Life’s been kind of hard lately. There have been family issues. In the news I see daily images of refugees and war victims. A fear that I had thought gone with my childhood, the possibility of nuclear conflict, has resurfaced in general discussion. The price of everything is increasing.
And of course global warming rumbles in the background of it all, like a train steadily headed our way. Is there another track? Can we get there?
Deep breaths, Heather.
I remind myself that there is much over which I have no control. I try to see the good in the world, and then I notice how much good there is. I am surrounded by people trying to help others, just regular people working to make this earth we share a better place. Some of them are even trying to make my life better. What did I do to deserve this?
First to mind is the non-profit, Rural Action.
Rural Action serves Appalachian Ohio and strives to build a more just economy by developing the region’s assets in environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable ways.
Adams county, where we farm, is one of 32 Appalachian counties in Ohio and I recently completed Rural Action’s Whole Farm Planning and Mentoring program.
What a fantastic experience!
For eight weeks I got to hear first hand from experienced farmers and entrepreneurs. I was pushed to clarify our vision for the farm, formulate steps to reach our goals, and get real about finances. Most valuable, however, was hearing about other’s journeys in farming and business, about mistakes, missteps, failures, flunks, and catastrophes, natural and manmade. I’ve already had a few in each of those categories, excepting catastrophes. But I’ll handle the catastrophes better when they come because I’ve seen how others do so and find a way forward.
We are used to seeing the success of others; it’s paraded before us on media of all kinds. But it’s a real gift when someone shares their struggles.
They risk vulnerability and judgement simply to help others. I’m grateful to Rural Action for offering this program and others, from sustainable energy (now there's a need!) to leadership development, all centered around people working together to make this little corner of earth a stronger, better place.