Abundance. A quick google search tells me that abundance is defined as a very large quantity of something. When there is more than enough of something. This is the key…more than enough. When I find myself with an abundance, I am driven to share it.
Every time I have shared my abundance, I have been met with abundance in return. Two years ago, a friend and neighbour offered me a patch of basil. She had harvested all she needed for the year and wondered if I might find a use for the rest. I immediately thought PESTO! And while I could have bought all the ingredients needed and made a big batch for my freezer that would occasionally grace the tables as gifts for friends and family, I had much bigger plans. I wanted to create a community opportunity for a young man I support.
Nick is a 23-year-old man who benefits from daily support. He’s a gentle giant, standing over 6 feet tall, with a heart of gold and loves to hug everyone. For many people with diverse abilities, loneliness, social isolation and lack of meaningful community connections are a real issue. While I recognize this issue, I never see a lack of opportunity. And this patch of basil was an opportunity.
I created a small Facebook group of about 12 friends I thought might be interested in being a part of my little abundance project. I put the call out, asking people to donate items they already had in their cupboards: olive oil (half full bottles were encouraged), nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, other herbs, and jars. Each person that donated, would receive a share of the pesto. I quickly had more people offering to donate than I had enough pesto for.
Nick and I drove around our community, picked up the ingredients, and brought them home to make the pesto. The following week we delivered them along with big hugs and smiles. Every friend and neighbour that participated was delighted to partake and raved about the end result. It was, by far, one of the most delicious pestos I have ever made. I think the key ingredient which made this pesto, was connection. We weren’t just delivering pesto, we were sharing our abundance…of love, of food, of connection and togetherness. Our day of delivering pesto, was filled with over a dozen hugs, big smiles, and lots of laughter.
Soon, I had friends contacting me to see if I could use other items for similar projects. We went on to make a community batch of salsa and started making suet cakes from expired baking ingredients and the fat trimmings donated by local butchers, with proceeds going to a local cat shelter (because Nick also loves cats!).
The success of these small little projects inspired me to re-imagine the possibilities I could create using my large barn filled with storage items. Over the past two years I have been guided to create what is now known as Resilient Barn. It is founded on abundance…of resources, of people, of love, of creativity, of sharing. This is HEART work that brings our hands and heads together so that we may all LEARN, GROW and SHARE. And when this happens, we thrive, and that is how we become resilient.
Resilient Barn fosters community connections to people and resources through herbal education and access, barter-based Folk Schooling (Life.School.House), and transition services.