Gradual Growth

Some days, I leave school feeling so empowered and energized about all of the amazing progress we’re making towards creating a healthy, equitable, exciting school food environment for the kids and staff in Postville.

Days when the whole school enjoys beautiful, multi-colored lettuce grown by a local farmer for their lunch (in early April, in Iowa!) and kindergarteners through sixth graders ask for seconds by the handful.

Or when a group of high school boys who have recently immigrated to the United States approaches me because they want to form a 4-H group to teach their peers about some of the traditional food from their home countries.

Or when a group of teachers sits down together to plan a new school garden and immediately starts to figure out how to incorporate each step of the garden-building process into their classroom curriculum.

However, there are also moments when I feel like I’m running into wall after wall, with no hope in sight.

Days when I FINALLY convince a kid to be brave enough to try a new food, and he almost-maybe throws up a little bit in his hand because he absolutely hates it.

Or when all of the pepper seeds I planted with a classroom fail to sprout, because I accidentally used seeds that were donated last year, and they’re no longer viable.

Or when a kindergartener tastes a new vegetable, and then yells to all the other kids at his table “It tastes like a garbage can!!!”

Mishaps like these are part of my days, too. And that’s okay. Because to create lasting change, we must work slowly. We must persist, and be patient. Yesterday I noticed that ONE of my lettuce seeds had shot up a tiny little sprout. Its tiny leaves were two mini signs of hope. If we keep tending to the seeds we’ve planted in Postville — seeds both literal and metaphorical — we’ll soon have a vibrant, bountiful garden.