When my first child was born, I was constantly encouraged to enjoy every possible minute of our little one’s infant years because, before we knew it, they would grow into a new stage of development. I remember being anxious for him to start talking, and I had almost convinced myself he was going to be mute his entire life. But, perfectly in the Lord’s time, he began molding baby sounds into intelligible human words. And, as it goes, God repaid my impatience by giving our little one the gift of language. After those first words, he never shut up. Really. He even talks in his sleep.
While sad to leave the stage of sweet coos and toothless smiles, each new stage we entered was more fun and exciting than the one before. Each came with a unique set of challenges as well as requiring new skills, habits, and appreciation for the preceding stage. In addition to the challenges we faced, each stage offered a greater understanding of who this tiny human was becoming. We began to understand his personality and what made him tick. I could differentiate between a cry of hunger and one of “I just hit myself in the face with this stupid toy”. I knew that if I played Taylor Swift on the stereo he would somehow still manage to “shake if off” while strapped into his car seat. And if there was a school bus in the vicinity, he was guaranteed to shout its presence 10 seconds before it even came into your line of vision.
My experience as a new parent helped me learn that, while the current stage may be fun, when things are healthy, it’s natural, necessary, and exciting to grow into the next stage of development. It’s true with children and it’s true with business.
So, we find ourselves at Sow Reap Feed in much the same situation. I look back on the course we’ve taken thus far and I’m surprised by the amount of growth we’ve had since our 20 x 20 plot of borrowed land in Nashville. And, quite frankly, I’m still surprised we managed to “keep the baby alive” as long we have. I miss the simplicity of that small plot and how easy it was to stop by after work, pull a couple handfuls of weeds, harvest a tote of veggies, and still have time to squeeze in a run before the sun went down. But that was then. We’ve grown. And I couldn’t be prouder of that.
This summer began the transition from Phase I of Sow Reap Feed to Phase II. It seemed like it would never come, but, looking back, it’s obvious that it was perfectly within the Lord’s timing. On July 1, Leigh Ann and I came on board as full-time employees instead of volunteers. We went from a single 10-hr per week part-timer to 2 full-timers overnight. We’ve developed partnerships with national and state-wide businesses, state and local non-profit organizations, the City of Jackson, philanthropic foundations, social clubs, churches, schools, and individuals, all of which believe that our people deserve to eat real food.
Phase II of Sow Reap Feed is proving to be more exciting than we ever imagined when we were preparing for it in years past. Through a partnership with the City of Jackson, we will be bringing a mobile market to the streets that will help serve the nearly 60,000 food-insecure people living in Hinds County. We have started finalizing the details of our multi-acre farm which will be located within the Jackson city limits. This new farm will greatly enhance our operation by increasing our growing potential, providing opportunities for new programs and products, creating a large space for the community to come and experience food, as well as providing a new neighborhood with direct access to a huge variety of healthy foods. In addition to these outreach and service programs, we’ve begun the development of both our blog and what promises to be an amazing podcast! These will help us spread awareness for the plight of the food insecure as well as knowledge and resources for combating such a complex issue.
And the real kicker, folks…ALL OF THIS IS SLATED TO TAKE PLACE WITHIN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS!
Y’all, let’s be serious for a minute. If you can’t get fired up about this I don’t know how we can help you. It’s going to be amazing! We’re going to see people from all over our area being served by people from all over our area. I pray, and genuinely believe, that we will see this thing catch fire and a revolution take place. Now, here me say this. I’m not expecting us to blot out hunger and food insecurity in the next 12 months…or ever for that matter. I am, however, insistent on helping usher in a culture that is aware of, disgusted by, and actively fighting against children going to bed hungry, mothers being forced to decide between buying groceries and paying the light bill, and people having to suffer and die under the oppression of diet-related health disparities. They deserve so much better than that. They deserve to thrive, to really live. They deserve for us to help them find the way.
So, as we continue to grow, I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead. I welcome my expectations being overcome by things far greater than I can imagine. I believe this will be our greatest chapter yet. Come along for the journey, it’s going to be spectacular.
Until Everybody Eats,