Although we’re all working miles apart with sometimes very different approaches to this shared vision, one thing undoubtedly has united us all over the past few days: reporting time! The numbers in those rows and columns are more than numbers. They tell the story of our efforts. And that’s what we’re reflecting on this week.
- The number of participants reminds us that our farm-based approach to helping survivors of intimate partner abuse matters to so many. Some participants in the list have been out in the fields caring for the growing vegetables and herbs, others have been in the kitchen processing the harvest and preparing healthy meals for service in shelter. And all of the participants are healing from abuse because of the program.
- Oh the harvest numbers. In the spreadsheet they’re just pecks and pounds, but we know these numbers mean so much more. Those pounds of tomatoes made gallons of delicious salsa. That peck of peppers spiced up otherwise everyday dinners. And the value of the healing conversations that happened while these pounds and pecks were being harvested! That’s why we farm.
- Every time we type a new Community Partner in the spreadsheet, we do a little happy dance. When we pause to really consider the amazing support our community has contributed to the farm, our gratitude can be overwhelming. These organizations and individuals have given time, talent, and tithing to create hope and opportunity. And in this busy world we’re all navigating, such commitment to survivors really energizes us.
- The workshops tab is where the experience of learning is captured, and this report we have some great numbers to share. We’ve been really fortunate to forge some amazing partnerships with local chefs who support our mission. When they come out to share field-to-table processing and preparation tips of the trade with participants, it’s like watching Top Chef on television, only it’s happening right here in our shelter.
- The Sold and Shared numbers are the heart of our reporting story. We grow to share the harvest with survivors of intimate partner abuse and sell value-added products to develop self-sufficiency skills for survivors and work toward self-sufficiency as an agency. As our mentor and supporter says so powerfully, “Success unshared is failure.”
- Then there’s the budget page. Reporting back on how we spent the generous funding we’ve received this year reminds us how lucky we are to be partners in the vision of Grow Appalachia. The growth of our gardens and progress toward market readiness just would not have been possible without the investment of Grow Appalachia.
So today we’re sending positive reporting vibes to all of our Grow Appalachia friends. When it’s time to tackle that pile of tracking paperwork on your desk or the auto-calculation formula isn’t working quite right, take a deep breath and repeat this phrase: the numbers tell our story, and our story needs to be told.