As someone who is passionate about sustainable food, urban farming, nutrition, and many of the various aspects of the food justice work I sometimes find the amount of organizations and resources in the field to be overwhelming; mostly in a good way as the food system we currently have could be much improved. However, on occasion I’m overwhelmed in a negative way.
I’ve been looking for a job in the field for 6+ months now- depending on what your opinion of really looking is- and I’ve applied to quite a few jobs. I have yet to be gainfully employed. I’m not trying to have a pity party for myself on a public forum (I’ve had many in a private setting) but I do wonder what my future holds. I was interviewed by a wonderful organization but ultimately the position was given to someone else- the luckiest of the over 60 applicants. 60! Let that sink in. 60 applicants for a entry level position in my local area with a growing but relatively small organization.
Many organizations have high aims, well intentioned goals, and caring staff and volunteers. These are all great qualities but I wonder if there is a weak link. A link that could make efforts more effective, streamline the movement, and accelerate the momentum. The link? Too many organizations combating the same evils (hunger, poverty, obesity, malnutrition… the list goes on) without partnering with already existing organizations or institutions.
Like trying to work on a cluttered desk, its a little choatic, underdeveloped, and things get in the way. Usually the things getting in the way are funding, volunteers, and community support. The community might be suffering from whiplash as they don’t know which project to support as so many pop up in a short amount of time.
Being a steward of our resources means using them wisely so they make the greatest impact. As stewards of time, money, green space, real estate, knowledge and more, shouldn’t we be concerned with using these gifts effectively?
My aim here is not to stifle progress; quite the opposite really. I want ensure that progress has the strength to effect the populations and issues we target. But if we’re spread out too thin, the string could snap. The tension lost.
How can we be generous with out gifts but clever in the ways that we use them so that the tension isn’t lost? This is a wonderful thing we have- the capacity to care for others and their health. That capacity can change the world.
In my search to find a job in what is a vast market, I have been overwhelmed by visions of a better future but also saddened by the inability to use my passion for gainful employment. It makes me wonder how many under/un-funded projects have to slip away before we realize that working together in a smaller, but more targeted, way can deepen our impact.
Am I out of bounds? Am I the only one who feels like they’re a little boat lost in a sea of opportunity?