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Leaving Fruits of Young Trees: A Connection with Land and the Community

On a recent Sunday afternoon, my husband and I toured a local farm that is unique to our area along the Southern CA coastline. Their Vision Statement is, “We envision a world in which every community comes together to grow and share healthy food, care for the land, help their neighbors, and strengthen the connections they have with each other.”

Coastal Roots Farm is inspired by ancient Jewish traditions that connect people to community, food, the land, and social justice. They donate 70% of all that is grown to feed those in need in the community and sell the remaining 30% at their local farmstand.

During the tour we learned about Orlah: Leaving Fruits of Young Trees.

Orlah requires waiting to harvest fruit for a tree’s first three years, and donating the harvest in the fourth year. In ancient Judaism, the fourth year’s fruits were considered holy and designated for those who were landless and social or religious servants. Orlah teaches us to care for the trees and allow them to establish deep roots before concentrating on production. It encourages farmers to value trees as more than a means to an end of consumption. The farm recently produced its fourth year of grapes from the vineyard and donated it to a local winery to share in community events. Next year is their fifth year growing and they will cultivate and sell the fruit for the first time.

Especially at this time of year, it is a good reminder of giving back to the earth to nourish the soil, being grateful for the bountiful harvest and sharing with those less fortunate.

How Do We Contribute to Our Community?

In light of recent events, such as devastating hurricanes, social unrest, political divisiveness and a mass shooting incident, I’ve been thinking about  community and what it really means.

There are multiple interpretations of the word community. The Business Dictionary defines it as a:

  1. Self-organized network of people with common agenda, cause, or interest, who collaborate by sharing ideas, information, and other resources.
  2. Cluster of common interests that arise from association.

At a time where the country seems to be at odds, how do we come together as a community to bring order, peace and assistance to those in need?

One solution could be recommitting to a community value system. Values have major influence on a person’s behavior and attitude and serve as broad guidelines in our lives.

We’ve witnessed examples of great deeds, where groups or individuals have come to the aid of others suffering from tragedies. I’d like to think that each of us can contribute to the overall good of our communities. There is a higher purpose when we can see beyond our own immediate needs to help others.

In the coming months, I hope we will use these incidents of terror and devastation to find ways that we can contribute, share ideas and build a community value system that honors and defends non-negotiable core principles that recognize all individuals and bring us together. I’ve created a list of things that I can do and I hope you will create your list, too.

How I’m Committing to Serving My Community:

  • Making donations and encourage others to donate resources, food and supplies to hurricane victims.
  • Donating time to a charitable organization that helps in disaster relief or community programs.
  • Becoming proactive to support legislative change.
  • Looking for common ideas and shared values—encouraging people to see what brings us together, rather than what divides us.
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The Long Way

This year has been a challenging one. Not only has it been a year with a lot of hurdles in our business (that we have overcome), but it has also had its own set of personal challenges. Mounting pressures of small business ownership and entrepreneurialism combined with a growing family, a desire to grow personally, and a responsibility to our fellow man can be overwhelming. Early in the year, I decided that one of the things that would be the most impactful for my own temperament is to focus on being more selfless in the year of 2015. Even writing a blog about this goal seems to contradict its intention. However, there have been some interesting insights gained that are worth sharing.

The notion of taking the long way has come directly from wanting to be more selfless.

There is a lot of angst built on the notion of how our society has become a disposable society. If it doesn’t work, throw it out and buy a new one. If they aren’t calling back, dump them. If the relationship is unhandy or inconvenient, or if someone happens to tell you something that you don’t want to hear, find someone who will. The disposability of our culture is alarming in that it doesn’t allow for the gift of redemption in our day-to-day interactions with each other or with our things.

When it comes to relationships, the long way represents the extremely inconvenient conversations that need to be had to restore them.

While we all try to live our lives in such a way that creates and enhances peace, it is difficult to have a world-class mentality every single day without offending someone. If good is the enemy of great, then mediocrity and settling is the enemy of progress. Progress is uncomfortable, and, therefore, relationships can be strained.

A few things that are helpful in how we interact with one another is to approach relationships that might be strained or called into question by looking at a few simple assumptions.

First, assume that the person you’re approaching is already busy with things that take up their personal and professional time in life.

Second, assume that there is something that you don’t understand about the situation. This person’s actions or settling were for very good reasons of which you are just unaware.

Three, be very specific about what you want the outcome of the conversation to be. Many times if a relationship is strained my only goal is harmony in the end. That outcome for me is typically far more valuable than any other type of gain.

One of the things that I’ve been inspired to do this year is to try to fix what I can myself as much as possible. Now keep in mind, I’m a suit. I have no intention of getting too dirty. However, a mini fridge, wood working tools, a compact utility tractor, a counter top, and a toilet are all things in which I have experienced victory in restoring.

Taking the long way with these projects certainly takes more time than simply calling someone, but there is something about working with your hands and having to learn a craft that is additive to an already stressful and busy life.

There will be several posts that are inspired by this year’s resolution to become more selfless, but taking the long way is one that I’ve learned early. I’m not sure that it is a lifestyle that will be adapted for the long run, but it is one that I enjoy right now, at least as far as maintenance goes.

In today’s day and age, I would encourage you to hold on to things a little more tightly. Be slow to dispose of the things that got you to where you are. Sure, it’s exhausting. Yes, it takes more time but doing things the long way harmonizes most with our restoration of self and redemption.

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S4G MSP – Strategy For Good

On April 28, 2012, MJM participated in the 6th Strategy for Good session held at CoCo St. Paul. Strategy for Good is an opportunity for non-profit groups to work with top marketing strategists from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area at no charge. Teams of 2-5 strategists work with each non-profit, learning about their organization and offering feedback and solutions on some of their most vital challenges around awareness, social media, event strategies, media strategies, and building a strong brand.

Strategy for Good is hosted in the MSP area about 3-4 times a year. If you are a marketing strategist, consider joining us and giving of your time to help non-profits. If you work with a non-profit group, we’d love to serve you!

To learn more about the Strategy For Good #6 event held last weekend, visit http://s4gmpls6.eventbrite.com/

You can also sign up for more information when Strategy For Good #7 is announced!