My name is Allyson Polman. I am a permaculture farmer. I strive to live by permaculture techniques, producing no waste and looking to nature for how to grow and how to live. I am catholic and a catholic worker. I strive to live according to catholic social teaching and the lives of the saints, most especially Peter Maurin, Dorothy Day, and the mystics. The magical, mystical world around us is my biggest inspiration and compelling.
In college, I often felt that I didn’t fit in or belong; I lacked a home among my friends and peers. Two years into college, I applied for an internship teaching kids how to garden at a farm in Texas. I was accepted despite the fact that I had never planted a seed in my whole life and did not have a college degree. I was so nervous the first time I ever planted a seed. When the seedling came up out of the soil, I was finally Home. I had the realization of interconnectedness. I felt this Big Mother nurturing feeling toward the little plant and at the same time felt nurtured myself. I have been farming for six years now, and every time another seedling emerges before my eyes, I witness a tiny, delicate, strong universal miracle, and I am Home. This first call to nurture and be nurtured and experience the oneness of all Life brought with it the compelling to seek out the beauty and oneness in all human, animal, and plant life I encountered, and to celebrate life to the fullest, with the knowledge (as Alice Walker wrote in “The Color Purple”) “that if I cut into a tree my own arm would bleed”.
In 2014, I moved to Denton, Texas and started farming. I was grieved to hear about hydraulic fracturing happening within city limits, greatly affecting the air and water quality in the area. Around the same time, I learned of pipelines being run through indigenous people’s land. In both cases, people in positions of power have been digging into the great mystery of the beautiful, dark soil below, not to honor it but to contaminate it, and at the same time have been disrespecting and disregarding the lives and needs of indigenous humans and native plants and animals. As one member of the whole party of life, I do not consent!
So, I began helping in the effort to ban fracking in Denton city limits by flyering and campaigning door to door. The people of Denton voted and the ban was passed – a great victory! Only a few months later, the state passed a bill nullifying the ban and disregarding the votes of the people. The whole process strengthened my belief in the collective power of people working together, and I also felt greatly disappointed in the government legal system’s failure to honor the people’s vote and voice.
In the summer of 2018, I was farming in Ames, Iowa and found myself at a group discussion listening to Michele Naar Obed speak about Jesus nonviolently resisting the empire. I felt at home again and a stirring deep within. She gave a specific invitation for anyone feeling compelled to help in any way to
come join her in resisting pipelines running through indigenous people’s land in Minnesota. I said yes!
The action I am undertaking with this beautiful group of people is an act of grief for the state of violence the world is in and an act of celebration for the beauty of the earth. To feel that I am living in integrity, I choose the risk of direct action for the good of the earth community and call on all people to take their own personal risk for the good of the earth. Thank you.