It’s been nearly a year since I joined the Veggielution Board of Directors. Having arrived at my current profession in horticulture by way of public health policy research, I immediately recognized in Veggielution the natural ties between social connections and health that come when we put our hands in the soil together. It is that love of shared purpose and a vibrant community that moved me to serve as Interim Executive Director during this time of leadership transition.
Last weekend, during my Sunday staff rotation to tend to the chicken coop, I found myself at the farm during an unusually quiet time. Since joining the staff, I’ve become more accustomed to the steady pace of the farm during the week, as well as the wonderfully hectic feel of a Saturday workday. And yet, on this day, as I traced the arteries of the farm, beginning at the heart of the kitchen and pavilion, and working outwards through the veins of the fields and to the nerve endings of the young orchard, I felt a renewed sense of appreciation. Standing quiet and still, with the never-ending hum of San Jose racing all around me, I was reminded of the hard work of everyone who has made Veggielution possible.
Veggielution was born in the backyards of San Jose and nurtured to its current 6 acres at the historic Emma Prusch Park through the heartfelt dedication of its founders, farmers, and family of volunteers. How did we get this far? Because of the enthusiasm of supporters like you. However, there is still much more work to be done to help localize our food system and inspire the young leaders and activists of tomorrow. Next Tuesday, San Jose will celebrate the legacy of César Chávez, whose fight for farmworkers began in the very same Mayfair neighborhood that Veggielution calls home. Chávez said, “the love for justice that is in us is not only the best part of our being, but it is also the most true to our nature.”
In addition to our effort for food justice continuing, I also recognize and welcome the role that Veggielution plays in connecting people not only with the land, but with each other. In Silicon Valley, where the pace of life can get hectic, it is heartening to know that our space is becoming a destination for people of all ages to learn, renew and join together in common cause.
As we take stock of where we are and what lies ahead, let’s pause briefly to imagine what is possible at this crossroads for Veggielution. I hope that you will join us as we recommit to the programs at the core of our mission – our workday leader training, youth garden, farm box, farm stand, and sponsored workdays with local businesses that want to share the Veggielution experience with their employees as a way to build stronger, more connected teams. Then, walk further along with us to embrace our community through open dialogue and renewed partnerships. Your voice, as a valued member of this community, is critical as we continue our journey.
Many of you that I have met in my short time on the job have asked what more you can do to help Veggielution continue to grow. The good news is that there are so many ways to get involved: from volunteering time and donating money to becoming a Veggielution advocate on social media to telling your friends and family about our programs. Even simply just being on the farm and engaging as part of the collective is incredibly powerful.
Come out to visit the farm – your farm – soon. We have a lot to learn from each other.