Have you ever noticed that the more seeds you sow the richer your life is? This is true absolutely when you cultivate the soil and plant a vegetable or flower garden. The taste and beauty and smell are a result of your digging, plowing and watering. It is also true metaphorically as you delve into new activities. You open new doors and possibilities that make you a more robust individual. Planting seeds of hope in the form of giving and volunteering affords both rewards, the strength and opportunity to do new things and the beauty of helping to enrich the lives of others to reach their full potential. Volunteering and giving in organic agriculture is an excellent way to achieve these gifts.
If you are reading this blog you are likely interested in solving some of the pressing food and agriculture issues we face in the 21st century. Food sovereignty, hunger and nutrition, access to traditional seeds, sustainable organic farming practices that protect our environment are just a few of the issues that come to mind. There is one organization aiming to solve many of these issues and you can play a part in their mission.
My friend Perry Clutts is a multi-generation dairy farmer at Pleasant View Farms in Ohio. In our time serving on the OTA board he has repeatedly told me about this work with Groundswell International, a non-profit organization that strengthens the power of rural people to unleash the potential of family farmers. They work in Africa, the Americas and Asia to cultivate, grow and spread environmentally sound farming practices that work with nature. The result is real people igniting local change to grow an abundance of healthy food, improve incomes, and revive landscapes so that communities – and ultimately entire nations – are better able to feed themselves today and well into the future.
One of their primary goals is to combat the fact that over 65% of our seeds are owned by just three chemical or pharmaceutical companies. They want to spread open-pollinated, GMO-free seeds across the U.S. and raise awareness about the importance of food sovereignty and the democratization of food and agriculture to ensure people will always be able to decide what food they grow and eat.
Every spring they host a Spring Seed Campaign by mailing packets of healthy organic seeds to hundreds of families and communities across the country. This campaign aims to raise awareness about the importance of seed sovereignty. Now in its third year, the campaign has spread thousands of healthy seeds to encourage people to grow their own food and get more involved in the issues facing family farmers. Farmers should be able to save seeds for future planting, breed their own seeds and share seeds with friends and neighbors. Patented seeds prevent all those things.
They have also been planting real seeds of hope in Polk County, North Carolina. Their project there is called “Grow Food Where People Live.” It works to help meet the food needs of vulnerable children and their families to learn organic gardening, cooking and food processing skills. Along the way it builds self-confidence and improves the local economies. Access to healthy, organic nutritious food is the beautiful reward.
The good news is there are many ways you can get involved with Groundswell International!
Donate – Invest in concrete, efficient actions to support positive change in rural farming communities around the world.
Volunteer – They need many talented organizers and a few social networking gurus to help spread the word.
Spread the Word – Tell your friends and family about what Groundswell is doing and the global challenges we are working to overcome. Encourage people to like our Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, read our blog, and sign up for our monthly e-newsletter.
Spread Healthy Seed – Sign up to receive free open-pollinated non-GMO seeds. Every year, in the spring, Groundswell sends out hundreds of seeds to families and communities who want to take action alongside family farmers to help spread a way of farming and eating that is healthy for people and the planet.
The text time you are wondering what seeds to plant, look around and get involved in organic agriculture initiatives. It will sow change in you and hope will blossom throughout the world.