As the new network coordinator of Our Food SENB (June 20th marked three months in the role), I’ve been learning the ups, downs, ins, and outs of a very broad network of folks in Southeast NB doing amazing work within the food movement. It’s clear that in this region, if you are interested in food security (or food in general), you won’t have to travel far before finding someone with a like mind and similar ideas. Understanding how to best help support these efforts has been part of a steep learning curve so far. With so many things going on, and a legacy that feels near impossible to live up to, the work can seem almost hopeless to navigate or even explain for a “newbie”. And strangely, with so many people around, it’s easy to feel very alone sometimes.
Watching the employees of Our Food SENB’s key partner, the United Way of Greater Moncton and Southeastern NB, organize and carry out the recent Day of Caring on June 9th reminded me that many hands make light work. This annual volunteer event assembles approx. 800 volunteers to help out in non profit settings, and proves that with enough hearts, heads, and hands working toward the same goal (say, planting a 5000 sq. foot sauce garden to benefit the local food center), the finished product can almost magically appear (in this case, in just short of 3 hours). Granted, not all projects are so straight forward. Great minds can set out an easy-to-follow garden blueprint, hard working hands can dig in and put plants to soil, and big hearts can come together to make the straightforward projects feel wonderfully worthwhile.
But what about those complex “beast” initiatives? Those ones that touch so many sectors and pieces of our lives that it feels like we couldn’t possibly come to a shared solution? Obviously, because of our very unique and diverse situations, we are all entitled to have our own valid opinions, thoughts, and ideas. I know that we can’t please everyone, but we CAN respect and make an honest effort to understand everyone and their point of view. We can try our best to find the sweet spot; the happy medium. I’ve been reminding myself that without this incredible diversity, we’d be a pretty boring bunch.
I know that the next three months will continue to bring out more ups and downs, ins and outs. But one thing in which I have found solace, is knowing that no one can do it all alone, and that people want to help make a difference. That hard and fast rule couldn’t be more true: “ask [for help] and you shall receive”. So don’t ever feel too alone. The right people will always show up to help if you ask them to.
Jill Van Horne is a Network Development Coordinator, with Our Food SENB.
Learn more about Our Food SENB: http://www.nbfoodsecurity.ca/westmorland-albert-food-security-action-network/
Learn more about The Our Food Project NS: https://ecologyaction.ca/ourfood
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