An Ode to Community
[Previous Rural Farmgirl, April 2009 – May 2010]
While meeting with a group of women from my church recently, I learned that one of the Farmgirls in our community needed some help. Emily had recently undergone surgery to provide a kidney to her ailing little girl, and she needed to have a chicken coop built and some garden work done before the winter hit. That did not sound like a huge request to me. After all, I thought, surely there are enough of us in our little farming community who could spare some supplies, tools and a few man/woman hours. I decided then- and- there that this was something that we could, and should, do.
Along with of the privilege of getting to write this blog for the MaryJanesFarm website, I am also fortunate to be a part of a GREAT Farmgirl chapter called the Prosserfarmgirls. Our local Farmgirl chapter, like other chapters in the MaryJanesFarm Farmgirl Community, is very good about running to the rescue of our fellow Farmgirls. Even though this was a bigger project than most, it is not unlike what we do for each other all the time. I am very aware that brilliant people are everywhere, yet it still does not stop me from thinking that I have some of the best of the best here in my own backyard. I am constantly amazed by the endless talent of these women. We have chocolate makers, bakers, chefs, re-purposing artists, painters, hat-makers, sculptors, writers, tailors, and more.
However, more than their talent, I am most impressed with the amount of heart these women have, and with the amount of fun that we have, both within our community, and in our Farmgirl world. All of them are willing to teach and serve the others. When I was contemplating my offer to help with this coop project, I knew that I had the kind of community who would roll up their sleeves, strap on their tool belts, and help me to get the job done.
The build is September 19, and I am anticipating a good turnout of Farmgirls and community members. I bring this up as a reminder to all of us that in this economy, there are many of our neighbors who are really going through hard times. While most of us are pinching pennies, some of our neighbors have lost their jobs and are going into the winter months feeling overwhelmed and in need of a plan. In addition, some, like our Farmgirl friend, are hardworking farmers who just fell behind when a health crisis hit their family.
Part of the Farmgirl spirit that we talk about so much at MaryJanesFarm comes from a “can do” attitude. We see an issue, and we do not just walk away from it. Instead, we are willing to ask, “What do I need to do?” With the willingness to ask ourselves that question comes a “sure, you can borrow a cup of sugar” mentality. Not worrying whether we ourselves will have enough rather in that moment, only worrying about the immediate needs of others. It is through generosity that others can understand that we have all been there at one time or another. There is a shared commonness in the fact that everyone needs help from time to time.
I was encouraged to discover at a recent Prosserfarmgirl meeting, as we were all sharing a little bit about ourselves, that we would all be just fine if we took the time to support one another. Everyone in the room grew, raised, or made everything that we could possibly need to weather any storm.
As winter approaches, we will all have the opportunity, as we look around us, to see where we can lend a helping hand. We need to be prepared to jump in to make sure that others get through the months ahead. It is during these times that I believe we are at our best, and we get to practice being a community.