10.27.2010

hope is not the belief that tomorrow will be better...

I'm entirely clueless about the direction this blog is about to take, however, I'm feeling especially inspired and I can't allow these few-and-far-between instances slip away without some sort of commentary. My story starts last night at Wilmington College's 'Goodies for Goblins'. As the little kiddies stumbled into the cafeteria in their array of ladybug, superhero and fairy disguises, I was donning one of my own. Yes, I was Kaity the Carrot (complete with orange felt carrot suit and a green leaf trucker hat to complete the ensemble, no less) contemplating how on earth I got to this point in taking a position with Grow Food Grow Hope.

At the conclusion of my undergraduate career, I contemplated a number of AmeriCorps positions (after having given up the job search after 50+ rejections) and ultimately decided to give Wilmington, Ohio a shot. The program was called Grow Food Grow Hope and my future-supervisors sold me on the idea of working on a community-level to promote sustainable agriculture and access to nutritious food in a town where poverty was rampant. Being an advocate of a complete renovation of our country's food system as well as an idealist in the hope of one day having some kind of positive effect on the issues of global food insecurity, this seemed the perfect stepping stone on my way to single-handedly tackling world hunger (Did I mention I'm an idealist?)

Four months later, the growing season has come to a close and my days are subsequently longer and less activity-filled. The disillusionment has also started to set in and there's an evil little voice in the back of my mind uttering "Are you really doing anything at all to combat poverty and hunger?", "Will this program even still exist a couple years from now?" and "Is anyone truly gaining anything out of my work?" Enter Michael Snarr: Professor of Social and Political Studies at Wilmington College While we had never been formally introduced prior to last night, we were both on each other's radars. Me, because I was a political science major at Eastern and he, because well, he was the professor of social and political studies! He approached me (while in my Carrot garb) and invited me to sit in on his class in which Bart Campolo would be speaking regarding sustainable solutions to alleviating poverty in Haiti.

Fast forward to today. I think Snarr's class got a little bit more than they bargained for inviting a Campolo to come speak. I'd like to think I've been slightly conditioned and know how to respond to wacky, radical evangelicals being an Eastern alum, but his message was no less powerful. If I had to pinpoint the overarching theme of his presenation, I honestly don't know that I'd be able to. However, as I approached him after the class to thank him for inadvertantly encouraging me to continue my efforts in creating a local, sustainable system of food production in light of the economic and environmental degradation going on all around us, he spoke the most beautiful and truthful words I've heard in a long time. I told him how much I cared about my project, but was in need of encouragement to help regain sight of why my work was significant. In response, he passed along this little gem- "Hope is not the belief that tomorrow will be better. Hope is the conviction that what you're doing now is of importance."

Thanks to Bart Campolo, I received a much-needed refresher course on why my work with Grow Food Grow Hope is so important and why I need to continue my efforts in promoting and working toward sustainable solutions to the problem of global poverty. My work has only just begun :)

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