My Mother always urged me to never save the special china and goblets for guests but to use them every day. She said to always choose the quality of the moment and celebrate every single day as if it was all we had. Among the many pearls of wisdom she bestowed on me, this was one had the most profound impact on who I am today. There were four gems embedded in her philosophy that I would like to share with you. They have direct ties to our success and future as an organic community.
Choose the best and highest quality, enjoy only the finest: Whether it is fine crystal goblets or the biggest juiciest apple, always treat yourself with the best. This doesn’t mean you always have to spend the most money to get the premium. I have always chosen organic and unprocessed food as a lifelong diet. I figure that food is medicine and only the highest quality will serve my body, mind and spirit. I am occasionally challenged by friends and family. They say I am an elitists and not everyone can afford to buy organic food. This past November, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) made the case that organic food is affordable and accessible. At a media event in New York City, the OTA demonstrated that families can enjoy all organic meals every day for about the same cost as conventionally produced food. They displayed how to serve a family of four 100 percent organic meals for $25 or less a day. With a chef in tow, the OTA and The Organic Center served a full day’s menu with delicious and healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner options. You can read more about the positive benefits of organic food at Organic It’s Worth It.
Always hold the positive intention in your mind: Do not dwell on what frightens or saddens you. Instead imagine what it feels like to experience the perfect moment. If you conjure up what you really want to accomplish, you can create it! This notion actually served me when I was striking out on my own creating a small brokerage company called Source Organic. Instead of focusing on the job I didn’t love, I imagined what it would feel like to be my own boss in an industry that was serving the planet and people. The Non-GMO Projects history provides a prime example of focusing on a positive solution as a way of making a big impact. In 2003, labeling GMO food was not a viable option so a group of positive minded souls decided to verify products that were free of GMOs. It’s astounding to see how much focus and attention this issue received thanks to the Non-GMO Project’s beginning in 2003. Think what our positive intentions can do to get national labeling of GMO foods in the future!
Choose your goals wisely. What you ask for you will probably get: My mother was big on having me think about my goals and setting them high. She cautioned that if you really sincerely set goals they will probably come to fruition. So it is important to think about how those goals will ultimately affect us, the environment and others. In the nascent years of the organic movement, we had different definitions for organic agriculture in different states. It was a bit like the Wild West of organic: mavericks and trailblazers—rebels with a panoply of causes. It was the setting of specific goals by people such as Congressman Sam Farr, Mark Lipson, USDA Organic Agriculture Policy Advisor, and Miles McEvoy, Director of the National Organic Program, that helped bring the National Organic Program into being. You can read interviews with Mark Lipson and Miles McEvoy in my previous blog posts. Goal setting gave us transparent and enforceable regulations that has allowed organic to thrive and grow as a viable entity.
Believe in yourself and be willing to take risks: If you haven’t suffered a mistake lately, then you probably aren’t taking enough risks. If I hadn’t taken the risk of getting in that hippie van at the tender age of 19, I probably wouldn’t have traveled to California to work in a Natural Food Collective. In fact, it’s safe to say that if I had stayed in Iowa I probably wouldn’t be here typing this message to you dear readers. With our organic industry at $32 Billion dollars, it is apparent that many instrumental founders took significant risks to get us to where we are today. The University of Santa Cruz put together an oral history on some of the early organic figures called “Cultivating a Movement: An Oral History Series on Sustainable Agriculture and Organic Farming on California’s Central Coast” . In it you can read some pretty risky success stories that shaped our current community.
I guess Muhammad Ali summed it up when he said, “Live everyday as if it were your last because someday you’re going to be right.” We have a lot of work yet to do, and it’s important to enjoy the ride as we go. Let’s create an organic future with high quality, positive goals and no fear. If we do this I think great things are in store.
If this was your last day what would you do, and what are you waiting for?