Wooing the World with Grassroots, Sustainable Local Agriculture
by Gretchen Mead, Executive Director
Last week I had the great honor to sit in front of my son’s 1st and 2nd grade class. These 6- through 8-year-olds interviewed me about what Victory Garden Initiative does, asking me: “What inspires you?” and “Do you grow peaches?”
I was there to educate them, but believe me: I learned so much more than they did. The thing that struck me most was how quiet, intentional, focused and absolutely charming this room filled with 42 seven year-olds was. The culture was so purposeful and so kind-hearted, values and ethics permeating everything they learned. The teachers said very little, and the children aspired to participate the best they could. These educators maintained the quietest power over the class that I have witnessed in many years.
Recently, I have been reading and teaching about power in social movement and found some analysis of the United States’ rise to a superpower. Analyst Joseph Nye claims, “The United States has dominated others with [hard economic and military power], but it has also excelled in projecting ‘Soft Power’ with the help of its companies, foundations, universities, churches, and other institutions of civil society; US culture, ideals, and values have been extraordinarily important in [the rise of American power].” He goes on to define Soft Power as “the ability to shape others’ long-term attitudes and preferences” and makes the point that Soft Power is key to long-term national security.
Read the rest on the VGI Blog at the link below: