“I am my best self at Anathoth.” -Angel Woodrum
“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act…Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land” Psalm 37:3-9 ESV
I had the opportunity to sit down with one of Anathoth’s season-long apprentices, Angel Woodrum, this week. We talked about spirituality, dreams, and the pursuit of farming. Angel has been investing her time, energy, and heart into Anathoth since 2015. Her journey with the garden began while she was a student at Georgetown College. Angel recalled her first invitation to spend spring break at Anathoth during her sophomore year, “I was a vegetarian in college, and thought they [Anathoth] killed animals, so I was like, ‘that wouldn’t work out.’”
Throughout undergrad Angel explored environmental philosophy, and began to develop an interest in farming. After learning Anathoth does not, in fact, raise animals Angel agreed to spend the spring break of her senior year in Cedar Grove. “I was driving through North Carolina with one of my mentors, and I told her, ‘I just want to live in the trees and farm in North Carolina,’ and it was during that conversation that I felt like she gave me permission to think about living out my dreams.” Instead of applying to Graduate and PhD programs that left her wrestling with anxiety, Angel began embracing her desire to pursue farming, causing a peace that transcends all understanding to fill her spirit.
In the same way vetch covers the fields in winter, strawberries are harvested in spring, and tomatoes enjoy the summer heat, Scripture details the seasons of our lives as children of God. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 KJV). Angel’s first invitation to spend the week at Anathoth came at a time when she was not yet a Christian, and her passion for farming was only just beginning to bloom. “At that point, my vocational and theological identity wasn’t developed yet.” Though God’s vastness makes our Creator a wonderful mystery, hindsight lends itself to a better understanding of the workings of the Supernatural. God realized a dream in Angel’s heart to farm and live in the trees of North Carolina in the summer of 2015 when she became one of Anathoth’s adult summer interns.
There is magic in living out a calling God has placed within us. Delighting in our God-honoring dreams is life giving. Anathoth’s atmosphere has altered Angel’s outlook on having healthy community. “We are created by a loving force that wants us to love,” and “I felt rooted and cared for as family [at Anathoth] by Julia, Joy and Bob, Charlotte, and Chas. Anathoth reminds me people need to be around other people because there is something to gain from other people. We can be better empathizers, communicators, and all around better people living in community.” Interning and becoming an apprentice at the garden has allowed Angel to understand gifts in herself that she doesn’t see in other places. “I’m normally a pretty cynical and skeptical person, but at Anathoth I feel more positive,” Angel shared, “I am my best self at Anathoth.”
Some of Angel’s Favorites:
Shakshuka: Eggs Nestled in Sautéed Greens
Adapted from Once Upon a Chef. Serves 4-6
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 small yellow onions (or 1 medium), peeled and diced
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 bell pepper (red, orange or yellow), diced
- 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, with juices
- 2 cups finely chopped greens, such as Swiss chard, kale, or spinach, tough ribs removed, gently packed
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 6 eggs
- Handful chopped cilantro
- In a large ovenproof skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, uncovered, about 8 minutes, until soft. Add the spices, 1-1/4 teaspoons of salt, sugar, and tomatoes. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened.
- Add the chopped greens and cream to the sauce. Continue cooking, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the greens are wilted, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, set an oven rack in the top position and preheat the broiler.
- Remove skillet from the heat. Using a spoon, make 6 wells/indentations in the sauce. Crack an egg into each well, then spoon a bit of sauce over each egg white (to contain them and help them cook faster than the yolks), without disturbing the yolks. Sprinkle the eggs with the remaining salt, and then sprinkle feta around the eggs. Set the pan back on the stove over low heat and cover with a lid. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until egg whites are mostly set but still translucent on top. (Check frequently towards the end as cook time may vary)
- Remove the lid; transfer skillet to the oven. Broil until the eggs are cooked to your taste, about 1 minute for runny yolks.
Theme for English B
By Langston Hughes (1949)
The instructor said,
Go home and write
a page tonight.
And let that page come out of you–
Then, it will be true.
I wonder if it’s that simple?
I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem. I went to school there, then Durham, then here to this college on the hill above Harlem.
I am the only colored student in my class.
The steps from the hill lead down into Harlem, through a park, then I cross St. Nicholas, Eighth Avenue, Seventh, and I come to the Y, the Harlem Branch Y, where I take the elevator
up to my room, sit down, and write this page:
It’s not easy to know what is true for you or me
at twenty-two, my age. But I guess I’m what
I feel and see and hear, Harlem, I hear you:
hear you, hear me–we two–you, me, talk on this page.
(I hear New York, too.) Me–who?
Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love. I like to work, read, learn, and understand life. I like a pipe for a Christmas present,
or records–Bessie, bop, or Bach.
I guess being colored doesn’t make me not like
the same things other folks like who are other races. So will my page be colored that I write?
Being me, it will not be white.
But it will be
a part of you, instructor.
You are white–
yet a part of me, as I am a part of you.
Sometimes perhaps you don’t want to be a part of me.
Nor do I often want to be a part of you. But we are, that’s true!
As I learn from you,
I guess you learn from me– although you’re older–and white– and somewhat more free.
This is my page for English B.