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Nov. 10, 2009
New Orleans—Day 3
In Good Company. Day 3. New Orleans.

Today was a lot of hard work in the garden and in Alice Cousin's house. The storm stayed away for the most part with a bit of rain drizzle and quit a bit of wind.

I learned a lot from the Farm and Garden program in the Lower 9th ward today. They design and implement all of their designs and projects with full input from the community. Program directors and volunteer Architects DO NOT impose their ideas on the land for the community. The local residents design the gardens to match what they need for short and long term food infrastructure. One lesson I gathered today was that the Lower 9 had a vegetable garden every 3rd lot and a bartering system throughout the community before the storm. Now, there are very few people, many vacant lots, and degrading abandoned houses. It's shocking. Mac, the Executive Director of the Lower 9 Village Center also taught us about patience and finding meaning in life. He lost EVERYTHING in the storm and told us he learned a great deal of patience with the world and a new found perspective that things do not make life valuable; community makes life meaningful.

I also learned about a regenerative art project called KK Projects, that heals community, land, and housing through art done by the community members. Kirsha lives in an area decimated where she has purchased 5 houses, 2 or 3 that the city would like to tear down. She's teaching urban farming to the local kids who she said would otherwise be running around shooting each other and selling drugs. The kids learn how to grow and sell the produce and keep the accounting books after negotiating the price at local markets.

The devastation that's been endured, and the hope, gratitude, and innovation that I'm witnessing would be an exceptional gift to any organization. It creates acceptance, “It is what it is” was repeated many times already this week, and an unmatched work ethic that comes from appreciation. People here aren't discouraged by things not going to plan, they just figure it out as a team with gratefulness for the numerous ideas from people. Anything can be accomplished from this attitude. I want this in all the teams I work with in the future!

Talk to you soon!
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Office Life, 2080

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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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