Planted – Leah Kostamo

Planted – Leah Kostamo

By Donald McKenzie

April 27, 2014

Planted review

The primary focus of Dining with Donald is around meals and eating together. Yet, how we produce the food we eat is also important. Are we doing it in such a way that is kind to the planet?  Is it kind to the other creatures we share the planet with.

You can find another post surrounding the development of A Rocha here.

That’s why I appreciate groups like the Slow Food Movement. Farmer’s Markets are another good way to learn about and consume foods that are grown locally and ethically. Then there are organisations like Dig In Manitoba.  Dig In Manitoba encourages people to not only buy local, but also to grow their own food locally.

An apple from a long planted tree.
Planted seeds can lead to much fruit

Through my connection to St. Margaret’s Anglican Church, one such organization that I am familiar with is A Rocha.  A Rocha began in Portugal. It has since spread to 19 countries around the world. A Rocha is roots are Christian. A Rocha’s mandate is creation care, environmental conservation and a sustainable earth.  This takes many forms around the world.  Here in Winnipeg it is the Just Growing program, run in conjunction with St. Margaret’s that is the main focus.


Planted:  The Book

Recently one of the co-founders of A Rocha Canada, Leah Kostamo, released a book called Planted: A Story of Creation, Calling, and Community.  Planted: A Story of Creation, Calling, and Community follows the journey of Leah and her husband Markku as they worked to establish a presence for A Rocha here in Canada.


I have to admit to having some hesitancy when I read such books.  I often find them to be very earnest in their tone.  Many are alarmist and combative. Many see those who disagree as enemies.

On one level this is understandable.  The need for action is urgent.  We are taxes our planets resources to their limit.  Yet, angrily blaming each other for the problem has failed to move us closer to solving it.

Fortunately, this is not the case with Planted. Kostamo brings a light but firm touch to serious topics. Part of this comes from her willingness to face her own shortcomings in living a simpler, less consuming lifestyle.  Some of this comes from her training as a teacher. Part also comes from her whimsical illustrations throughout the book.  Part from good storytelling.

Mainly it comes from the practice stated on page 82. That “…at A Rocha relationships always take precedence over moral jockeying…”  This statement comes from a chapter that relates to meals.  I really like this chapter, because relationships are at the heart of it.  At the heart of the relationships is the table.  As Kostamo states at the end of the chapter: “At A Rocha we don’t have a chapel, we have a table.”

A community formed

At the core of Planted is our need to be planted.  Constant moving from place to place prevents us from forming the relationships we need. Relationship that can help transform the earth.  This is not only true of distances.  Often our lifestyle is one of constant moving if only from one event to the next.  When we are planted in our communities we become more aware of the way in which we depend on each other.

In Planted, Kostamo shows how this has worked for A Rocha, particularly in British Columbia.  It is not an easy task.  The journey of A Rocha in Canada has been slow. It has had many bumps and bruises along the way.  Their victories have been small.  In many ways their scope is limited.  That’s because being planted is being rooted.

Being planted means being faithful.  It means sticking with the task.  It means getting to know our local community.  However, our local community is just the people.  It is the birds, the fish, the wildlife.  It’s the flowers and trees.  It’s even the bugs and grubs.  As the tales of the interns in Planted attest it’s often dull work. Yet, it is essential work.

Planted does not glorify nature.  It shows both the beautiful and the ugly in nature.  Yet it also reminds us that all of this is God’s creation.  The creation that God called good.  We are invited in to love this good creation as God does.  This is part of our work and why we were created.

More about Kostamo

Do want to hear more about Planted.  Leah Kostamo will be speaking and signing copies of Planted this coming Saturday at McNally Robinson Booksellers in Grant Park Mall.  The event begins at 7:00 pm in the atrium.  I included a link at the beginning of the post where you can order the book online. However, I do encourage you to pick up a copy of the book from McNally Robinson. Support your local bookseller.  Planted, is a short but worthwhile read.


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