There is this anecdote that we like to often quote, partly for amusement but more so for the contextual relevance and incentive. So it goes, that Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer came to Bob Marley and said, "Hey, for a number of reasons we don't want to do the Wailers like this anymore." Bob's response was "Great." Just like that. Simply put. Lol! The eloquence of that response. Not only was it an acknowledgement of their rightful decision, but it was a strong stance in his own. Of course Bob took that great and went on to become just that.
I can remember 2008 and as with most defining moments the pressure was on to, do, be, or make something happen in our lives. Our first child together was on the way, I had recently quit my job and I had no clue how to continue to move forward, in any manner. I only knew that something had to be done. With a idea, a very simple idea, to feed the children at our neighborhood school where they didn't have a lunch program, the first brick in the foundation of what is today MaituFoods was laid.
It's amazing to look back and realize that before there was a "farm to school" movement, before local food was the hipster term and urban farming was a category, MaituFoods and Grow Where You Are with the support of the West End and Cascade community members established a vegan school lunch program for 4 private schools and daycares within that respective community. Together we have cultivated the land and installed green spaces and gardens in homes and communities that were considered food deserts. Without it being hip, or lucrative and profitable we established local, Vegan food programs for Pregnant Women, Post Natal Women and their families, to ensure they have access to nutritious, unprocessed foods. For schools in neighborhoods which people have forgotten or thrown away (until gentrification becomes ideal) we along with our extended team have developed curriculums along with teachers and staffs and install gardens and nutrition and skills programs for our youth all over Atlanta. We have even (with a tremendous amount of grace) been afforded the opportunity to leave the country and learn and teach in East Africa the techniques and skill set that we employ in our work.
We know, if no one else does that the last 6 years have been faced with tons of opposition, unnecessary idle-born conflict, and huge obstacles and yet we keep it moving. Because we know, like Bob, the goal is so much bigger than what we can often see in the moment and the work has to be, must be, done. Even in spite of ourselves. So in the face of negative profit margins, the financial statements in the red, the sometimes little to no support, we keep pushing. We acknowledge our place in this life and in this movement and we carry it forth to the best of our abilities, one meal and one seed at a time, in Greatness.
Go back and check out some of our beginning blog posts and see the journey:
Greetings from Planet Maitu Nov. 2009
Community Jan. 2010
Birthing Community Feb. 2010
My Kitchen Sounds Like: "Clouds" by Prince