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The Spirit of Volunteerism

een vrijwilliger?

Such were the immortal words of my Dutch teacher when prompting us to hazard, more often than not, a guess at what the answer to some question was. The translation would be “a free-will-er”, or a volunteer. My work recently sent out an email letting us know about a volunteer opportunity that I thought was pretty interesting:

Urban Roots, a program of Youth Launch, has a one acre garden in Austin that is worked by 15 middle and high school students in the Austin area. The food that is grown in the garden is donated to five Austin area hunger relief agencies. Left over produce is sold at a farm stand in East Austin, which is operated by the students. The mission of Urban Roots is:

  • Making fresh food available to East Austin residents
  • Learning the importance of eating locally
  • Learning the importance of sustainable agriculture

Three volunteers from Cisco helped out at the Hands of the Earth farm on Saturday morning (May 10). Fortunately, the clouds gave us a much needed break from the hot sun. Upon arrival we were given nametags and then we all formed a circle and did a few team building exercises to break the ice and wake up. Then we divided into four different groups, each with two interns as team leads. We harvested beets, onions, and collards; washed produce at the washing stations; laid onions out in tent to await washing/distribution (lots and lots of onions!); used a hula-hoe (great piece of gear!) to weed in between plant rows; covered rows of squash with material to keep out the squash bugs; hand-weeded; and planted seeds for various new crops. It was work, but the time flew by!

Wow, talk about the nexus of so many Obamanian virtues: team-building, waking-up, sustainable farming, urban development through economic stimulation ( actually, a Reaganite virtue ), thinking of the children, eating locally, local produce, multiplier effect of money in local economies, East Austin, getting outside, etc.

So, my lady and I are going to be out there on June 14th at oh-nine-thirty in the morning.

Weird to think that I think of a certain presidential candidate as representing a set of virtues versus being, himself, and icon of vice. The O-Koolaid is good.

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