The run is over, the miles are a couple days behind and the adrenaline has final worn off leaving only a retrospective look back. The main two questions I have received since coming back to the office are:
1) How are you feeling?
2) Can you relate running to agriculture?
I feel awesome considering I just ran four marathons in four days covering 104.8 miles. My legs are relatively pain-free with the exception of some pain in my Achilles tendon and a blister on my pinky toe. I attribute the real lack of anything in the area of monumental issues to planning, prepping correctly and not going out so fast on days one and two so I could make it to the end. Please don’t get me wrong — there was chaffing, wanting to quit, aches and hitting the wall just as in any marathon, but generally I can walk up and down stairs without issue.
Running back-to-back marathons takes planning, preparation, and time and so does agriculture. In Convoy of Hope’s International Programs, we use agriculture as one of our tools of exit in the communities we engage. As we go into a community with our Children’s Feeding Initiative, we are planning immediately for our exit as the community becomes self-supporting. When agriculture is the key component in that exit strategy we are planning and assessing to see what the real issues are that keep the community from growing their own food. We plan a program that addresses the people where they are in their culture, living space and ecology. If we don’t look at the local situation, we end up imposing Western lenses which usually can’t be applied in their situation.
We then take time preparing our stakeholders through education. If we just threw seeds at our stakeholders without adequate education and knowledge we can almost guarantee there would be no harvest in the future. Imagine if I tried four marathons in a row without running base mileage ahead of time…I would probably not have finished and ended up worse then before I started.
Lastly, agriculture takes time because we are dealing with nature, soils, plants and bugs. We have to invest in the long-term goal for finishing strong, not just one season of success. One of the reasons we teach more organic-based methodologies is because if we don’t have a good soil management system soil nutrients will run out. We have to plan with generations in mind — not just a season.
So yeah, agriculture matters and if I have to run more marathons to show it I will continue to put one foot in front of the other.
– Dr. Dirt