My children have gone into business for themselves this summer. They are operating a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) in which they have sold weekly shares of our garden produce for a fifteen-week period during the growing season. It has been an interesting experience on a number of levels.
For one thing, even though we have sold produce for several years at a nearby Farmers’ Market, this is our first time undertaking such an operation as this. With first-time experiences comes remarkable opportunity for learning. We are definitely doing that.
For another thing, this has been a tough year for gardening. Due to the substantial amount of rain and cooler temperatures, every day is a battle for us. We have lost crops due to excess moisture, to suffocating weeds and to increased numbers of insects. Other crops have been delayed in maturity because of the lack of sun and heat. This has left us scrambling for ways to give our customers what we really want to give them. Yes, they were fully informed of the risks of buying a share of produce before the seeds even went in the ground. Still, though, we want them to be satisfied with their investment. We have found ourselves making adjustments in when they receive their shares in order to stretch the opportunity for harvesting, providing them with an extra week of produce, and repeatedly giving away what we would normally have eaten or preserved in order to honor our commitment.
There is also the fact that these young entrepreneurs are, well, young. At ages 11, 13 and 15, they are not well disciplined in the art of selflessness. They get lazy, distracted and impatient at times.
Just like their mother. (Ouch.)
So, my husband and I find ourselves honing in on these opportunities for inner character development.
Be thorough in making sure every customer has every item. Diligence.
Take responsibility for your mistakes and go above and beyond to make things right. Humility.
Make sure produce is washed and in good shape when it leaves our property. Pride in good service.
Do what needs done throughout the week by weeding, planting, preventing pest damage, mulching and harvesting so that our customers’ options are extended for as long as possible. Self-discipline.
Work as a team, pulling your share of the load with a good attitude. Cooperation.
Go above and beyond, recognizing the investment customers have made in you as well as in your business. Self-sacrifice.
These traits are not easy for me to teach, because I personally struggle with a few of them myself. What a wonderful thing it will be if our children learn these disciplines sooner rather than later. As we continue to fight the mud, the weeds, the bugs and the loss of crops, this is truly my prayer for our children.