It’s almost the end of April with only a handful of weeks remaining in our season. Staff and farmers are scurrying this way and that, preparing for our big fundraiser, planting the last bed, harvesting the last carrots. We’re on the home stretch and everyone here is tired, and happy, and thinking about summer. And as we are making plans and budgets and staffing proposals for next season… I am reminded of the saying “It takes a village to raise a child”. In our case the “child” is the community organization that we call Sweetwater.
Our community organization is a non-profit farm with a Mission. As one of the few paid staff members here at the farm, I must consider my specific role and the role of other staff members in fulfilling this Mission. Specific duties and responsibilities aside, our Mission is the reason we are all here. So when I read our Mission Statement I know that my job is to “provide an experience”, “serve as a model”, “provide opportunities to participate”, and “foster a sense of community”.
While these may be our big picture goals, they tend to serve as somewhat of a backdrop to the every day busy work of growing healthy food, coordinating people and events, funding and managing an educational program, and serving as a volunteer hub and learning center.
And so we receive Mission reminders and much needed help from our “Village”. As you must know by now, we rely heavily on our community members for our daily shot in the arm of volunteer enthusiasm, positive vibes, and encouragement to continue this good work.
Most interns and staffers at the Farm will tell you the work is rewarding, but some of the hardest they will do in their lifetime. The work is fulfilling, but the Village is what they will miss when they take their knowledge and experiences to new places.
And hidden away on a dark Wednesday night, sitting with barely an inch between them at a small wood table, sits a small group of extremely dedicated people eating a potluck of community-grown veggies and talking. A handful of people that have promised to serve their community on our Board of Directors. We’d like to take a moment to thank them for all of the work they put into this community, for which they receive no pay… not even a discount on their PestoFesto ticket. These are just good folks that have taken our Mission to heart and spend hours away from their own work and families to help generate the strategy, planning, know-how, and energy required to run this beautiful, sustainable organization.
In the last couple of years the following folks have really dug deep to make things happen.
Thank you to Board Members; Dan Behrens, Jamie Blessinger, Shawn Landry, Andrew Rock, Tonya Slaton, Cheryl Smith, Christian Wells, and Jamie Wright.