Adam Schwartz -getting us through covid

Recently, I co-hosted a Zoom Happy Hour for fellow members of the Fredericksburg Food Co-op (FFC) that are planning to open our doors later this year. During the few minutes before the official start of the social gathering, I was chatting with the co-hosts. 

As we discussed the details about the upcoming call, I was also cooking my dinner that I was preparing to eat after the call. It was rice and red curry. I noticed one of the co-hosts, Chris the new general manager of the FFC,  happened to be wearing a shirt with, “Rice is Nice” printed on the front. We shared a smile.  

As the Happy Hour was underway, I remarked to one participant how interesting her backdrop looked on the call.  It included a rack with many spools of colorful thread. A much better backdrop than most of the virtual backgrounds I’ve seen lately.  When I asked, she mentioned an artist friend made it for her in exchange for some shirts she had made for him.

The Happy Hour continued pleasantly with everyone sharing their hidden gems of Fredericksburg area. After about an hour we bid good night.

As I reflected on the call as I ate my dinner, in the quiet that follows most of my Zoom calls. I thought about the one grain of rice that fell to the floor when I was measuring my portion for my dinner… How unusual that I made the effort to pick up one piece of rice and placed it in the pot. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,  I would have tossed it in the trash. 

A single grain of rice is almost meaningless when you think of it as excess.

The same can be said about a string of thread. How many times have we pulled, cut, or bit off a single thread and absently mindedly just tossed it aside?    

Like a grain of rice, a single thread can feel almost meaningless.

The keyword in those sentences is almost

A bowl of rice is made up of nothing more than a bunch of individual grains that alone are virtually tasteless with minimal nutrition. Yet when it comes together with many other grains of rice – the taste comes to life. The grains together provide abundant nutrition and complements a plentiful meal. 

Like the grain, a single thread is barely felt, let alone noticed, yet when weaved or sewn together with other threads, it can make beautiful and practical clothes that add color to our everyday life. The thread’s value is significantly enhanced when it is sewn together to keep us warm or make us look nice on a dinner date.

Cooperatives are built on this same premise. 

While one of us can only do so much, many of us can do just about anything. One person acting for themselves only can seem like a lone grain of rice or a solitary thread, but when that person joins a co-op, the opportunity to align purpose with others enhances the value of any act.  

If there is a problem there is a cooperative solution. 

You’ve heard the phrase, “We’re all in this together.” Well, it’s true. Never in our lifetime has the entire world had to manage to live and work with the same event at the same time. 

Globally, we are continuing to try and navigate the path of what the world will look like as COVID-19 is still a menacing presence.  While at the same time an increasing number of countries especially the USA is dealing with how do we confront and abolish racism. More on that soon.

If we are truly all in this together, acting with respect and appreciation for each other, our collective acts of grace, compassion, and support will get us through. 

One grain of rice alone does not make a dish, but the grains together make a fulfilling meal. 

One piece of thread can’t make a coat but woven together with other pieces of thread make a wardrobe.


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