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Kids with carrots

Looking back on 9 Years – Lessons for Vegetable Success
Lessons Learned by Chief Food Genius Amber Stott

9 years ago, a thing happened. I started a grassroots nonprofit for kids and vegetables with the help of a lot of friends! It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been a highly rewarding journey. The kids and carrots have never failed to bring me joy! I thought I would share a few lessons I’ve learned along the way.

I’ve learned some of these the hard way, while I was fortunate enough to learn others from my parents and mentors years ago. Thank you to all of you who have contributed to this learning along the way. There are so many of you!

This list is definitely not exhaustive. For what it’s worth, here’s what I know…

9 Lessons for Vegetable Success

1. Live by your mission. Success can bring shiny distractions that threaten you off course. Ask yourself at every turn if what you’re doing is true to your mission.

2. Partners are everything. Give freely in your partnerships without expectation of return.

3. Never focus on your task list. Keep your eye on the end goal. Complete your tasks, but know that they are not the work. They are there to move you closer to the goal, which is the thing that matters.

4. Value the work. You will always have too much to do, so if you do not value the work as motion towards your goal, it will swallow you whole. When you stop valuing the work, you need a vacation and you probably need a different road map to your goal.

5. You will fail and you will disappoint yourself. It will suck. Remember that one action doesn’t define you. It’s the sum total of your actions over time. Learn. Correct course. Get back up and try again.

6. Don’t listen to the “no’s.” There will be a lot of them. Celebrate each one, because it is leading you closer to your next “yes.”

7. Believe in abundance. It’s very hard, especially in the nonprofit sector. But when you remind yourself that there is enough for everyone, your decisions will come from a place of strength, not fear. Avoid making decisions from a space of fear.

8. Care for yourself. This is different from treating yourself. New shoes or a glass of wine may spark temporary joy, but they won’t sustain your health or ensure you’ve had enough rest. Caring for yourself is about protecting your health so you can show up repeatedly, filled with positive energy, healthy, and ready to give back.

9. Meaningful action is more important than “innovation.” People dress that term in fancy clothing when there’s often no substance there. Instead, stop thinking about it and go do it!

Amber in classroom

Amber with kids

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