Our Voice: We're thankful for those who share food, thought

Badger Club

There always are two sides to every story. However, sometimes we are so mired down in how wrong the other side is, we overlook any merits in their argument.

In the Mid-Columbia, the Badger Club does a good job of fostering civil discussions on what can be divisive or uncomfortable topics.

Each month the club offers a new topic.

The most recent discussion of the U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision is a good example.

It's a controversial topic that elicits an emotional response. A forum that provides a moderated discussion is good, no matter your stance.

Next month's topic will be the two November ballot initiatives dealing with guns. No doubt, this will generate a lively discussion.

We're all for engaged and educated citizenry and are especially gratified when these exchanges are well thought-out and considerate.

The popularity of discussion forums on the internet that allow for anonymity encourages thoughtless and mean-spirited commenting.

We can all do better.

That's why we're thankful for those who engage in thoughtful discussion in our community. And we're thankful for an organization like the Badger Club which provides that forum.

Sharing the harvest

Many people contribute to the successful gleaning program in the Mid-Columbia. It requires partnerships between pickers and producers.

One of the obvious benefits of the gleaning is to provide fresh produce for our area food banks.

Fields of Grace recently celebrated collecting more than 1 million pounds of fresh produce .

Often when we think of Fields of Grace, we think of the volunteers. Without many helping hands the food would waste in the fields.

But lately we also have thought about the role of the farmer.

It takes a fair amount of trust to allow people -- often unskilled in the ways of agriculture -- onto your property.

Less obvious benefits are for people who may be disconnected from the food cycle. Getting into the fields may help some appreciate the work farmers do day in and day out.

In the last eight years, Fields of Grace has grown.

We appreciate the hundreds of volunteers who give of their time and the producers who are generous with their crops.

We also appreciate the leadership of people like John Neill, who has recently become the organization's executive director and has expanded the group's vision and reach.

These partnerships make for a better community.