In the age of instant news and internet activism we are bombarded with stories that make us feel helpless. The constant crisis culture we live in has increased our civic apathy and causes us to feel a kind of news-feed fatigue.

 

Many of your friends and family and perhaps even yourself have become disengaged because there is simply too much to consume. This is understandable, but one of the best ways we can combat these feelings is with local action! Local action reminds us that change is possible and it is up to us!

 

So how can you encourage your disengaged friends and family to help you make change in your community?

 

I have compiled three strategies which I find help diminish feelings of helplessness and spur engagement.   

 

Let’s say, for example that supporting affordable access to fresh produce is your goal and you want to encourage people in your community to help you make it happen!

 

First and foremost:

 

Make it powerful: Talk about why it matters: “Everyone deserves access to fresh and affordable produce. In the Ohio Valley it is vital that we provide all persons, especially persons of low income, easy access to produce both in price and location.”

 

Make it possible: remind them that It can happen (and does). “Many communities like our own have initiated local grow projects that accept SNAP assistance and are within populated, accessible areas.”

 

Make it personal: Talk about how the issue concerns them directly. “Can you imagine your child, your grandparent, or someone you love not having access to this basic necessity? You want to ensure that every person in your community is given every opportunity to lead a happy, healthy life and access to fresh, local produce is a primary component of that goal.”

 

No matter what the issue these points work to help people see the value in getting involved; make it powerful, make it possible, and make it personal.

I am so grateful to have Grow OV and other food initiatives in the Wheeling area who are tackling this issue head on but there are many places in WV and beyond who are still in need of food support.

I know it’s difficult to keep working when it seems we take one step forward only to take two steps back but it is critical maybe more now than ever, that we remain steadfast in our mission to create safer and stronger communities – and lets make sure we do it together.
Until next time.

Rosemary Ketchum

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