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The time has come to generate transformation in your community, using the plan you have done and the resources you have gathered.
APPLE PICKING! 1…2…3: Let’s go!
The weekly community apple picking took off on September 9th with a good amount of people from the community joining in and picking apples for 2 hours in the afternoon.
The action went on for another six weeks every Thursday until the October 14th.
NOT A FINISHED PRODUCT
This project goes beyond the picking of the apples and involves juicing them, labeling the bottles and selling them and finally gifting the profit to a fruit garden of a social initiative. This means that it is a whole process stretching over at least two months. Therefore what I can give now is not a completely finished project description with a clear outcome. The project is still running and it is taking shape every day and involves more and more people with every week.
Throughout the past weeks the idea has been growing and changing; apples got picked in big amounts; they are being juiced, come back in bottles; a label has been printed and put on the bottles; the juice is sold to the local café “Järna Kafe”; price negotiations took place; a social initiative is being found that will receive the profit… While all of this is happening there is always more apples that are ready to be picked: a true abundance is offered to this community and the weekly apple picking is giving opportunity for people to come together, to meet and to take care of the fruit of this place.
Get a taste of what one afternoon was like! This video has been filmed during the first apple picking afternoon and it is produced and edited by Mathijs Poppe and Merlin Jesch. Special Thanks go to Mathijs who spent long hours of work for this pearl!
FACTS & NUMBERS
Estimation of the TOTAL:
- Apples picked: 2500 kg (= 38 000 apples!)
- Bottles of apple juice: 3500 bottles
- The juice is bought by the local café called Järna Kafe for 11 SEK per bottle: the estimation for the total profit is 1500 Euros (incl. expenses). A part of this money will be used for all the expenses that the project produced, especially taking care of the apple trees so that they can give this abundance of apples again next year. The rest, the profit, will be a donation to a social initiative that wants to establish a “sister fruit garden”.
- The total of people who joined in the picking and helped in general with many different aspects is around 200 hands (or more)! The hours of work put into this project are 300 (or more)!
Some impressions from picking apples, storing them, driving to the juicer, making juice on our own…Have a look!
The community joined in, a bit shy and reluctant though. There are certain people in the community that are important for the social relationships that joined the weekly apple-picking afternoons and formed an important base for the project. It seems to me that this community first needs a strong core team of carriers that comes together. Then the wider community will be more able to naturally join in. Those carrying people have already been there in every apple picking afternoon, meeting and strengthening their connection and dreams for this place!
The YIP students are taking great responsibility and co-shape the action, they help, support, take on practical tasks: they are creating a strong connection to the place and the people and the project turns out to be a unique opportunity for them to meet both place and people.
It is a big challenge to get the whole community involved. The various business people on the Seminar are always busy. Everybody loves the project, the feedback is very good and everyone appreciates it and sees its importance and so on… But that’s where it stays for most of them, many people haven’t joined in. When I asked why, the answer was always: “I am too busy, I don’t have time”. What could make them give first priority to this community project? What invitation do I have to give them in order for them to be able to put the work loads aside, step outside and pick apples for 2 hours once a week and create connections with all the other people who work here everyday? This question has been very present during the entire process and it will stay with me.
Shaping the idea
As this way of harvesting the apples has not been done before, the ideas and the plan has been in constant change. Through many conversations it became clear that we don’t want to support a random social initiative in the world, but the clear dream is to find an social initiative that is trying to establish a fruit garden and become a “sister garden” to the Seminar garden. The support has to be sustainable and when working with gardens, especially trees, one has to think in years. The dream is to have a similar action happening next year and do this for 5 years in a row and then the sister garden would hopefully be self-sustaining. But it is mostly about creating a relationship between this place and another place in the world that can feed from the fruit of this place and vice versa. It is great to realize that we can gift to the world. It is important to acknowledge that this place here is a little paradise and that there is places in the world that are in dare need of support.
Two sides of the project
- It is working very well! It is fulfilling its aim; it creates a new seed in this community; it inspires; makes connections between people and also strongly between the human and garden; it uses the abundance that the community has and it gives a lot of joy to everyone who joins: it’s fun to pick apples and valuable meetings take place!
- The other side is that it could be so much bigger, so many more people could take part in the weekly apple picking and so many more apples could be picked. There are still a lot of apples that rot on the compost because we are not enough people to come and pick. And there are a lot of very busy people that find it very hard to take the step and get out of their offices and interact with the community through this action.
The full potential of the community apple picking is not reached yet: Given the Swedish culture, one has to be thinking in a long term and be very calm and patient. This is the first time that the apples are picked in a way that involves the whole community – no wonder people are not used to it yet. A seed has just been planted and it will grow with the years to come and hopefully the community apple picking will become part of this community. This is the potential of my action and the dream that I carry with implementing it.
APPLE PICKING DIARY
The following gives some bits and pieces of impressions and thoughts put down during the process of the project.
week 1: 9th September
Preparation: I am going around and inviting everyone to the apple picking. Handing out flyers, putting them up, inviting people on facebook. Entering random offices that I haven’t even known exist and invite busy people to come and pick apples: a great experience, especially as I meet and get to talk to a lot of new people in the community!
