Welcome to Hani Abukar, Celeste’s Dream Garden Coordinator. Deep gratitude to Hannah White, 2021-22 St. Joseph Worker with Celeste’s Dream and the St. Kate’s/CSJ Food Access Hub. With excitement, we welcome Hannah to her new role as Celeste’s Dream Program Coordinator! Blessings to Jill Underdahl, CSJ as she transitions to her new role on the province leadership team.

Hear more from Hani and Hannah below.

(Photo left to right: Molly Pierson, Community Leader Intern with the St. Kate’s/CSJ Food Access Hub, Hani Abukar, Celeste’s Dream Community Garden Coordinator, Jennifer Tacheny, Co-Director Celeste’s Dream and St. Kate’s/CSJ Food Access Hub, Hannah White, SJW with Celeste’s Dream and St. Kate’s/CSJ Food Access Hub)

Meet Hani Abukar, the new Celeste’s Dream Community Garden Coordinator! 

My parents come from Somalia and I come from a LONG line of semi-nomadic pastoralists. Land stewardship is so tightly woven in the fabric of my lineage. I have always admired the wealth of knowledge my family had/have about their local ecosystem and practices that preserve natural resources. They love reminiscing on their lives back in Somalia. Their stories filled with tales of lush mango trees, fresh camel milk, and tight knit communities often leaves me nostalgic for a place I’ve never been. Though I am far removed from that lifestyle, I do my best in preserving my heritage. 

I graduated from Hamline University in May 2020 where I studied Biochemistry and Mathematics. While I was a student there, I was involved with our Sustainability Office where we also had some gardens to address food insecurity and accessibility to healthy foods. I was deeply impacted by this work and wanted to continue in it and that is how I found Celeste’s Dream Community Garden! It’s not often that a number of my interests coincide so I’m very grateful that I get to do this work here! 

 I love tea and I love gently tending to my hobbies of cooking/baking, sewing, practicing Arabic calligraphy, and reading. Many things inspire me to live a vibrant, meaningful life but nothing inspires me more than the gracefulness and magnificence of nature.  

It’s a beautiful world and I’m enjoying the beauty of life! I hope you do too. 

 SJW End-of-Year Reflection  

By Hannah White 

Every time we plant a seed, it’s an act of surrender. Of course, we do our best to make sure the seed has everything it needs to germinate. Ultimately, however, the seed’s fate relies on far more than just us. The earth, the rain, the sunshine… all play a part. The same can be said for vocation—we can’t control all aspects of our life’s work, or even what kind of work to which God calls us. All we can do is be receptive and pursue our callings with great care and zeal.  

This year, I found a vocation in food justice work. Through my time with the St. Kate’s/CSJ Food Access Hub coordinating the food shelf, working with community members and students in the gardens, and learning from passionate and generous mentors, my understanding of food was fundamentally transformed. Food is not simply fuel, but a source of healing for both the earth and our bodies. Working for food justice is not an act of giving handouts, but a mutual act of loving the dear neighbor from all sides. This year, I experienced so much love flowing through my supervisors, the college students on our staff and who come through our doors, the patients at St. Mary’s Health Clinics, the Highland Catholic School students and teachers, the Tuesday night gardeners, and all the CSJ community members who support this work.    

 Like tending the seeds, this work calls for nimbleness and an understanding that many things are out of our control. But at the end of the day, I know surrender doesn’t mean inaction, and I now know food justice is an integral part of my vocation to love God and neighbor without distinction.  

 

July 7th, 2022