Do you know what is a hard thing to write?
A blog announcing to you all – my friends, my partners, and my heroes, that I am leaving Re:Vision.
It’s hard, because I think about a conversation I had with a backyard gardening family (in my broken Spanish), who explained to me how tough it is to both hold down a job and care for their sick daughter. But when they talked about their backyard garden, they smiled because, as they explained, they could finally feed their daughter healthy, affordable food.
It’s hard because I think about what it felt like to sit in a meeting recently with Paul Washington, Denver's Director of Economic Development, and hear him say that cooperative business models are one of the best strategies for narrowing the wealth gap in Denver. I glow knowing that Re:Vision’s work is pioneering that strategy.
It’s hard because I think about when I visited 3738 Morrison Road just a couple of weeks ago - five months after Re:Vision purchased the property. Instead of the junkyard it had been for the last few decades I saw a clean property with buildings gutted. The site is ready and waiting to become the home of the Westwood Food Cooperative and a much-needed gathering space for food, health, and community enterprise. I felt immediately that Re:Vision is on to something that will transform this community and Denver.
The most difficult part is that I know Re:Vision is going through a remarkable ground-breaking growth, packed full with real substance, and I won’t be here to see it every single day. Inspired by this place and these people, I am pursuing my lifelong dream of starting my own consulting business. There will still be many opportunities to work with Re:Vision, so it’s not a goodbye - not even close.
Re:Vision has changed me, the way I look at my work, and the way I look at community planning and development in general. We must start with the people who know their own problems best. We must equip them with the tools to leverage their own resources toward sustainable solutions. This type of community development takes a tremendous amount of patience and dedication, but it works.
No one can verify this more than Eric, Joseph and Patty, three of the most dedicated people I know. Eric and Joseph believe so wholeheartedly in what they're doing, that they moved into the Westwood area to be full-time members of the community. Patty, Re:Vision’s lead promotora, spends many weekends attending quincineras and weddings of Re:Farm families - out of the goodness of her heart, not because she’s getting paid. These three heroes live, eat and breathe Re:Vision's mission every moment of every day.
Even though leaving at this time is hard, there is no question that Re:Vision will continue to soar. And whoever takes over my role will be beyond lucky to have the opportunity to fly with this organization.
I hold this one particular thought for the future near and dear, an image in my mind that I know will be a reality soon:
It’s 2017, and I am shopping in the Westwood Food Co-op with my kids. We are members. We purchase vegetables grown on site, beef raised sustainably 60 minutes away, and jelly made by Westwood residents. We wave to a couple of Promotores who are teaching a class on canning and pickling. After we finish shopping, we head outside to the public plaza. Kids are playing in the plaza, with parents chatting nearby, enjoying a beautiful day. I see Eric and Joseph and hug them. I can’t stop beaming with pride.