon; the neighbors know I’m crazy anyway!

Then comes this sentence: “But if we stop believing, then our future has no wings.” He burns me with his truth. If we stop believing in our neighbors, in the village, in the power to share, in grace, in the beauty of the land, in the abundance of the land, if we stop believing in these things, we are wingless.

Hope demands these simple acts of anger and courage, his two beautiful daughters. In the name of our future, let’s give them space to run.

Trudy Wischemann is a writer at Lindsay. You can send him your garlic planting practices c / o PO Box 1374, Lindsay CA 93247 or visit and leave a comment there.

This column is not a press article but the opinion of the author and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette.


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