We have been refining our mission statement to better articulate what the success of this partnership looks like. The first sentence is:
Farmers To You is a partnership of families and farmers who feed and support each other.
I read this and think, well what more can I say – that is really what this is all about. Our goal is that we create a system where families and farmers really can feed and support each other. Know each other too.
But then I am struck by how many different ideas there are about what a partnership is, and what makes one good.
I recently read a short essay by Charles Handy, one of my favorite organizational thinkers. In it, he shared stories about lengthy product distribution negotiations in China where it always seemed to come down to a cultural commitment to find a deal that worked best for both parties.
When they would conclud with a big dinner and celebration, he would bring out the legal contract for the parties to sign, and they would laugh at him.
What they said was that a good deal was like a partnership where each party made sure the other was so well served there was no concern that it would not work and so it didn’t require a binding legal contract.
Great partnerships are the same.
If we are feeding and supporting each other, then each of our actions benefit the other – the more you give the more you get.
For me, one of the delights of being part of this project is that I have witnessed this aspect of real partnership so many times, and in such wonderful ways. As you have used more of your partner farmers’ food to prepare meals and feed your families, your farmers have been able to offer you more. Each season they plan and invest in their production capacity and quality, which comes back to you, improving all of our food, lives, and health.
This is what community is based on.
Thank you for the opportunity to be part of your family, and join in make this all possible.
Thank you for your partnership. We all sit at the table together.