Raising Dough: Heifer International (March 2014)

5 Mar

[Written by Flour & Co Kitchen Team Member, Brittany Vock]

Being part of the Flour & Co community since we opened our doors (almost a year ago!) has made me feel so very at home in the vast community of San Francisco. I am the type of person that is drawn toward small, tight-knit communities, especially when living in a bustling city. After all, I do hail from a town of 900 in the rural Midwest! Coming to work every day as part to the Flour & Co family provides me a constant feeling of connectedness; to the people, to the city, to California agriculture, and to the pride, emotions and excitement that San Francisco residents feel toward our beautiful, innovative home.

To further expand that wonderful feeling of connection, our Raising Dough campaign is a way to toss that feeling into an even grander circle of community by introducing myself (and everyone that steps through our doors) to causes that reach far and wide, supporting community growth, involvement, nourishment, education in places far and wide.

Thanks to our February guests, we were able to raise over 150 dollars to donate to Family House (75+ from our guests, with an equal match from Flour & Co). Family House serves as a home away from home for families with children who have life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer. In addition to the monetary contribution, a few of our team members will be going to Family House to do what we do best; make a delicious meal for everyone staying at Family House that night!

Looking on to the month of March, our featured organization for the Raising Dough campaign is Heifer International. Heifer International’s approach to hunger and poverty is to connect individuals in a way that creates local, sustainable agriculture and commerce. This idea goes past simply providing a meal. Heifer International creates agricultural cooperatives, giving families their own sustainable income, which in turn form community food systems and commerce. They provide individual families with livestock (a heifer!) along with training on how to care for that animal. The family then passes on the gift by giving their first female livestock to another family. This way, every family involved continually participates in improving their community and obtaining self-reliance. Currently, Heifer International does much more than provide heifers. In addition to heifers, heifer International has a massive range of gifts to help families, including goats, chickens, bees, irrigation pumps, clean water, and educations programs for women.

Heifer International

Heifer International

I asked to write March’s Raising Dough campaign because I have a personal connection to Heifer International. Heifer International started nearly 70 years ago when a midwestern farmer, by the name of Dan West, served on the front lines of the Spanish Civil War as an aid worker. While providing relief to refugee children, he would hand out a single rationed cup of milk, which was meant to sustain them through the day. While handing out those cups, he had the thought: what if this wasn’t a cup of milk, but a cow instead!? It was this experience that led him to form Heifer International.

When I was a kid, I would often ask my Nanni to read a children’s book, telling the story of Dan West and Heifer International. That book taught me the value of passing on gifts, encouraging self-reliance, and growing a community together. She and my Papa loved to read this book to me, probably more than any other children’s book, because Dan West, that midwestern farmer, was also my Papa’s uncle (my great great uncle)! Along with that book, my papa would tell me one of his favorite childhood memories: when he begged and begged his father to buy him a calf; the whole time, his father refusing. That is, until my papa had the brilliant idea to exclaim “But if you let me raise this calf, I promise we can give it to Uncle Dan to send to a family in need!” To this day, my Papa admits that he only said that to convince his dad to actually let him have the calf because…he really wanted a calf! But he did carry through with his promise and that calf was eventually sent to Heifer International to give to another family. That was the beginning of my Papa learning the importance of passing on a gift and inspiring self-sufficiency. I am very grateful to have been raised in a family that has personally experienced Heifer International’s mission and has instilled that value of far-reaching community-building in me from a young age.

I’m so excited to have a chance to connect that childhood community of mine to my beloved Flour & Co community! Thank you all for being a part of our inter-connected web and for helping us empower individuals and promote prosperity. Watch the video below to hear more about Heifer International from the eloquent Alton Brown.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDIedFMSN64@flourandco.com

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Thank you to Brittany Vock, Guest Blogger! 🙂

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