I was recently having a conversation with a new acquaintance at a mutual volunteer shift. He was showing me how to do this particular job signing people in so they could buy their bulk organic foods–the particulars of the job aren’t really important. The point is, the job was a little inefficient and I pointed this out and we began to talk about it. There wasn’t really that much traffic so I suggested maybe the shift could be shorter? He made the point that if we were really going for efficiency there didn’t need to be someone checking people in at all; a lot of systems run successfully on the honor system and this one could too.
Then he told me this story (which I guess is used in business school a lot–I have heard): There was a businessman on vacation on a small island where some people made their living fishing. He saw a fisherman throwing his line in the water, waiting, and pulling up one fish at a time. The businessman came up to the fisherman and said, “You know, you could really maximize your time here, scale up, get a bigger boat and hire some people and catch more fish in less time.” The fisherman said, “But I like to fish.”
I don’t know if that’s the most elegant telling of that story, but the basic idea we were discussing afterward is that efficiency is overrated. You can efficient yourself out of ever talking to another person or making human connections. You can be so efficient that the simple act of waiting or small talk becomes too much for you. The value of efficiency is not as strong when you’re truly doing something you like to do. The stacking benefits (as Manju has been talking about) of having that inefficient person checking people in at the bulk food job include: people meeting other people in the program, having members put in time and be invested in the system, catching small mistakes that might go unnoticed, etc.
Rishi has talked about how much he hates the idea of efficiency being the highest goal. Some people claim that farming in the way we’re doing it is less efficient than large scale farms. It’s a simple mis-allocation of priorities. Efficiency is valued too highly by our society and mis-labeled; Sarvodaya uses less resources and creates less harm than large scale commercial farms and makes better food…and yet it’s inefficient?
It’s becoming my goal now to strive to live doing things I like and love and count that time as well spent. There’s a meditative quality to this lifestyle as well. Instead of striving and pushing and cutting things out, it wraps all time in the pattern of moment to moment consciousness, including not excluding.
Life has caught up with me once again and I have been putting my Sarvodaya posts on the back burner. I haven’t posted for the past 3 weeks, and I’m afraid that too much time has passed to recall enough memory for those missing entries. However, I would like to mention a brief summary of everything that I have learned and experienced in the past month. We’ve now approached the beginning of December, where winter and holiday season is in full swing. November allowed me to explore gratitude and embrace all that was around me. I celebrated Thanksgiving with my family, and found abundance in love and food. I was also able to attend the Member’s Appreciation Potluck at the Growing Home, which really opened my eyes to what I was contributing towards, and how my community was benefiting from my participation in healing the Earth. I have learned more than I could’ve hoped from my internship here at the farm, and continue to appreciate my time here daily.
We finally said good bye to the summer harvest, and it has been very rewarding to see the winter vegetables come in, such as the beets, radishes, sweet potatoes, kale, daikon, and much more. I learned that salads are best in the winter, since lettuce is a winter vegetable, which was surprising to find out because I have thought of salads to be a summer food all my life. The constant production of mass agriculture has lead us to believe that all produce should be grown at all times, when that simply isn’t true. There are certain fruits and vegetables that taste amazing during different times of the year, and we tend to forget this because of the brainwashing of our food industry.
I am excited to see the continual growth in my remaining weeks at the farm, and hope to gain more wisdom before my internship comes to an end in the next two weeks. An era will soon be over, but I can’t wait for the journey ahead!
Love and gratitude,
So much abundance at the farm this winter season! I have been quite busy so it has been hard to sit down and type out some entries, but I wanted to let you all know that things are well, and so much is still being learned! My stint at the farm is quickly coming to an end, but I am excited to soak in the last few bits of this lifestyle while I am here 🙂 More updates to be had later!
Love and light,
Persimmons! I feel like I’ve only truly discovered persimmons in the last few years. I missed out on this fruit for a long time. Recently I’ve been enjoying hachiya persimmons at Sarvodaya; like really, really enjoying them. I feel like you can’t eat a hachiya in public. It’s a private, messy, drip down your chin kind of fruit. Seriously delicious.
And then recently I found an ad on the timebank website for someone to harvest persimmon from a backyard garden. If you’re not familiar with the Los Angeles timebank, please click here: http://www.asntb.com/. The timebank is an awesome way to exchange goods and services for ‘time dollars,’ where everyone’s time is valued equally and the federal dollar is not necessary. It’s a really valuable resource bank of people helping people in a way that rewards effort and involvement. So anyway, I went to this woman’s house who advertised about the persimmon and harvested about 10 pounds for my house! We’ve been eating them and giving them away. This variety she says, is called the American persimmon (who knows what exact variety it is…) and it can be eaten super squishy like a hachiya or firm like a fuyu. I’ve been eating them both ways and they’re real good. Today I made a bread with them, which is tasty too: http://missioncommunitymarket.org/2010/10/vegan-persimmon-bread/
There are varieties of persimmon that are native to the US. In fact that guy John Smith is quoted (supposedly), “If it be not ripe it will drawe a mans mouth awrie with much torment.” Persimmons of certain varieties can be super astringent and make you regret that first bite. But once the first peoples told the immigrants about the fact that the fruit had to be ripe they liked them more and settlers of Jamestown said they were “very sweet and pleasant to the taste, and yield on distillation, after fermentation, a quality of spirits.” There are other persimmons native to China, which later spread to Korea and Japan.
Persimmons must be pollinated to have a seed, so many un-pollinated tree’s fruits do not have seeds. Persimmons are very high in Vitamin A and fiber. They also contain antioxidants that are known to have antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties.
My housemate today tried one for the first time. He said he tasted cinnamon! I do feel like persimmons have some kind of wintry, holiday vibe.
Enjoy them while they’re in season,