I hope that you have had a peaceful and warming weekend as we enjoyed some truly great weather! It was the type of sunshine that hit your skin and immediately put you into a trance.
Because Friday is my birthday and because this week will be so special to me, I want to talk about the people who mean the MOST to me–all of our co-operators and volunteers! Over the past three years, all of you have become my family. We share food through rain, shine, or freeze. We share recipes. We share random stories about ladybugs, leafy greens, runs, yoga, children, friends, food concoctions, remedies, and more. What we have created is truly a co-operative effort, and I LOVE it!
If you have ever gotten one of our co-op boxes or come to co-op, then I consider you a co-operator. If you have come to help us sort, then I also consider you a volunteer. We are all ages, colors, sizes, heights, toes, and more. If you are even reading this email, then you are interested in communities and optimal-quality food. You appreciate interacting with your food because food is a passion to you. You understand that when you interact with your food, something special happens. You show love to your body, and this love shines to all who surround you. Our bond with food is a relationship with our bodies. You show love to your body, and this love shines to all who surround you. The significance and impact on the world is more than we can possibly comprehend. We know the food that will enter into our bodies, and the experience of eating becomes personal–truly personal. What can possibly be more personal than getting to know the source of what fuels you? We are what we eat, and if we know what enters in our bodies, then we essentially know that from what we are created. I am currently a walking strawberry from Gundermann Acres.
When individuals come to volunteer, they come for several reasons. We come to help sort the food, see the food, participate in community, enjoy the outdoors, and share the time with other like-minded individuals. It’s peaceful, it’s fun, and it’s different in the best of ways! It’s a completely different experience than sitting in a restaurant with strangers ordering a dish about which you know diddily-squat. Almost a year ago, I wrote about “The Heart of a Volunteer,” and I shared how I find it truly mind-blowing that strangers with similar passions can come together to co-operate as a team to get a goal accomplished. If that team is successful enough, they stick together to evolve and to accomplish many incredible things over a period of time. If this team truly sticks together long enough, they become a family. WE have all become a family, and look at how many new family members that we have!
After 3.5 years of sharing this co-op with all of you, I find that all who have helped to build this co-op are still chief participants, and they actively participate on the scene and off the scene weekly. I cannot live a few weeks without them! I also look around and see that very, very few that have left, and I see thousands that have jumped in and joined with open hearts. WOW! All who want to come and volunteer are welcomed with open arms, interest, and hugs. I hope that eventually one day I will get to meet and share time with all of you in this way. I make myself present at co-op so that I can share this time volunteering with others because it means so much to me.
Our volunteers are troopers! Each week is different for volunteering. Last week we had clouds, last Saturday we had windy rain, last month we had frost, and this week we will have sunshine. This summer we will have heat! Each day is different, but it doesn’t matter because those who come to help show true dedication and love for volunteering. So many of life’s lessons are learned from sorting. Analogies take place all the time about parallels that exist between participating at co-op and between challenges that exist in the “real” world. We learn to solution-solve and to do this with others who want to help. This past Saturday, it was too windy to put up the tents, so we moved our entire operation underground in less than 20 minutes with the help of 20 volunteers! How cool is that?! Everyone had a smile on their face and jumped right in to get the job done. I believe there was even some dancing to the music at the same time!
When I first started this co-op and started getting more and more volunteers, I was floored with humility. I could NOT believe that others would have the same passion as I do for volunteering. It is RARE in this world to find others who want to contribute their time to a worthy cause for no dollar value. What I receive co-op is so much more than I possibly can give, and for this reason, I do not assign myself a paycheck. I receive community, food, and love–for what more can I possibly ask? Why would I need a paycheck for that? Yes, I do tons of behind the scenes work to organize the days, food, farmers, emails, payments, drops, etc., but I do it because I LOVE to do it. If I did it for money, then I would merely be a service, and the meaning behind “co-operating” would hold a different meaning in my heart. I want to live as an example for the world that we can still have our passions in life to share with others and simultaneously enjoy. People NEED something that they can delve their hearts into that is not money-oriented: We WANT something that is love-seeking. People want to see good happen in the world, and our co-op is a shining example of success from good hearts. We are not a service or a sale, but we are a co-operative. We are real people who want real community with real food. This exists because of all of the love that is put into growing our organic produce, the love that is placed into our boxes by our volunteers, and the self-seeking love that takes place when you pick-up your share.
We have 2600 co-operators in our community, and if you have ever come to pick up your box, then I most likely know your name. If you look below, I have shined light on our three new co-operators of the month of March! They have dedicated themselves each week to helping put love in your boxes, and I hope that everyone enjoys getting to know them and give them a hug when you see them! I desire for our co-op to be personal, and I want for everyone in Houston, Texas, and the world to participate in one form or fashion. Why not share this blessing of abundance with others and create more community? I wish for everyone to participate and to volunteer so that they can feel what co-op truly encompasses. We are all merely participants in life. When we volunteer, we decide that we flow with life. We choose to be a part of something greater, and we do it with a giving heart. When we give anything with a wholesome purity, goodness grows all around us.
I hope that you all enjoyed this letter as much as I enjoyed writing it. Of course I could go on forever, but I will wait until next week! I hope that I get to see ALL of you this coming week, especially to celebrate my birthday. I am SO blessed to have you all in my life!
P.S. If you bring me a gift, plants or other items only please…no chocolate or prepared cooked foods! (I don’t eat them!)