Change I Believe In


I’m a little excited for tomorrow’s inauguration festivities, but I haven’t been getting too wound up about it.

The thing is, all of us community organizers have been working for change all along, and I can’t imagine any of us will be stopping and resting on our laurels once the new administration takes over.  As much as I don’t want to be the killjoy and say that nothing’s really going to change once Obama takes the helm, it’s not the president’s job to make everything better for all of us.

Sure, it’ll be great to have a leader who can speak in coherent sentences–one who doesn’t have the idea that it’s all a game and the biggest bully wins.  It’ll be good to have an administration that is less bent on taking people’s rights away and more interested in preserving and protecting them.

But I think a lot of us in the local/whole/natural food movement–people who want to see a change in the massive outdated behemoth that is the USDA–were not incredibly surprised to see Tom Vilsack get confirmed.  Did any of us really think Alice Waters would end up as White House chef and that the Obamas would start laying out their White House lawn organic garden plans?  C’mon, now.

But that Ghandi quote about being the change we want to see in the world still holds true.  The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had he still been alive today, would certainly not have said, “Hey, OK, we won.  Let’s buy a house in Malibu and relax.”

There is always work to be done–it doesn’t stop.  All victories are small, but the are cumulative.  The defeats do not make us slide back to step one or put us in reverse, they strengthen our resolve to push a little harder, to make a few more calls and send a few more e-mails and engage with a few more souls.

The change I believe in is the change I help make.  The change that raises all boats; the change that is one or two people helped on community level.  It might not create fireworks everyone can see, but it makes the lives of those affected a little bit easier, a little bit better, and that kind of positive energy is infectious.

Today I’m going to work for a little bit of that kind of change.  I’m bringing supplies to a group of volunteers to make new plot markers for the community garden project, and I’m going to talk about local food and about sustainability and community.

I’m excited for the community garden this year–excited that it will be better and more active and more productive than the season before.  Last winter, when it looked possible that the garden lot would be sold to developers, I spent a lot of time depressed, anxious, and angry.

But I never took down that original drawing of the garden design, tacked up above my desk, and I never forgot the spirit of community that caused that drawing to become a tangible verdant reality.  That community spirit says, and will continue to say, no matter who is the president:

YES WE CAN.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. “The change I believe in is the change I help make.” Very well said! I loved this post. You manage to embrace change both pragmatically and passionately. Whoever said the twain shall never meet.

  2. […] Rebecca at Flying Tomato Farms with Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program and Change I believe In […]

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