Planted, by Leah Kostamo

A friend gave me Planted I’m-not-sure-how-many years ago. She had lived in Vancouver, BC, and participated in a day program at the A Rocha center started by Leah Kostamo and her husband. My friend thought I would appreciate the book’s themes of Christian community and care for the environment.

I did, but somehow the book didn’t make it onto my reading list. I suspect that I feared, subconsciously, it would send me packing on a guilt trip. But recently the new residents of the furnished guest house on our property brought over a tub of things they didn’t need. Among the works of classic literature and local history was Planted. I had entirely forgotten I had banished it there; a guest house is an appropriate place for a hospitality-themed book, right?

This time Planted caught my attention because we are in the process of starting a market garden. That’s a far cry from a nature study center. But I anticipated some common threads, or at least inspiration. I consumed the book (pun intended) in the course of two or three compulsive reading sessions.

Planted was published thirteen years after Leah and her husband, Markku, established A Rocha Canada on the banks of the Little Campbell River outside Vancouver. Their original vision was to help Christians gain an appreciation of the interconnectedness of all things through experiential nature conservation. Interns and others can visit, stay, study, and assist in projects related to the small endangered river and its surrounding habitat. The venture has been stunningly successful in terms of lives touched. A number of the inspiring stories in Planted relate to the answered prayers and divine interventions that account for the unlikely success of this non-commercial endeavor.

Leah Kostamo is not only passionate about creation care and hospitality, she is a consummate storyteller with a gift for language. Reading Planted made me want to visit the study center—tomorrow. It’s on my wish list for the next few years. But you don’t have to visit to get involved. The A Rocha Canada website (click here to visit) offers an abundance of information, not only about their programs but about caring for creation in your own home and neighborhood.

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