Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Good Work in Progress: Sunny Meadows Flower Farm

“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.”

A friend posted that quote on twitter recently and it’s been stuck in my head.

Last month I was invited on a great food tour of Columbus hosted by Experience Columbus. I joined a small group of food writers and editors and we visited farms, restaurants, bakeries, cafes, even a vodka distillery. We saw a lot of people who had found their work and had given themselves to making delicious things. I hope to post more about it all soon, because there are some really neat things going on in Columbus.

I’m surprised to hear myself sometimes, in the company of people I’m just meeting, because I talk up Cincinnati like I’m being paid. I’m not sure when that started. I used to complain about the usual things – nothing to do, conservative mindset – and moan about how I wanted to move to Chicago or New York. Within the past year or so, I’ve become kind of a cheerleader for Cincinnati when I’m telling strangers about it.

Anyway, the great things I saw in Columbus got me even more excited to come home to Cincy and support the things happening in my own city, so I want to tell you about some of the best things I saw there.

Our first tour stop was Sunny Meadows Flower Farm. We were told it was owned by a young couple, Gretel and Steve Adams, growing flowers and vegetables on the land surrounding their house just southeast of Columbus’s downtown.

Here’s the really crazy part – I realized once our tour started that I knew Gretel. We had worked together at a dining hall at Miami University (she was a Student Manager and I was a lowly, plain old student employee). We used to dish out mashed potatoes to Freshmen with meal plans. Now, she spends her days working on their farm, selling their goods at farmers’ markets, and making soap by hand.

She’s living that self-sustainable lifestyle that seems exotic and so unattainable to me. I love the idea of growing my own food, but let’s face it, I’m not going to get away from shopping at Kroger any time soon. I guess it’s just not my work, at least right now, but it was wonderful to see someone I knew in college finding her own work.

It’s definitely work, too. Gretel and Steve talked about the difficulties, the frustrations, the fact that they don’t have enough time to spend doing much else. It was obvious spending time with them, though, that they were happy in what they were doing.

If you’re around the Columbus area, chances are you can buy some of Gretel and Steve’s flowers or produce somewhere near you. It’s worth tracking them down at a Farmer’s Market, they’re pretty cool people doing some really excellent work.

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