On the 27th of December 2021, I officially launched this GROWING HOPE project by sharing on post on Facebook about this project I had been working on since July 2021.
5 months ago, there was civil unrest in South Africa. Many people literally feared for their lives. The shops were closed, the fuel stations were closed, buildings were on fire, looting was ongoing and volunteers were guarding their neighborhood streets all night long. Amidst all the chaos and fear, something became very clear: food insecurity means national security is at risk, and from this Growing Hope was born! Please take a look at this project birthed from the ashes.
I also then shared what I was working on in a few of my Whatsapp groups! Within less than 24 hours, I received the first full garden sponsorship, by a UK based artist Jo Heckett, who I had connected with though an online course I participated in during 2019. Though we had never met in person, she saw the vision and jumped in to support almost immediately! In response to what I wrote Jo responded:
"I think it’s wonderful and I’ve sponsored you! 💖💖💖 Let’s start as we mean to go on!" - Jo
I literally jumped for joy when I saw! I sent Jo a voicenote to thank her for supporting the mission, the vision. I thanked her for her trust and for taking such fast action to support this movement to get us off the ground! I shared how much it was like her add "fuel to the fire" and how much it was buoying me up!
I celebrated her for being the very first one to join the movement, and I shared how much it meant to me, how much work it had been to get this project off the ground and how inspired and supported I felt knowing the first garden was sponsored! I shared how grateful I was for her leadership.
She responded with a beautiful message of encouragement and wisdom:
"The first supporter is the push and evidence it's working. That's that I wanted to do! Be that quick input that lifts the whole project up and give it wings! As my mum used to say: nothing succeeds like success. I felt when I saw your post, I knew I could do this! By getting in there now, instantly, quickly, that I could create even more fuel than if I left it for half an hour, an hour a day, two days! And by supporting a whole garden, it creates that full first step forward. It's a real thing. Your project is go - it's actually happening! I'm really glad I could do it." - Jo
Beautiful, isn't it? I absolutely 100% agree with Jo and was over the moon to have her support and encouragement!
That same day, I sent a celebration message about the launching of the project and about the first sponsorship to a close and dear friend, Sam Savard, in the United States. A few days later on New Years Eve, she responded sponsorship of her own and a beautiful message:
"Okay, your Growing Hope project looks/sounds incredible. What a fantastic and amazing difference such a project will make for the lives of so many (children)! Wonderful! Happy to contribute!" - Sam
I was over the moon and called her to thank her for not only sponsoring a garden, and supporting the vison, by being the second sponsor and like Jo, leading the way in supporting the entire mission!
My conversations with both Jo and Sam, reminded me of a TED talk from many years ago by Derek Sivers called HOW TO START A MOVEMENT (it has over 9 million views on TEDs website alone). I quickly rewatched it several times, and I sent it to both of them, deeply moved, thanking them for their leadership and supporting me in being a leader to make this idea become a reality, and not just leave me out there like a "lone nut."
Later that evening, I received a message on Facebook from a women I know, Kelsey Niehaus, asking a bit about the project. I responded, and then I went about my quiet NYE celebration at home. It was only the next day, 1 January 2022, that I realized she had taken the plunge to sponsor a full garden too! I was so surprised, grateful, joyful and feeling so humbled by these three independent woman who had so quickly jumped in and joined me in this mission. She wrote me:
"Thank you again for actually doing this. It's one thing to 'sponsor' towards a venture... but it's a whole nother thing to actually do the work.Thank you for inspiring change." - Kelsey
In just a few days, the first three gardens had been sponsored, and I was so incredibly excited to begin working with the schools once they opened after the holiday break (which was much longer than origionally anticipated).
Then couple friends even sent some contibution amounts and messages cheering me on! Thank you to my dear friends Jan Bull and Gabriel Jacqier. Every bit counts!
This is AMAZING beyond belief. I can give a only small bit at the moment. I will gladly share it. But even more...I am thinking how much we need this here too! We have huge disparity. This would be beautiful model around the world I'm sending this to my daughter's friend here who is involved in environmental stuff. It isn't in my wheelhouse or energy level to launch do.....but I'm inspired to look for others here might be interested in something similar. - Jan
Then two weeks went by.
I continued to share about the project on social media, and many friends and family were celebrating the project, sharing and sending encouraging messages, and some saying they would come back to me about a future sponsorship. One friend, said she could sponsor week 4, but a week or so later, things unfortunately she was unable to sponsor week 4 as we hoped.
I was a little concerned at the point, as it was the last week of January and I was now without q sponsor for that week - starting to wonder question a few things.
Even thouhg in my gut I know that this project is going to be an amazing succes - part of me was wondering: who will the next sponsor be? Will this mission work like I hope? What have I gotten myself into?
But when I stop, and remember why I'm doing this like I shared in this poem I wrote in July 2021, I am reminderf that every step is a step into the unknown, into the adventure, into mystery and magic of life, and it needs courage and commitment and trust!
Then a couple days later, let's just say a miracle happened! There were celebrations and tears on long follow up call on Zoom. And just like that we had a sponsor for Week 4 - by a human who prefers to remain unnamed, but who wants to support this seeding in South Africa!
So now, as January 2022 comes to a close, I want to take a moment to honor these four visionary women and their leadership and support! The foundation of Growing Hope has been sponsored by women!
I am so grateful for their courage and generosity! And I hope it reminds us all that we don't have to wait around for big corporations of businesses or governments for social change or to do something great! I hope we remember that everday normal people can make a difference!
I am so grateful and humbled. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you to these four women for joining this movement and supporting this mission of Growing Hope!
PS: February is fast approaching and I am actively seeking sponsors for sponsorship for the next gardens. This journey is not yet over! There are 48 more gardens needing sponsorships! The goal of Mission 2022, is to plant 52 food gardens and teach a permaculture class at 52 schools in South Africa.
January Sponsors: Week by week!