It was a Monday. Hot and tired – running short on motivation. My day was not quite over, a drive to Flint lay ahead. It took everything in me to get in my car.
I have only been to Flint a handful of times. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I did know that I was invited by Michigan Food & Farming Systems to attend a Women in Agriculture Network Meeting. What did this mean? I wasn’t 100% sure, but I was going to find out.
I got off the highway where my directions told me. Snaked through a neighborhood. Like Lansing, some of the houses could use a little more love than others. Finally, I arrived at Yevette’s Gourmet Taco Garden. Located on what appeared to be a newly vacant lot.
I could never have expected what would transpire at this meeting……
Yevette, is the woman behind the Gourmet Taco Garden. She is a real person. Vibrant, and full of life and faith. Her garden resides on what used to be a church. This church was a very important place to the community. People came to heal and find peace. As Yevette would say. “Food is now grown on this holy place and it is blessed.” The garden provides the community with nutrition and nourishment. It is a place that community members can still go to for healing and peace….toiling in the dirt and watching life emerge from their hard work.
With her gourmet taco garden, Yevette is building a life for herself. She plans to use the produce from the garden to make salsa, which will also translate into food trucks. Yevette is a dreamer. She doesn’t plan on having just one food truck, but a fleet. She will be the first person in Flint to own a fleet of food trucks.
Yevette has already purchased one food truck and is in the process of installing a beautiful stainless steel kitchen (her words).
This network empowers the women who participate. Through interacting with one another, women learn they can accomplish so much more than they thought. They can strap equipment to a pick-up truck and haul it to get fixed, they can assemble a hoop house, they can grow vegetables and sell them at a farmer’s market, and they can lean on each other when they get stuck.
We were asked, “Who keeps you going in this work? How do they keep you going?”
We went round and round giving our answers:
- Pure determination and stubbornness
- Faith in God
- Children and Grand Children
Embarking on a new life journey, whether it is becoming a farmer, starting a business, healing from a tragedy, or going back to school, is scary. It is hard to step out into the unknown, to change your way of life and it tests you more than you thought was possible. Imagine the power of knowing you are not alone. There is a network of people out there just like you. It gets a little less scary, the unknown becomes easier to tackle and the nagging voice saying, “Can I really do this?”, becomes a little quieter.
Now imagine if those outside of the network came together and said, “We want to help you succeed.” We see that Michigan Food & Farming Systems and the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing can and will help you achieve your dreams. As a result, a better-more vibrant community is created.
When I gave my answer to who keeps you going, I immediately thought of my Mom. Then I thought a little harder and realized I also keep myself going. This campaign and new life journey is teaching me that I can rely and trust in myself again, which makes it possible to keep fighting. To keep trying to raise $30,000 so that like me, women can realize their potential and achieve their dreams.
After the meeting, I continued to think about that question. I have realized that Yevette and all the women at that meeting are also keeping me going. They are my fuel, the energy I need to wake up every morning and say to myself, The impossible is possible. If I keep trying, keep putting my ideas out there, eventually I will raise $30,000 for two organizations that I believe deeply in. And more importantly have seen with my own eyes how they help women achieve their potential and dare to dream.