Day Four of Week 2 (11th day of Omer): Netzach in Gevurah
by Susie Davidson
It all begins with ourselves. And Netzach signifies trusting in ourselves by summoning both strength and confidence (Gevurah) and facing challenges that can come from within. Thoughts or feelings can either inspire and empower ourselves, or stand in our own way. Netzach is associated with perseverance, endurance and victory. So hang in there, and don't be your own worst enemy! And remember, it's never too late to change – ourselves, or our environment.
By calling up some of Gevurah's focused restraint, discipline and discernment and Netzach's determined perseverance, we can plant our crops, eat locally, share our bounty, and succeed!
"The week of Gevurah gives us the opportunity to reveal, embrace, and more deeply understand our inner and outer strengths," states the website of the Kehilla Community Synagogue of Piedmont, California. "As we count the Omer, we will see that Gevurah is essential for the health and well-being of our personal lives, our communities and the world."
According to a March 29 article on Massachusetts farming by Boston Globe columnist Scot Lehigh, there are about 7,700 farms inMassachusetts that employ about 12,000 workers, contributing about $492 million to the state's economy. They help to preserve more than half a million acres of land as open space, and being small, don't utilize big factory-farm practices. Only one uses cramped "battery cages" for hens, and none use pig or veal crates. And those farms, which are mostly small operations, don’t employ the objectionable practices of big factory farms. Thirty-two percent are owned by women. There are eight buy-local organizations in the state, and Boston Area Gleaners is has about 700 volunteers who pick surplus crops and distribute the food to low-income communities. Indeed, the "buy local" movement has become a social phenomenon, with a notable proliferation of farmers' markets, restaurants featuring local fare, the revamping of school menus and programming to promote local foods, farm stands, pick-your-own produce sites, and community-supported agriculture. And why not? The food is fresher, you know where it came from, it tastes great, and by eating local, you help support the local economy as well as Massachusetts cities and towns.
In addition to eight seasonal farmers’ markets currently operating in Greater Boston, an indoor, public local food market is set to open in 2014 on Blackstone Street in downtown Boston. The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resource’s website includes a map of local food sites and other information, but according to Lehigh, supermarkets and grocery stores, need a "nudge."
Action: Think about how you might help to get more local produce onto supermarket shelves. Imagine becoming involved in a local agricultural project and helping to expand their programming into a local school. The aim will be to empower young students to lead their families toward healthier and locally-grown diets.