For people who grow their own food, this time of year is a mix of stress and excitement. Seedlings are coming up, but in many parts of the country, it’s too early to put them out. The bees are beginning to get busy, but sometimes they swarm. The worries of a warm summer are coveted because of the unrelenting rain and cool spells that inevitably come. Animals birth, and some die. Farmers start ramping up the season, but have to wait for the always elusive “goldilocks” weather. This mix and match dichotomy is not limited to seasons.
Most of us live in societies where money is the method behind the madness, but want to trust our food while not paying unreal prices for it. For those brave souls who decide to give us what we want, they must try to do the right thing while figuring out the right thing to do in order to keep doing what they love. There must be a pay-off but the cost of that pay-off needs to be taken into consideration as well. Do you sell your soul out of necessity, or is it necessary to keep your principles in order to progress?
From farming come these philosophical conundrums. Gardening is not different. Running a business is, well… no different. Many of us begin the long road of life considering profit as progress. Some of us realize that profit in fact stands in the way of progress. But, these are not solutions; they are challenges that each of us seem to face no matter what we do. I have a dream, yes, but that dream and the reality that it creates are often not one in the same. Profit and progress come in many forms.
A few principles might help. First, be honest; not only with everyone around you, but perhaps most importantly with yourself. Second, know the hill that you will “die on”. There comes a time when profit is no longer a measure of progress, but a detriment to development. The change from one to the other is often slight and barely perceptible. Third, know why you do what you do. We often ask strangers “What do you do?” Perhaps we should start asking: “Why do you do what you do?” A more pertinent question if we are to profit from our progress.