As the executive director of The Land Connection I do a lot of different things like writing grants and reports, developing our budget, working with our great team on programming, and going to a lot of meetings.
So when I get caught up in the day to day operations, the things that are not always super inspiring, I go back and read our mission statement. I do this not because I forget what it is, but because I like to take stock of all of the things we are working on and make sure we have not drifted, and to remind myself that the seemingly monotonous tasks are ensuring that we are working toward achieving our mission, which reads:“The Land Connection trains farmers in resilient, restorative farming techniques; informs the public about the sources of our food and why that matters; and works to protect and enhance farmland so that we, and generations to come, will have clean air and water, fertile soil, and healthy, delicious food.”
This past weekend I was doing just that kind of thinking. Although we are moving into a hopeful new year, the days are getting longer, the seed catalogs are arriving, and we are dreaming about the approaching outside plant-date, I was instead thinking about our upcoming audit–something that nonprofits have to do every year–and about which grants I should be applying for, and things like that. So while I was sitting in the sunshine carving a piece of wood into a small kitchen spreader, I reminded myself of our mission, and allowed my mind to wander in a different direction…
One of the things that jumped out at me was the work that we have been doing with farmers who grow grain–including two workshops; one on growing small grains, and one on organic grain transition. This came up, I think, because it is new for us. As the climate changes, both literally and figuratively, more farmers are thinking about what it means for how they will farm in the future. And we want to be here to provide resources as farmers make those changes. And this fits in with some of our community projects like the farmers’ market, and teaching people how to cook with locally grown fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, and now grains.
The significance to our mission really hits all three points; we are providing educational opportunities to farmers that not only help them become more resilient in their businesses, but also how to farm our precious land more sustainably, thus preserving it for future generations; and we are educating consumers about where their food comes from, and providing them with an opportunity to buy directly from their fellow community members.
As we move into 2016, I look forward building on this important work. Please be in touch, and let me know what you think is important as we continue to build a strong, healthy, local food system.