The Season of Thanks

Published: December 3rd, 2013

corn plant being lifted out of the soilLooking back through our archive of Donella Meadows’s writing, it’s not hard to find examples of thanks. Dana was thankful for the community and environment around her, sentiments which are echoed over and over in her letters and columns.

In November 1994, Dana wrote, “On a farm I can really put my heart into a festival of harvest and thanksgiving. I think of the soil, the sun, the rain, the beautiful growing plants, the fun of garden work, and the freezer and root cellar filled up for the winter—and gratitude comes easy.” Two years later, she ended a letter with a similar sentiment: “There is so much to be thankful for always on a farm, and especially, it seems, on this one. As usual, nearly everything on the table will have been raised right here. The place is full of lovely animals and lovely people. And life just gets more and more interesting!”

Perhaps Dana’s most memorable thanks is from a column she wrote in 1989. In it she expressed her appreciation not for friends, family, or food, but for something we often overlook—detritivores: “At this time of gratitude I’m here to put in a word for the soil bugs… This is the team that performs the steady miracle of turning dead things—cornstalks, manure, old cabbage leaves, remnant alfalfa roots—back into life.”

Inspired (as always!) by Dana’s wise and heartfelt words, we here at the Institute have taken some time to reflect on the past year and all that we have to be thankful for. We’ve had a remarkable year of investment and growth in our primary programs, and we are most grateful for the support and commitment of everyone who has helped us reach this point. Thank you, readers and friends.

We recently published our 2013 Annual Report to share our year’s accomplishments with you. Please explore it to learn about what we’ve been up to in 2013, what we’ve got planned for 2014, and how you can help us realize our mission. We couldn’t do it without you!

image credit: NRCS Soil Health via Flickr

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About DMI

Since its founding in 1996 by environmental leader Donella Meadows, our Institute has been at the forefront of sustainability thinking and training. Our initiatives have addressed economic, environmental, and social challenges from a range of angles and at many levels. In everything we do, the disciplines of systems thinking and organizational learning inform and shape our work. It is this focus on whole-system analysis, combined with careful listening, truth telling, and visioning, that make the Donella Meadows Institute unique among sustainability organizations.  Read More

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