It’s easy to think, if we had more money we could do “this” to change our world. “We could accomplish so much with more money,” is our mantra. Maybe it would go for some good cause that we are thinking about.
Everyone understands these ideas, however, I would like to suggest the reality may be different and maybe more money is not really the answer we are looking for. How many dollars have been poured into solving the epidemic of cancer? How many dollars have been poured into feeding hungry people right in our own state? Hitting a little closer to home, how many dollars have gone into better food access right in our own county? I wonder. And have these dollars solved the problem? It doesn’t look like it to me. I still struggle to find what I want and need in our local community and I wonder if I’m alone in feeling this way?
That said, I was troubled when I learned that we had a chance to apply for a grant and I missed it. You heard me talk about this opportunity if you came to the initial startup meetings. When I went back to complete the form I realized they wanted far more information than what we could provide for the future. I did not get the grant submitted on time and couldn’t. I’ll admit, I was pretty dishearteded. I felt I had let down the whole team and every paying member. I felt really awful. It was then that I remembered my dad’s words to me recently about being an elected official. He said this, “In my 25+ years in politics I’ve seen that everyone thinks the answer to the problem is the same… we need more money. I’ve got news for you, the problem is that hasn’t solved the problem for years.”
McLeod County, can we be smarter than the average? Is it possible that throwing more govt money at the problem of wanting a sustainable retail food co-op in McLeod County is not the answer? Is it possible that more govt money might only cause us to stand back and say “problem solved”? If we create a beautiful co-op without getting people involved, without educating people, getting them on board, joining arms with working together on a common mission, would it last? Would we have actually reached our goal? Will it be sustainable for years to come? I’d suggest the answer is “No, I’m afraid it would not last.”
The problem we have to solve is low or limited good food access in a rural area like ours and also lack of connectivity among organic eaters and sellers. So what is the answer? Well I would suggest the answer is to get involved, show up, create solutions that work, having a can-do attitude, never giving up, love your neighbor, grow, sell or distributing natural/whole foods and supplements locally. There are so many ways we can get involved and our real life input is worth so much more to us than money from the government or elsewhere. Without YOU we cannot do this. Without much MONEY we still can.
Think about that lesson. Don’t worry, there will be many more opportunities at grant money to come but right now I believe the key is: get involved.
Thank you all for everything you’re doing. If you want a local natural foods co-op in McLeod County, please consider how we can all get involved and stay involved. Don’t just come to a meeting on a co-op share your advice and walk away? If you think we need a co-op please get involved, stay involved, be a leader. This is the way to build a healthy community and a co-op all together. Here’s to us McLeod❤