Saturday, April 9, 2011

Generosity as a renewable resource

In spite of this modern technology-based, money-dependent, internet-connecting society we have created, there are still real live humans who have generosity to spare.

We've connected with a handful of people in our community who, given the opportunity to act, have wowed us with their willingness. Imagine, two strangers walking into your home or your establishment, claiming to be starting a farm, asking for you to change your behavior in order to help the farm start-up, for nothing in return... what would you do?

We've found that families are willing to change the way they dispose of their garbage. So on top of sorting out recycling for their town pick-up, they now separate out their food scraps and other organic waste so that we can collect it and build our compost pile. The families who have joined our compost collective have said, generally, that they've always meant to compost and that they're happy to change their routine in order to help out neighbors.

We've connected with a few particular employees and managers at our local grocery store, who invited us to take boxes of vegetable scraps that they collect for us on Tuesday and Saturday mornings. The organic scrap pick-up is just between us and them - nothing formal that involves the administration of this chain grocery store. They told us that on other mornings they give their scraps to some of their employees who also have gardens and compost, and were happy to share with us.

We walked into our local bakery one day, saw the staff icing and sprinkling 600 cupcakes, and asked to speak to the owner. She was among the staff working on the cupcakes, and as she continued to dress the cakes with pastel butter frosting, she listened to our request for egg shells in order to enhance the calcium in our vegetable beds. A gardener herself, she trusted our methods and told us to come back on Tuesday to meet the head baker and pick-up buckets of egg shells. She and her bakers were willing to take one extra step of tossing the egg shells in a set-aside bucket, rather than into the normal trash, just because they wanted to. Or because they like to help, or don't like to waste, or decided to start always collecting egg shells for all of their gardens. Whatever the reason, their generosity helped two strangers and they expected nothing in return. (But we did buy some cupcakes... they just looked too good.)

We’ve also had different people in our community agree to share their horse manure with us, load our trailer with piles of this manure, help us find used rain barrels, saws-all our trailer hitch ball, share their winter’s worth of wood ash, keep a bee hive on our farm, split their pile of 10-year old black gold with us, and cook salads for our upcoming work weekend with friends. People are good. They like to help, be useful, connect face-to-face, see a smile. Generosity is everywhere and it just keeps on giving.

And we’ll be giving, too, once the garden does… we’ll be sharing yellow tomatoes with Bobby, hot peppers with Christian, home-baked pies with Christine and Wayne, mushrooms with Sal, fruit jams with Rose and Eugene, and much more. I hope this list keeps growing.

No comments:

Post a Comment