My Mission Is a Better Community

My Mission Is a Better Community. That is what Grow, Maintain, Sustain, Explain (my actual mission) really means. It means learning and changing, evolving, and in general — where possible — making life better for others.

I originally posted this as a larger blog that included my thoughts on failure, but I decided to split that out. You can see it here.

When I started Mezzacello I KNEW I knew NOTHING. What I was surprised by was that even in my ignorance I was better off than most of the kids I had met. Especially the kids in the inner city who had neither access to gardens, curiosity, or courage to try.

I live in a community that is in a densely populated urban part of town. In Olde Towne East in downtown Columbus, Ohio gardens were anomalous and scattered and a FARM was a ridiculous fancy. But I had faith.

I knew the secret weapon here was going to be curiosity and wonder.

Jim Bruner

I knew the secret weapon here was going to be curiosity and wonder. Learning is a skill, and by learning more, we learn faster, usually. I was committed to learning was faster by adapting and failing faster.

Bioreactors and the Community Reaction

Well, back to community and mission. I decided three years ago I was going to fail forward into composting as a bioscience project. I studied, I experimented, collected materials, built formidable machines, and systems, and ended up covered in pre-digested bioreactor material — twice, thanks again to the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation and the PAST Foundation.

Learning and Growing

In the case of the bioreactor, my failure the first time was in fluid dynamics and the second time in pipe fittings. My neighbors and friends were confounded in what I was trying to do here. Why would you design something that was so prone to fail?

Which brings me to my last point of this blog post; you can’t build a community without people, ideas, good deeds, and work. A community is a garden, it must be tended and you must suffer the occasional loss and disappointment.

Train yourself to think of these experiences. Record them, reflect on them, share them. These are not failures, they are marks on a wall signifying growth.

Growth chart

Growth is the true heart of any garden, community, friendship, and indeed, humanity itself. No one says, I do not think I should grow anymore. What they say is, I want to be in control of that growth, with no surprises, and that is NOT how this game works.

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