Getting lost in the deepest levels of the SF Public Library sometime in the early 1990’s, I looked down and saw a large red book with an enigmatic title like A Compendium of Wisdom. I pulled it off the low shelf, opened to a random page, and read the following:
The next day, I returned to the shelf, hoping to check out another bit of wisdom. The book was gone. I never saw it again, a kind of Zoltar moment (for those who get the reference).
Last week, Darcy and I saw an advanced screening of an extraordinary documentary, Common Ground. The film, brought to us by Big Picture Ranch, the team that made Kiss The Ground, will be released widely on Earth Day this year. As someone who loves life, taught film and believes film can change the world, I highly recommend you see this production as soon as you can. It gave me a much-needed feeling of hope, a motivating attitude that has been battered and in too short supply these days….
Common Ground helps us understand how our health (our number one), and the health and vitality of all living things on Earth, depends in large part upon the natural cultivation of healthy topsoil—a living matrix of organic matter that supports biodiverse plants and animals, strong root systems that resist erosion, and microbiomes that facilitate the sequestration of atmospheric carbon—a key to cooling the globe.
It occurred to me this morning that when we say, “I’m rooting for you,” we generally mean, “I support you; I’m on your side; I got your back.” I wondered if maybe the expression had something to do with roots themselves—how the roots support the plants and the trees, connecting imperceptibly to other vital ones in the matrix of life; how roots stabilize the topsoil, creating resilience....
When I checked the web, I found (coincidentally) that the term "rooting" comes from cattle, who “bellow.” I say coincidentally because regenerative farming also promotes a return to the natural practice of cattle grazing on the land and fertilizing it with their poop, a practice far superior to mechanical tilling, chemical fertilizing, and spraying poisonous, disease-causing insecticides and herbicides to engineer the success of risky, conventional GMO monocrops. Grazing cattle makes healthy roots; livestock root for us. And it’s time we abandon factory farms and root for them too.
At the end of last year, I felt a little depressed. It had been a hard year (or years) in many ways for so many of us. If the waves of Covid didn’t lay us low, news of ongoing war against Ukraine, in Yemen, etc… and a new war in Gaza, along with the inexplicable popularity of authoritarian leaders like 45, sure left me with a good deal of worry about how we would survive—not just 2024, but the years that followed. How can we possibly address the global issue of survival when so many domestic and international issues are fracturing us?
I believe Common Ground offers a viable answer to this question. In my most spiritual moments, when I was most humbled and seeking comfort and answers, I dropped to the ground and put my forehead on the earth. I smelled the sweet grass and living soil and wept. I wept, because I knew the Earth was hurting too.
As we remember every Earth Day, she is our mother, whose health makes possible the continuation of life on this planet. I believe there is a reason so many people from so many cultures and religions bow in the sacred moments; they prostrate themselves before God. And where do they do this? On the ground, a ground we share, a common ground. When we remember this shared and sacred source of life, we will be able to regenerate the soil that will save us, sequestering carbon, restoring biodiversity, and even creating rain!
And, as one of the most biodense crops on the planet, hemp is a major part of this regenerative future! So I will not give up hope. I will continue with Vital Hemp’s mission to produce and distribute the most comfortable, stylish, locally-made hemp clothing. And here is a call out to you:
If you work with a company looking for regenerative products for your promotional items, please consider a Vital Hemp tote, t-shirt, or hoodie. Let us know what you want. Let's cool the globe by making hemp products together!
I sometimes joke that writing these newsletters is the most enjoyable part of my job. Actually, the most enjoyable part is hempin’ someone out in person, sensing their joy when they try on a piece of Vital Hemp and instantly feel what I felt twenty-one years ago, when I had the same feeling: a more permeable connection with the world, as my skin breathed through hemp.
This year, I’m expanding my personal mission to share my most highly-developed skills (and gifts) with aligned businesses, organizations, and projects. As some of you know, I hold a Masters and Ph.D. in English from U.C. Berkeley, where I taught Literature, Composition, and Film History for many years. For decades, I’ve worked as a professional writer in various ways, writing music video and commercial treatments, screenplays, grant proposals, marketing copy, press releases and newsletters. So if you want support with writing, email me, please.
I believe that by supporting companies, organizations, and individuals with their writing, I will facilitate the meaningful sharing and receiving of vital stories—both the content and the heart. These stories, like the stories of those brave and determined farmers, researchers, and activists in Common Ground, will guide and shape our healthy future. They connect us like roots and mycellial networks, exchanging vital information so that our communities become united as a movement in the service of life on Earth.
We can achieve a future we want to inhabit and leave to future generations when we create it together, with reverence for the beauty and complexity of the Earth, a unique planet that already knows how to heal itself—and us, when we collaborate with it, letting it do so…and so it shall be.
As ever, thanks for being vital,
~Let Us Hemp You Out!