Canticle Farm

one heart , one home , one block at a time


Singing the Great Turning one heart, one home, one block at a time

Inspired by the life of Francis of Assisi, Canticle Farm is a community providing a platform for the Great Turning, one heart, one home, and one block at a time. Canticle Farm is intentionally located in the Fruitvale District of East Oakland where material poverty and urban violence are pervasive. Many residents of our neighborhood experience the challenging effects of “the great unraveling” of our economic, political, and environmental systems. We form part of an ethnically diverse community that includes many people from rural areas. These neighbors have extensive farming experience and resilience rooted in indigenous knowledge and traditions. This is precisely the place where new alliances and hope can flourish and where there is fertile ground for engaging in the Great Turning. In a city where despair and violence have been common responses to our urban challenges, Canticle Farm supports activities that foster generosity and forgiveness in the human community and compassion for all beings.

The name Canticle Farm contains its vision. Canticle, or “Song,” is taken from the example of Francis of Assisi. Born into a materially rich family, Francis left his inheritance and devoted himself to a life of poverty in joyful service. Nearing his death, in great physical pain and almost blind, he wrote the “Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon” as a lasting expression of praise for the world and kinship with all beings. This practice of praise and kinship with all creation is core to Canticle Farm. It also reminds us that, whenever it is most difficult to see our way through, it is a good time to sing and to practice gratitude.

St. Francis

Canticle of Creation

Most high, all-powerful sweet Lord,
yours is the praise, the glory, and the honor
and every blessing.

Be praised, my Lord,
for all your creatures,
and first for brother sun,
who makes the day bright and luminous.

And he is beautiful and radiant
with great splendor,
he is the image of you, Most High.

Be praised, my Lord,
for sister moon and the stars,
in the sky you have made them brilliant and precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, for brother wind
and for the air both cloudy and serene
and every kind of weather,
through which you give nourishment
to your creatures.

Be praised, my Lord, for sister water,
who is very useful and humble
and precious and chaste.

Be praised, my Lord, for brother fire,
through whom you illuminate the night.
And he is beautiful and joyous
and robust and strong.

Be praised, my Lord,
for our sister, mother earth,
who nourishes us and watches over us
and brings forth various fruits
with colored flowers and herbs.

Be praised, my Lord,
for those who forgive through your love,
and bear sickness and tribulation;

blessed are those who endure in peace,
for they will be crowned by you, Most High.

Be praised, my Lord,
for our sister, bodily death,
from whom no living thing can escape.

Blessed are those whom she finds
doing your most holy will,
for the second death cannot harm them.

Praise and bless my Lord
and give thanks to him and serve him
with great humility.

— Francis of Assisi

(trans. Stephen Mitchell)           .

More than its work in urban agriculture, healthy local food and sustainable economies, Canticle Farm is a farm in the sense that it is intended to inspire and create a close familial relationship of mutual benefit to the human and the other-than-human worlds. The work of Canticle Farm is for all future beings and that work is supported by honoring our ancestors in every place and time. The present main house of Canticle Farm was, a hundred years ago, a farmhouse in the Fruitvale district of East Oakland, the name connects with and extends that history.

How will Canticle Farm achieve its goal of facilitating the Great Turning? It will remain deeply committed to and operate from its core values of community, service, spirituality, nonviolence, regeneration and simplicity. It will, in its own right, manifest these values while providing a platform for the teaching and sharing of those skills, technologies and practices most likely to create a resilient community in the 21st century. Those skills, technologies and practices include, but are not limited to, the following:

• The Work that Reconnects
• Catholic Worker hospitality
• Nonviolence training
• Restorative Circles
• Urban homesteading and permaculture technologies
• Nonviolent Communication
• Initiation rites and passages
• Soulcraft practices and soulcentric developmental wheel

Canticle Farm is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit 

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