Plants for the People of Cali
The planting together of white sage, basil, and water melon represents the diversity of agriculture and cultures that flourish on a human-powered farm in Cali. The plants also reflect histories of the people of California.
The white sage plant is a sacred plant to many people. People use white sage heal themselves and relax. People also use white sage in spiritual ceremonies. It is the most sacred plant and the “everyday” plant to the Chumash people.These people are just one of the native coastal people of California.
Like the Chumash people, white sage’s native region is contemporary Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico. He likes almost desert like conditions with wonderful sparse rain conditions. That being said he strongly grows in the coastal redwood region of El Jardin.
While sweet basil and watermelon hail form other parts of the world, they provide important nutrients for the bodies of all people. Additionally, their flowers provide food and shelter for beneficial insects in our garden.
As far as I understand it, sweet basil arrived to California along the immigrants from the Mediterranean region of the world. (Portugal, Spain, France, Greece, Turkey, North Africa, etc.) In another part of the world, India, people use basil in religious ceremony. Sweet basil carries many nutrients and ceremonial power for those of us who use it. Important pollinators, such as bees, flutter towards the nectar of basil flowers, which maintains healthy biodiversity.
Finally, watermelon – wonderful watermelon seeds germinate in a little pot. The seeds await a life of love and support in El jardin. It is said that watermelon originated in Africa. Some people say watermelon arrived to this continent with the slave trade and/or European military presence. In Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca 1542 account of contemporary Southern and South Western USA, he mentions watermelon harvest amongst the indigenous population.
My grandfather consistently planted watermelons and ate watermelons. He always dreamed of delicious melons from his youth in Texas. Many of us remember the sweet juicy fruit with happiness. I plant watermelon in memory of my grandfather and sweet juicy fruit on hot summer days.
White sage grows for the people of this land. Basil grows for the people whose homeland is the Mediterranean, India or other regions where the people perceive the holiness of basil. Watermelon grows for Africa and for all us us that love sweet juicy fruit during those hot summer days! Our plants hold nutrients, histories, and memories for the many people who live in Cali.