I’ve been a big fan of the Heifer Project for some time (using their catalog for holiday shopping is a must for me), even before they changed their name to Heifer International. Now, recognizing the difficulty so many Americans have faced in getting through these past few years, Heifer is turning attention homeward to impoverished American communities like Appalachia and the Arkansas Delta. The new Seeds of Change program helps revitalize family farms and create new food-based businesses. So many regions in this country have fertile land but fallow economies, and today’s economies and year-round agricultural importing are making small-scale farming a losing proposition. If you truly NEED strawberries and grapes in February, then you bring them in from South America and pay the price, not just in dollars, but also in fuel and carbon footprint. Nature didn’t really intend for you to have those berries…and waiting for local produce makes seasons a celebration. Eating and shopping locally is a huge boon to your community and our planet. It is ironic that residents of these potentially abundant agri-zones are malnourished. Seeds of Change will help boost nutrition and local economies. This investment in the future is connecting providers with suppliers in innovative new ways, and training a new generation to fulfill local need. In addition to revitalizing small-scale farming, Seeds of Change is building community school gardens to nourish the appetite for learning as well as for nutritious food. Find out more and celebrate your neighbors. In addition to supporting Seeds of Change, consider volunteering with Heifer via some of these opportunities. I am a firm believer that we are all global neighbors, and the problems of any are the problems of all…and I also understand that having an impact close to home has a special kind of reward.