Industrial Harvest

Leaving on my mind by sarah kavage

Well, as you may or may not have heard, I’m in the midst of my final week in Chicago.  That was fast, wasn’t it?  Just a couple weeks ago, I was wondering what on earth I was going to do with the 5 tons of flour that was still in the warehouse.  About a dozen people responded to my email query with their ideas and contacts, and whaddya know – it’s all been spoken for now.

Many months ago, back in Seattle, I was on the phone with Ben Walker and he mentioned that one of the things he was finding interesting about this project was that it seemed to embody the old adage “many hands make light work.”  With everyone doing just a little bit, whatever they can, the Industrial Harvest has been made possible.  People have been asking me whether this project has turned out to be what I’d envisioned.  And although it has, it’s also been so much more, mostly because of what others brought to the table.

So you should be very proud of yourselves!  Together, we’ve fed a lot of people.  Many of those  were people who were hungry.  Others may not have needed the food itself, but were perhaps in need of what the food represented – support, caring, appreciation, friendship.  I’m under no illusions that a bag of flour is going to keep someone from losing their job, or from being kicked out of their home.  It won’t address any of the numerous underlying problems in our society.  But, as a formerly-homeless friend told me long ago, with these small gestures we can keep people from feeling invisible, and make them feel like someone cares about them.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been riding the emotional roller-coaster – so happy to be returning home to Seattle, to my husband, our cat, and our extended Seattle family.  And so sad to be leaving Chicago, the Midwest, and the inspiring network of people I’ve gotten to know and love over the last few months.  I have been just overwhelmed by the welcome that y’all have given me – it’s made being here such a joy.

So although saying thank you doesn’t seem to capture the depth of my gratitude, you have my most sincere thanks.