Grassroots Gardening: Rituals for Sustaining Activism

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Nation Books, 2007 - Gardening - 174 pages
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In May 2003, Donna Schaper wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, The Heretic in the Hibiscus, that told the story of her rejection from Coral Cables Garden Club because she was too liberal. As it turned out, the ladies of the club feared that she would do what she had done at the Miami church where she was minister, namely bring in blacks and gays to membership and participation. In response to her article, dozens of garden societies across America contacted Schaper, inviting her to join their societies. Schaper argues that people who garden find a ritual way to sustain activism. Dirt touching, seeding, and harvesting rituals keep radicals sane, energetic, and positive. It is more than weeding--and is also just weeding. Many assume gardening is for people with country homes. On the contrary, gardening is a great passion for many progressive, political, communal people. Thus, gardening is a ritual for radicals--for urbans, for nomads, and for anybody who wants to stay sufficiently angry, humble, and hopeful to sustain an activist life.

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About the author (2007)

Donna Schaper is a life long gardener, granddaughter of a strawberry and potato farmer in upstate New York. She has written many books and publishes frequent essays in NEWSDAY, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, on NPR, NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER, CHRISTIAN CENTURY and many others. She is the winner of an ACLU ‚€œCourage Award.‚€? She is currently a Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. She is chair of the Interfaith Clergy Dialogue, an affiliate of the National Conference for Christians and Jews.

From 1993-2000 Dr. Schaper served as the western Massachusetts executive in which position she was responsible for supporting 125 United Church of Christ congregations. She had strong urban ministry experience in Chicago, Philadelphia and Miami. She was one of the first woman trained by Saul Alinsky in the 1970s and she was the executive director of Chicago‚€™s Urban Academy. She was also an associate chaplain at Yale University. Rev. Schaper completed her theological studies at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, PA and the University of Chicago Divinity School. Her Doctor of Ministry degree is from Hartford Theological Seminary.

She is married to Dr. Warren Goldstein, chair of the department of history at the University of Hartford. They have three adult children Isaac, Jacob, and Katie.

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