Jonathan Field - Maker of Random Stuff

Operation Cabbage, Phase One: Complete

I heard that my farming friend has recently completed the the harvest on his cabbage crop – some 3800 heads. He was able to sell them in town for about 50 cents apiece. After setting aside money to start his next crop, it works out to about $1600 over four months. That’s excellent money for his neck of the woods. I put about $300 in to get him started. We’re both thrilled with the results.

When he and I started talking earlier this year, he had no real plans for the future. He’s always loved farming, and had a decent piece of land on the Tugela river bank, but after life threw him some nasty surprises over the past two years, he didn’t have the capital or the will to get things started again.

After talking out a plan, I decided to give him the seed money, literally. Now he’s reaping the rewards, literally. I hear from his family that he’s in much better spirits, too.

The real question is what happens next. I hear he has set enough aside to plant and maintain another crop. I’m hoping that he’ll be able to maintain momentum, and I’m thinking of investing a bit more to help him sell the crop to a slightly wider area where he tells me you can get 70 cents a head. When I’m out there next spring we’ll talk about other options too: expanding the land, trying different crops, and whatever ideas he has.

Something that I’m exploring here is how to best help others. I see too many instances of money being dumped into developing areas with little long term impact. I’ve come to believe that money is virtually useless without guidance and follow-up. It can’t be a mindless gift, it has to be a partnership. It’s more work, but it’s no surprise that it takes more work to get results. I’m not sure what’s next for me in this area, but I will keep this in mind as I go forward.

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