October 18, 2014
I’m officially halfway through my time here, and today was our first harvest. I can’t believe it came so fast. I can’t believe how insanely fulfilling this is—it’s already everything I wanted my international experience to be. I’ve been a part of good things before, but this is so much more real and personal. It’s not about how much money we make, or what work there will be to do tomorrow, because today I washed head after head of lush, green lettuce and practically cried tears of joy when I saw that huge pile of our first harvest. We started work in the morning, hacking lettuces out of the ground with machetes, which is the most enjoyable harvest method, I think. Laura’s adorable 4 year old daughter was here to help. She patted down the newly bare earth and rode in the wheelbarrow, and looked for bugs in the dirt. We even saw a tiny, intelligent-seeming lizard darting among the plants that were still wet from last night’s rain.
Next, we had to wash the lettuce, which gave us plenty of time to talk about what this project will become. Such as an entire marketplace, just like Ithaca’s Farmers’ Market, with people who can make things like jewelry and clothes, or prepare food, or play music. This farmers’ market would have a backdrop of horses galloping through their hilly pasture, and an organic produce garden that sits next to a pond full of carp and tilapia. It would work, too. Even before we really started selling lettuce, we had 50 orders (some for 3 or 4 heads) for lettuce, and people stopping in all morning as we washed our product. I’m writing this in the shade next to a table stacked with lettuce on lettuce, and the majority of it is already sold, sitting patiently in labeled plastic bags.
I can’t believe that for so many people, this has the potential to become a whole market and community experience, and one that wouldn’t stop for winter. I’m a strong believer in destiny, and even more now, after I’ve ended up part of a project that could bring one of the best parts of my hometown to such a distant place. One thing has led to another, and it’s all leading towards good. I had a lot of time to think while I washed 80 gazillion heads of lettuce (slight exaggeration), so maybe I’m getting carried away here. But in this moment of accomplishment, I am feeling very thankful. So everybody, trust your path! Despite your human doubts. Let life take you where it will, and be a part of something good, because this truly feels even better than graduating high school or getting into college or getting a driver’s license and finally being able to play the music as loud as you want. This garden is going to last for longer than I will be here, and for that reason, it feels more important, more special, more real. I want everyone to have the privilege of feeling like they’ve helped to do something that matters. I think the world would feel better if everyone could have this opportunity, not to feel like they matter because of their individual selves, but that they’ve been a part of something that will surpass them in time and space, and still be important.