Do the work to expect an increase

Published 10:12 pm Friday, April 6, 2018

By QuaWanna Bannarbie

Soil is on my mind. I am sure it is on the mind of gardeners and farmers in Suffolk also. When your purpose for digging in the dirt is that it will produce consumable fruit, you need the soil to be fertile. Soil fertility depends on the soil make-up. Soil requires several nutrients and minerals to ensure that your plants or crops will produce fruit. I have learned that rich soil is a combination of minerals and organic matter. As a result, my family and I have a small compost bin where we collect refuse that breaks down, and we add it to our garden bed.

We have a peach tree in the backyard that has not yet produced fruit that we can eat. Last year, there were about four, developing peaches on the tree. They were not edible. The peach tree is not in the garden bed. We prepare the garden for fruit by adding necessary components to its soil long before we plant seeds or seedlings. But for the fruit tree, we had not. We left it to produce on its own … until recently. We pruned the tree, and we purchased fertilizer spikes to add near the area where the tree is planted. The plant food that is in the spike releases nutrients into the soil that should help promote fruit. This got me thinking about the importance of soil to the production of consumable fruit. I paused to consider the work we apply to soil happens before we see the tree produce.

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Some weeks ago, I wrote a column titled “An environment for development.” Within that topic I urged us to “consider the community as the soil that provides the nutrients the families in Suffolk need to produce healthy fruit.” I have not been able to leave this topic of development. It is the season for planting, and I am a gardener. It is an important topic, because just like plants need the right nutrients, so do people. And vice versa.

Did you know that there are 17 nutrients that plants need to grow? Three of those are oxygen, carbon and hydrogen, supplied by air and water. The remaining nutrients are taken from the soil through the roots of the plants. That means that roughly 82 percent of the needed nutrients for healthy fruit are found in the soil. That means that our developing youth need at least 82 percent influence from the community to be productive citizens. Should we expect all 82 percent of that impartation, encouragement and influence to come from a single father raising his son or daughter alone? No. He needs community support.

So how do we make our community fertile? We have to be the living matter. We add living matter to the soil. Living matter is the active, chemically composed agents in soil that multiply. Living matter are the active people, working together in community, that multiply.

People often take the commandment from God in Genesis 1:28, “be fruitful and multiply” to refer to the demand for offspring. This is true. However, offspring is not just evident in progeny. Products, ideas, inventions, activities, improvements and the like are also a form of offspring. We have been charged to be active producers. Here are some ways you can do that in our community:

  • Participate in forums, city town hall gatherings, and registration for voters
  • Volunteer in the school system or local non-profit organizations
  • Mentor a young person or an entry-level professional
  • Donate items that you have not used that could help someone who needs them
  • Set up a monthly contribution to a charitable organization
  • Send your ideas to your local government officials about what matters to you
  • Start a new activity and involve others to participate with you

Because we placed the spikes in the ground near our peach tree, we are expecting an increase. Perhaps that is why they are called spikes. Consider the condition of the soil around you. The living matters. We make the difference in whether the harvest is ripe. If you want an increase, you have to do something. Be fruitful and multiply.

QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of Nonprofit Leadership and Management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Her children attend Suffolk Public Schools. Connect with her via Twitter @QNikki_Notes.