Flavio’s complete speech for Tea in the Garden 2015

As many of you know Tea in the Garden 2015 was a huge success, it was dry while the northern half of the Broward county(where the garden is located) was deluged with water. Someone commented that we had been provided with a divine umbrella!

Tea 2015 speech

As lightning seemed imminent, Flavio, Fruitful Field Executive Director, followed the other two speakers with a shortened version of his speech. By popular demand we are publishing the whole dramatic original text here.


And don’t forget, it’s not too late to donate or join the Perennials club.

Tea in Garden 2015- Original Speech Text by Flavio

Hello Again,

Thank you Lucas, and Rebecca & Vanessa

So nice to look over the tables dappled in the sunlight, glints of flowers and backdrop of all these trees, shrubs and plants that have grown so tall since we first started celebrating all this 6 years ago.  Back then it would have been really stretching it to call much beautiful around here.

Most beautiful however is that in this glade next to a garden/farm is a  mixture of people, music and conversation all woven together like magic on this February afternoon– this is a lovely living picture

Into this living picture I’m going to read you a verse from the Bible- from one of those long books in the middle– the prophet Isaiah– who talks about a very different picture:

It’s short, here it goes, listen carefully:

Isaiah 5:8

Woe to you who add house to house

and join field to field

till no space is left

and you live alone in the land. (NIV)

Isaiah the prophet wrote during a time of rising Upper class prosperity through international trade, and growing poverty for the lower and rural classes.

(read again)

Isaiah 5:8

Woe to you who add house to house

and join field to field

till no space is left

and you live alone in the land. (NIV)

This “Woe to you” is not addressed to society’s losers– but rather to the successful, the winners  took and got more and more

And as result they got less and less inter-connection: community

It’s not hard to draw some comparisons:

In our American and even more our South Florida society– a landscaped concrete ribbon between ocean and swamp our society has been adding lots of generic housing complexes and strip malls and taking away field after field.

And the traffic….

(point over to I95)

Broward county has a higher daily traffic count than all the Northeast Florida counties combined.  Just to my left about 300,000 cars go by every day. Not only that but based on national fatality numbers Interstate 95 in Florida is called the most dangerous superhighway in the country.

Everyone is busy, going somewhere in a hurry….

And it’s not just land and traffic that we add ‘house to house and field to field’

A recent article put it this way “If you have a credit card and an Internet connection, you can order most of what you need and have it left anonymously at your door. We’ve evolved a neighborless lifestyle; on average an American eats half as many meals with family and friends as she did fifty years ago. On average, we have half as many close friends.


Our post-modern mega electronic society with its flickering screens as small as your pocket and as big as a family room wall, have been pushing and adding thing upon thing–

images, tweets, alarms, calendar entries, Facebook updates, streaming sports, raunchy movies, hashtags, shopping sprees,

a feverish shout to the world of




me- a little cog in this system

  • I get  overwhelmed
  • I get so lost
  • I’m so busy yet soooo lonely in middle of this overcrowded world!

Like the verse– I, you, us, we are alone in the middle of a very crowded land!


There’s got to be something better–

Like the living picture I described when I looked out at everyone tonight

there must be other ways to live, deeper patterns to follow.

…and this lovely Garden perched on the shoulder of a lonely and busy Monster is one of them.

At The  Fruitful Field there is still Space & Time for community and real connection:

  • Time for turning real seeds  into real plants that  become a real meals for real people poor and rich alike
  • Time for a Saturday morning workday, outdoors, where people talk, laugh and sweat
  • Time for rows of gentle greens that turn into sustenance for mothers in crisis recovering from being homeless

Space & Time for Real connections

  • For a child digging  in the dirt with her dad on a sunny morning
  • For Middle Schoolers from a local school learning deeper truths than a video game can ever teach them.
  • For folks made homeless by misfortune to take a shower, get a meal and work side by side to become reconnected, regrounded, re-homed again
  • Time to start using our soon to be completed Outdoor Learning Kitchen- cooking, sampling, classes
  • Time for a new program this fall, a program for High Schoolers to learn what real work and and responsibility is about through a Farm and Table Internship.

Then there is the nature connection, a habitat and livelihood for the bees, birds, butterflies that buzz and flit about this place every morning of the week.  Fruits and flowers rarely seen anywhere else around here show us what is possible beyond lawns and freeways.


And you,

You are part of these real connections:

an essential piece of this living picture tonight,

a picture beautiful because it is so grounded in this “place”, this community.

And as a member of this community I ask “you” to help make these connections keep growing in the face of the busy loneliness that is everywhere around us.

Connect by volunteering here

  • through gardening,
  • subscribing to a vegetable or greens share,
  • by cooking for the whole community on a Wednesday night,
  • teaching young and old about lots of different skills, things we can’t even quite imagine yet.

Send us an email or show up on a Saturday to get this going.

Connect by giving a financial gift tonight that makes things like the youth internship not just possible but amazing with community-wide ripples of connection and positive Change. It’s a many moving parts program that needs many backers.

Sign up for our Perennials Club to make a regular monthly or yearly gift.  Our regular givers are the foundation from which much grows here.

Each table hostess has gift envelopes and we have folks with credit card swipes on the way out (raise your hands)

Your real connection to this place makes it better, a  lovely, living  picture.

..this lovely Garden perched on the shoulder of a lonely and busy Monster is important…

Continue making connections tonight—- take a tour, stroll the paths, get ideas for a home garden, chat with others, enjoy the evening!

Thank you and go in Peace