Teamwork shows the future is bright
Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” If the days of the week of Feb. 10-17 are any indication, then the future arriving at the Motherhouse one day at a time includes mission, energy and teamwork!
This particular glimpse of our future started on Friday, February 10, with a two-day work party organized to replace the siding on the tobacco barn. Guided by Angela Rakes, education and outreach coordinator, the tobacco barn project is a multidisciplinary effort to convert the barn into an education and activity center. Motherhouse farmers Cody Rakes and Trent Farmer milled the lumber from dead ash trees from our woods so the boards were ready and waiting. About a dozen staff and volunteers nailed up siding, removed nails from the original siding, provided food and sent words of encouragement.
The next day brought about 22 Marion County High School students to Loretto with Motherhouse staff members ready to receive them. Members of the Future Farmers of America chapter came to volunteer and did they ever work! In just two hours, they cleared trails, moved stones, spread mulch, picked up limbs and cleaned up around the tobacco barn. If you had been here, you would have seen Living Center residents and Community members lined up at windows watching astounded as the students worked together tirelessly to transform a section of the native plantings in the dining room courtyard. In response to comments about how efficiently they worked, one of the students responded proudly that they are farmers who know how to dress for the cold and to use their minds and bodies to accomplish hard tasks.
Monday, the tobacco barn crew was back at work, and by Monday afternoon, the siding was up and the old boards neatly stacked. Meanwhile, JoAnn Gates, director of Knobs Haven, was busy preparing for the Thursday arrival of 26 members of the Community Farm Alliance (see article in this issue), and organizers of the tobacco barn project were already looking ahead at another kind of collaboration involving educators, naturalists and historians invited to help consider how the barn can best serve local needs.
A few weeks later, Motherhouse staff and Motherhouse Coordinating Board members reflected on our experience. The enthusiasm in the room was palpable as participants described the teamwork as joyful, encouraging, and refreshing. The discussion continued as we talked about what we learned and how we might continue fostering collaboration.
When considering the future of the Motherhouse, we frequently wonder how the work will get done and who will do it. If our recent Motherhouse experience is any indication, the answer is clear: all of us together one day at a time!