Meet our Cultivator of the Quarter

Written by Plant With Purpose on July 8, 2014 in News & Events

Each quarter, Plant With Purpose chooses one standout individual to receive our Cultivator Award. This award highlights someone who uniquely cultivates support for Plant With Purpose in their own sphere of influence using their gifts and resources. Today we’re featuring our second recipient of the Plant With Purpose Cultivator Award, Christy Mandin. Christy is a blogger, farmer, and mother who lives in Nashville, Tennessee. We’ll share Part 1 of her interview today and Part 2 tomorrow. Read on to learn about her heart for Plant With Purpose!

onshoulders-fallfamilyphoto copyWhen and how did you first get involved with Plant With Purpose?

I first became involved with Plant With Purpose in March of this year. I had been actively seeking an organization that approached poverty and environmental stewardship as interconnected issues. I watched Plant With Purpose for some time, did my research, and knew that I wanted to be a more active participant in what they were doing around the world. Our family prayed and decided that we would team up with Plant With Purpose and sponsor a village. Although I’ve never been there, I have long had an Africa-shaped stamp on my heart. And so, we partnered with farming families in Lyasongoro, Tanzania.

Can you share what your involvement looks like?

I write a blog, Blessed Little Thistle, about our family life and our adventures as first-time and skipped-generation farmers. Because my life has led me to much different places than I ever imagined or planned, the season we’re in right now requires that my involvement revolve around blogging for the things I am passionate about – farming, philanthropy, poverty, education, sustainability, injustice…and really, if we’re being honest, the everyday, seemingly mundane, events peppered in. Even though I can’t be in Tanzania or Haiti or Thailand, that doesn’t mean that I can’t lead the charge for change and progress and helping to empower others. It just looks a little different on my end.

What motivates you to use your gifts to support the organization?

IMG_7374I never imagined that I would grow up to be so passionate about farming. Being surrounded by farmers and agriculture in my small-town I mistook the practice as something archaic – something my grandparents did out of utter necessity. And something I’d definitely never do. It would be my college education (that I had ironically sought out as a way to escape such small town practices) that would bring me full circle back to farming. It took a couple of changes in major, marriage, babies, and a few career changes over the years to piece together where my passions lie. My whole world was turned upside down when I realized that the connection between all people across the planet was food. Young, old, rich or poor, we all need food. No matter the culture, the country, or our status we gather around food. And we all need farmers for that food.

I understand first-hand what it means to utilize what you’ve been given in farming. Not everyone has access to land. In fact, a lot of people don’t. But that doesn’t have to stop me from being a farmer. Farming isn’t about how much land you have but about how well you steward the land you’re on. Even the smallest of plots can help create food security for a family. I’m passionate about working to change the idea of the farmer from one with sprawling acres and tractors and full barns to simply one who has successfully utilized an area for food cultivation and considered the impact of their presence while doing so.

Congratulations Christy! We’re grateful for your partnership and for sharing the Plant With Purpose story. Stay tuned for Part 2 of the interview tomorrow. 

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