a garden inspiration

Seems like all I’ve been reading lately is depressing, anger-inducing stuff.

I just finished Just Food; more than once my fiance caught me muttering into it’s pages in disgust. Frustration with the short-sighted and narrow-mindedness about food abounds. At times I can’t help but wonder how on earth we will ever turn this mess around.

And then I saw this article on the kitchen table at work. While all of us adults are busy writing and researching and arguing about how to solve the current food crisis and feed the hungry – this little girl is doing it. What a breath of fresh air.

11 year old Katie grew a gigantic cabbage – and with it made 275 meals at a local soup kitchen. That moment made her realize that if she could feed that many people with just one cabbage – she could do a lot more. She has started a number of gardens and with a team of volunteers, many of whom are other kids, ┬áhas provided 5000 pounds of fresh veg to local soup kitchens.

The great thing about her story is it shows that solving our food problems needn’t be complicated. It is not surprising that it would be a child to cut through all the b.s. She sees the problem for what it is – she doesn’t need to know about the USDA or Agriculture Canada or taxation schemes or farm subsidies or commodity prices or the risks and benefits of international trade. She saw a cabbage in her garden, a soup kitchen full of hungry folks, and drew a straight line between the two. No muss, no fuss. Just simple, uncomplicated inspiration.

She makes me think about our individual circles of influence versus our circles of concern, a concept that’s talked about in the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Most of us have a circle of influence that is far smaller than our circle of concern. We spend a lot of time and energy worrying about things in our circle of concern that don’t fall into our circle of influence. That kind of worry is wasteful. Instead, if all of us, like Katie, just focused on doing what we can, where we are, with what we have – we might find that, like Katie, our circle of influence suddenly expands exponentially. She has gone from one, albeit giant, cabbage in her backyard to the pages of People magazine and is filling a lot of bellies along the way.

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