Inspiration for work can hit you in the most unlikely places.
Times of rest, reading, long walks taken away from my actual place of employment have helped me over the years to problem solve. It is uncanny how I almost always have to get away from work to get my head around tough issues and get clarity. Recently, I found inspiration for my work through a surprising source.
I found inspiration for what we do for families at Family Life Services through book about farming. Yes, farming.
You see I have this 4-H friend from back in the day that just happens to be a agricultural super hero. I’m not exaggerating. Forrest Pritchard, of Smith Meadows in Virginia is one amazing guy. Over the last 17 years while most of my friends were getting business degrees and moving to suburbia land, he was busy saving his family’s farm and becoming a national advocate for sustainable farming.
A year ago, when our family quit Mickey D’s and actually started eating real food, I was introduced to a foreign world. The farmer’s market. I even wrote a post on being a Farmer’s Market Virgin. My husband and I reconnected through Facebook with Forrest and his witty blog. Forrest was able to chime in and give us some sound advice for shopping local. A year later, he has written a book.
I was delighted to get an advanced reading copy of Gaining Ground, A Story of Farmer’s Markets, Local Food and Saving the Family Farm. I expected stories about cows, tractors and musings on the the growing popularity of local farmer’s markets. What I didn’t count on was getting inspired in a new way for Family Life Services, the non-profit ministry where I serve.
Forrest is an amazing storyteller. For those of you familiar with the Clifton Strength Finder, I can put money on Communication being in his top 5. In his book Gaining Ground, he writes with great passion about the two steps forward, three steps back processes that he experienced walking out his dream of being a modern day farmer. I’ve been there, felt that pain. Not the farmer part, but the feeling at times like I was moving forward only to have major set backs delay any foreseeable progress. Frustrating, but rewarding when you stay the course.
Pitchard also knows the importance of staying the course. Hard work, dedication, great support from friends and family—all sprinkled together with some pretty hilarious stories. I was drawn in by his determination. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well on the farm friends, in a good way. Americans are wising up and want to know where their food is coming from. This is a beautiful thing. Forrest’s book about organic farming allows you to take an intimate look at farm life and his stories are filled with grit, guts and goofiness.
Reading Gaining Ground, I found myself over and over again relating his experiences to what I have discovered working in the non-profit sector for almost the same amount of time he has been farming. Especially serving in a local organization that is over 70 years old. We are always looking for new innovative ways to meet the needs of people in our community. We know for future sustainability the non-profit sector must change in order to maneuver shifting cultural needs.
Solid donor relations, creative programming and community involvement are all critical for our clients to get the valuable services we provide. Mission is difficult to change, and rightly so, but methods and mediums must. I was blown away with motivation and ideas from reading this book. Did I mention that this book is about farming? Who knew?
So in an effort to spread the love I am giving away two copies so that others can read this treasure. The give away is simple.
In the comments below give me your favorite real food. Whatever it is—but it has to be REAL. Not processed, not packaged, not something that takes you less than 5 minutes to prepare. Unless it is fresh fruit or veggies, because everyone knows this is the original fast food.
On Saturday I will take all of the comments and draw 2 for a copy of Gaining Ground.
Simple? Good. Now Go.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Gaining Ground, you can get it here. Enjoy!
Congratulations to Lindy & Ivette for winning the two copies of the book!