Little Red Tractors or Big Green Ones?
June 30, 2017
I have always talked about the little red tractors and how they are the ones that get it done in and on the farm. I have also talked about the Big Green ones that pull the load when there is a lot of heavy lifting. There are some tractors that I don’t really know how to classify. I just know one thing about them. They get the job done with the least amount of fuss and noise.
There has been a lot of noise recently around a “new” program that provides vouchers or checks to veterans for fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers. I am excited and encouraged by this attention to a great idea. About a year ago, the board asked me to look at the program and see if there was potential for us to build this into a national one that all states could use to help their veterans. So, the first thing I did was get into the field.
Several years before I had been talking with one of the board members about a new program he was starting. He told me how he was standing on the steps in Bridgeport for the annual opening of a farmers market and a gentleman walked out of the building and asked him what was going on. He told him about the farmers market and how they also provided vouchers to seniors and WIC families for fresh fruits and vegetables. The gentleman remarked that he had some veterans that could really use some fresh fruits and vegetables. The light bulb went on and just like that the genius emerged. It always amazes me that the best programs seem to have the humblest of beginnings and the simplest of intent. What makes them great is that they are sustainable by being efficient in delivery.
About the same time, a similar conversation was happening in New York. So a great idea began in two different places simultaneously. The common denominators were 4 guys trying to fix a problem with a simple solution without a lot of noise, but with a lot of hard work. So I didn’t have to look very hard to find the geniuses to ask how it should be done. The really amazing thing is that these guys wanted no credit, no fanfare, and no more money for their ideas and work. As I was working on the report for the board, I realized the genius in their simplicity and similarities in their approach.
Rick Macsuga was the guy in Connecticut standing on the steps in Bridgeport with the genius thought and humble approach both to the delivery and accreditation of that idea. To move forward with this initiative without acknowledging his dedication and brilliance in this legacy would be dishonest.
The best part of this work is the people that allow me to be around them. I am continually in awe of those that are in the rows doing the work with little reward and recognition. We are all indebted to those little red and big green tractors. Thank you Rick! I hope that there are lots of birds and smooth waters on the Cape for you this summer!