Hey everybody! Welcome back for this week's podcast episode and blog post. We had the wonderful opportunity to talk with Jessica Gnad and share her story in creating a regenerative livelihood. She mentions that the change came to her and in so many ways it did, but she definitely showed up in this amazing story of transformation.
For those wanting to dive deeper into Jessica's work and to reach out to her, she mentioned that you can connect with her on my favorite social platform, LinkedIn. Here's a link to Jessica's LinkedIn profile and a link to her website to dive more into her work as a soil health consultant.
Jessica's story is one that has been untold for too long. It is becoming more known that our farmers' health and livelihoods are at risk, but we often don't get to hear that story from those directly involved in the farming community. Most everyone that hits our content knows that chemicals are bad, but I don't think many of us in the permaculture and regenerative network really have a clear idea of what that means for our farmers and the community that supports them. We also don't necessarily consider what it means to the individual livelihoods that are interwoven in an industry that is reliant on chemical inputs. We get to see the deeply personal side of those working within the current agriculture system as Jessica tells the story of her and her husband's health crises and how it led to a passion and profession in soil health.
We often see what we want to see and our eyes can easily glance past the subtle solutions to our challenges when it is either inconvenient or seemingly insignificant. I think we can all attest to this, but in Jessica's story she says, "Eat the change you want to see." How many ways can we change that old Gandhi quote? Nevertheless, it's true. It seems like a simple decision to show up with your dollar and start making food purchases that don't use chemical inputs. Even better would be to start growing some of your own food and begin to have a deeper respect for the farmers that bring a majority of our food to our tables.
It seems like a small and simple decision, but I feel we make it much harder than it really needs to be. When the answer is doing something small to make a big difference further down the line we justify our decision not to make that small change. We can tell ourselves that it's too expensive to buy organic or locally grown food. We can say that we don't have the time to garden or grow any amount of our own food. "It's too hard", "I don't know how to", "This is all I know", "I like my convenience", or here's a good one, "My effort doesn't make a difference". We have plenty of excuses, but the true belief we hold deep down is that small things do make a huge difference and we have complete control over them.
What I find ironic is that I can often stand back and say, "Oh that change is so easy!" with an indignant look on my face. "Why doesn't everyone start gardening or buy one or two more organic items at the grocery store?" Then, I turn around and complain that I don't make enough money, I don't have enough time in the day, or here's one that I'm really trying to move away from, people don't care enough to make a change.
There is no difference between the excuses some people tell themselves about the food they choose to eat and the excuses I tell myself for not making the changes I want to see in the world. They still have solutions that are relatively small and simple to apply.
In Jessica's story, she and her family are called to change because of a health crisis. It doesn't mean they weren't already making those changes in their life, it just means that those changes meant much more to them when there was some sort of urgency and importance to them.
The same goes for any other change we need to make in our lives. You have to want it bad enough. There has to be some sort of urgency to make change happen or that change has to involve something important to us. Does the health and prosperity of our farmers matter enough for us to make chemical-free choices? Does our own health matter enough? For those involved in the work of regeneration, does your business and livelihood matter enough to make the small and slow solutions now? Do we need a crisis to happen in order for us to make it more urgent? They are all just questions, but I hope we ask ourselves them and start making the changes we want and need in our lives now.
You may have taken something different out of the story Jessica told and if you did that's great! Please share in the comments or within the Slack community found in the Pando Academy Commons. Here's the main thing I've taken from her story and it is the Seed of the Week:
We have to start training ourselves to recognize the simple and subtle solutions that exist all around us. Here's what I have in mind to start doing. In the book, "Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature" there is a Core Routine that we can start applying in our lives right now that will help us train our eyes to things we might overlook. The routine is this: question and track everything. Become a curious investigator in your life and question everything. Track back to the root of a thought you are having or an emotion you are feeling. Investigate the behavior of those around you, don't be a judge, just be curious to know. Why did she make that decision? Why did they choose to make that purchase? As you do this you'll find the subtle solutions that exist in everything.
Don't ask me why it works this way quite yet, I'm still figuring it out myself, but I can tell you that as you develop a habit of questioning and tracking everything around you, you will start to understand everything on a deeper level. You will understand the challenges and obstacles to creating the change you wish to see on a deeper level. Finally, solutions will come naturally as if they were already there to begin with.
Try it out and let us know how it works for you in the Pando Academy Commons.
Keep Growing Permies!
Previous Episode: Finding Courage to Take the Road Less Traveled with Cynthia Tina
After subscribing here make sure you check your email and confirm that you really want to be a part of the amazingness coming to your inbox weekly as each podcast goes live.