The garden gives a certain grounded happiness to everyone. After the apple picking people come towards me with smiling faces and express how nice and well-doing this afternoon was for them. Some say that they spent their time picking apples with someone they didn’t know before and that they had a good conversation with this person, they feel very enriched. I for myself reflect that I spent a while on a tree with Misha, a YIP student, who I didn’t know at all from before and now we have a real connection just through this little time of sitting in a tree together, picking apples. I am amazed how much collaborative work brings people together. I also reflect that I was laughing a lot during this afternoon and that I forgot completely about time and other things I should do: I was completely in the moment.
week 2: 16th September
This afternoon only 10 people show up. I guess that it has to do with my lack of advertisement and also because the YIP students are all gone. I am first disappointed and even get into a little conflict with a person that I would never want to hurt. Then I change my perspective, look at the situation with positive glasses and start appreciating each and everyone who came and I fully enjoy the afternoon. We are a small group, but nevertheless we pick the same amount as the week before: 200 kg! I realize that the heart of the community is present: all the people that care very much about the human connections in this place came to pick apples. Great conversations happen, it feels like a good base for the community is being build up through these people meeting and talking in a not-work related context, just as friends who pick apples together.
week 3: 23rd September
This week I invite people with a challenge: We aim to pick 400 kg apples in these 2 hours, we want to double the amount we’ve picked so far per afternoon. When I drove to the juicer, I realized that I could fit the double amount of apples into the car, so we should pick more in order to really make one trip to the juicer being worth it.
It is great to see how more and more people join in. We start with only 5 people and at some point there are about 20 involved. The trees are spread over a wide area, and I loose track of who is there as I am busy with some trees further away to pick with a few people. As I come back to the main area I see bags and bags and bags full of apples: during 2 hours we all picked 500 kg of apples!!! I am fully amazed. The challenge got taken up and it worked: we did it! Now the car will be more than full when I drive to the juicer next time…
Trips to the juicer
The rather long trips to the juicer that take place in a two weeks rhythm are a very refreshing and inspiring part of the project (which I didn’t expect at all)! I usually drive with someone else and every time I am enriched with a great conversation, I meet new facets of this person and to bring the apples and get back the bottled juice is a very satisfying thing to do!
Creating the label for the juice:
I experienced a little frustrating and learnful surprise when I got the labels delivered from the printer: all 3500 were cut in the wrong size! Ups! It is not much (they are 3mm to big on each side), but I had to swallow twice to handle this after all the effort that I had put into creating the labels. It was the printers mistake, and first I got quite frustrated. But then I realized as well that this is the perfect learning experience for me to deal with imperfection and with acceptance of those things that just happen. (It is not the first time something like this happens and for sure not the last time… There is always going to be small things that won’t work out the way I plan or want them to happen. I decided to see this as a little hint from the universe telling me that nobody is perfect! And then the printer gave me a price reduction and lowered it 100 euros! 🙂
Finding a “sister garden” that will receive the donation
I get up in the morning, thinking that today I will do some research on projects that want to build up a fruit garden that serves their community and need some financial start up help. I log into my facebook account and I find a message from girl I don’t know who writes me about a project that she and friends started together with local people from Bahia, Brasil and she tells me that the initiative is at the exact point of starting a big fruitgarden. They need support for this!
I contact another friend who founded a community school/kindergarden initiative in Kenia at Lake Viktoria. The answer I get is astonishing: Also this project is at the exact point of wishing to start a garden with many fruit trees, but in order to do so, they need financial support.
(Until now, there is still no definite decision on which will be the “sister garden”. This part of the action is work in progress, updates will be posted here as soon as we know more.)
THINGS ARE FALLING INTO PLACE
Things are falling into place. This is my experience with the community action for my Way of the Warrior: as soon as I decided to take the step and endeavor on the adventure of bringing people together through weekly community apple picking, everything started to move to make it happen. People came, helpers showed up, ideas came from many different sides, the project developed more and more: inspiration, help and next steps always came whenever they were needed.
I truly had no idea what I was setting off for when I decided to take on the apple picking. It was a small conversation with one of the gardeners and suddenly the idea was in the air, I took it down to earth and through this a whole action unfolded and is still unfolding every day…
The effect that this project will have cannot really be measured yet clearly. There are many layers to it:
• Creating human connections and through this strengthening the community
• Creating a real connection with the earth, the place, the trees and with the fruit
• Seeing abundance and making use of it
• Gifting a part of the profit away and through this creating a different flow of money, creating a new form of economy for this garden
• Practical: making sure that most of the apples are juiced, used or eaten and not just fall down and end up rotting on the compost
• Highlighting the fruit of this community, appreciating this immense gift of nature
• Preparing the ground for future actions that invite the whole community to take part in; especially making the first step for a new way of working with the immense apple abundance of this place
There are outer ripples that this project causes and there are more subtle ones that take place on an inner level, ripples that lay seeds for future actions.