When I was a kid, my dad always used to say, “An education is expensive, no matter how you get it.” I don’t think I quite knew what he meant at the time, but now that I’m an adult, running a business, raising kids of my own, I look back on those words with a new appreciation.
Last winter, we did some experimenting with lighting and growing in the greenhouse. The experiment failed and cost plenty, in both time and money. But we got something in exchange: an education. We’re better growers now. We know more about our plants and about the growing conditions that allow them to thrive. We can provide a better environment, because we weren’t afraid to try something new.
When we fail, we learn. When we fail again, we learn again. A risk might result in a loss - some time, some money, some plants - but it’s always rewarded by an education. I’m not saying I can always shrug off an experiment that didn’t work out. In the moment, education can be a pretty tough pill to swallow. The thing is, though, learning only happens when we’re uncomfortable, when our boundaries are pushed. With the benefit of hindsight, all those experiences mean I’m better at my job. I can provide more of what my community needs. That’s worth a few days’ frustration, or a few weeks’ discomfort. It’s worth the expense. Any education is.
Farmer and Cultivator
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