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Blog Action Day 2012 – The Power of We

October 15, 2012
Jessi at NWFGS 2011

My friend Jessi Bloom, who has supported me in too many ways to name, asking a vendor at NWFGS 2011 if they might lend her a chicken for her seminar on chickens — another team effort!

The 2012 Blog Action Day Theme, “The Power of We“, got me thinking about how much we can accomplish when we come together to effect positive change and advancement. It also made me think about how little gets done when we refuse to listen and work together and compromise. Yet, I’ll leave the political agenda off the table today and focus on the positive — the power of we.

Coopertition is one of my favorite made-up words. I’m not sure who coined it, but its a good one. My fellow garden professionals — writers, coaches, designers, arborists, etc — definitely compete for work. It’s how we survive. But, the most successful among us tend to be the most generous and nurturing in the group. By that, I mean we lend a helping hand when someone is down. We listen and discuss challenging issues and questions without any judgement. (Or, if we do judge, we do it politely to ourselves where nobody else is listening.) There are no stupid questions!

When we run into a challenging problem — whether it has to do with an employer or a client or a damn plant or pest that we simply cannot ID on our own — our co-horts — aka We — are there for the One. When it seems our well of work has dried up for the season and we’re about ready to eat the last lentil in the cupboard, somebody jumps in with a client referral or a new idea for work or maybe even a subcontract.

Together, we are stronger. By networking and building each other up, we survive in a tight economy. We grow in our industry and are therefore better able to serve our clients and the environment. We team up together to “fight the good fight” through the power of numbers. We lobby. We blog. We inform. We tweet. We make noise. Together we are stronger, smarter and better. And, we make the world a better place.

Although I could point to any number of my fellow co-horts and tell the story of how we have empowered one another, I’ll share just this one, which leaves me thankful and with food on the table each day.

Project Orange Thumb

My friend KP and me nearing the end of our one-day Fiskars Project Orange Thumb installation in Portland, Oregon. Yes, we are hamming it up for the camera!

Several years ago my friend Joe Lamp’l of Growing a Greener World TV fame asked me to help him design a Fiskars Community Garden design for a Project Orange Thumb grant project in Portland, Oregon. (This was before I became a paid writer for Fiskars.) I was happy to help him pull the design together to help build community and empower a community to grow a garden and grow their own food, and fortunately everyone seemed to like it!

(By-the-way, now’s the time to submit your grant application for Fiskars’ 2013 Grant & Garden Make overs!)

When the time came to install the garden, I offered to help build it. My good friend KP asked if she could join us too. She took a couple days off work, and we drove South. We met Joe the day before the community members arrived, and helped string off the design on a soppy, chilly day. The next day members of Fiskars, Home Depot, many members of the local community, Joe, my friend KP, and I showed up to build. Together we built and installed a community garden in just a day — despite some crazy weather. Again, there’s that We.

In just one day WE came together and built a garden complete with edible beds for locals to farm, surrounding mixed herb and edible gardens to attract pollinators, paintings to add beauty and a shed to store tools for the community to use.

It was a beautiful day and a beautiful thing seeing so many people so enthusiastically come together to convert an abandoned field into something we the people can use to feed ourselves and build a better environment.

Yes, I’ve benefited from that day; that’s part of the power of we — building up the individual! I connected with Fiskars and was shortly after asked to become one of their gardening expert writers, I bonded with Nest in Style‘s Jayme Jenkins with whom I’ve teamed up on several subsequent occasions, I was invited by producers Joe & Theresa to become a contributing writer on another powerful “We” team — Growing a Greener World, and I’ve been able to recommend and promote others within this wonderful, powerful network of We. Every opportunity I’ve been afforded allows me to provide opportunity to others. Each individual is a part of the greater We.

Life doesn’t have to just be about competing. It can be about cooperating too. Hence: coopertition.

We build each other up. We care for each other. We empower each other. We grow together.

Life as a team effort is a beautiful, powerful, empowering thing.

Thanks friends. Without you, my power is diminished. Together we have power — enough to share!




  1. Kathy Boullin says:

    Well said Robin! And a toast to you for being one of the biggest proponents of cooperation among friends and colleagues – long may you prosper!

  2. Thanks Kathy! Seriously, I started down the road thinking about this, and I had a hard time knowing where to start and stop with all the wonderful people who share and build together in our industry. Definitely, you were in my thoughts — in the good way. Thank you!

  3. This article is so inspiring and you are such a great proponent of this philosophy too! I appreciate all you do and continue to do to support me and my business. I try to pay it forward any chance I get!

  4. Jess says:

    Love you Robin <3

  5. Jess, you are the epitome of what I’m trying to say here. (aka you’re the best!)

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