Office Building Built for the Handicap

Jackson, Wyoming, is an unlikely place for urban farming: At an altitude over a mile high, with snow lasting into May, the growing season is sometimes only a couple of months long.

But the town is about to become home to one of the first vertical farms in the world, reports Fast CoExist. A startup called Vertical Harvest recently broke ground on a three-story, 13,500 sq ft hydroponics greenhouse that will be providing fresh micro-greens and tomatoes to the Jackson community.

Equal to 5 acres of traditional agriculture, the produce will be grown on revolving carrousels and 95% of its produce has already been sold under pre-purchase agreements with area restaurants and local grocery stores.

And, perhaps best of all, their mission includes an employment and training program for individuals with developmental disabilities to help them achieve happiness, success, and independence.


A Hardened Heart Can be Reached with a Little Kindness

Years ago I began a tradition of giving back for each holiday we celebrated. One Christmas during a particularly prosperous time in our country, I was shocked to find that there was a “shortage” of in need families. I began to think about who else needed help around the holiday. We always think of kids at this time of year and it came to me that there are many lonely adults as well. I was able to get the name of some individuals needing some Christmas cheer of one kind or another. One for a “gentleman” named John. John was a particularly vile individual, who lived in what amounted to two rooms of his rather large house. He was not able to get around and he survived on delivered pizza of which he had a hoard of boxes stacked everywhere. Myself and another volunteer went over and cleaned up his house, it was horrible and he yelled the whole time we were there. He was living in horrid conditions and we just kept on working through out his objections until the place was spotless. I had also brought in some decorations which I carefully placed and hung through out his space to bring in the spirit of the season. Instead of a thank you he simply made a rude comment about hating the decorations. I knew the doctors had been trying to get him on his feet more so I told him, if he didn’t like them, he was more than welcome to take them down himself. I returned several days later, on Christmas Eve with a few small gifts for John, hoping he had calmed down a bit. He wouldn’t open the door. So I left the gifts with a note containing my name and number on the front porch. A few days after Christmas we received a call he needed a favor, small but we obliged. Then there was another favor and another. Finally one day we realized he was mostly lonely, his wife had passed, he had no children and his extended family was gone as well. We invited him to come stay with us for a week as he recovered from a medical procedure. John lived with us for 30 years. He became a central figure in our family and everyone called him Uncle John. He divided his time between our home and days spent at the Senior Center in town (with his “girlfriends”). When John passed many years later, we put up collage of him with family pictures. We all giggled as his friends from the community looked at the pictures and talked about his kids and Grandkids. John had adopted them all in his mind over the years and would speak with great pride about each and every one of kids and grandkids as if they were his flesh and blood. John went from a vile, mean, bitter, old man, to a loving, happy and doting “grandfather” in just a few short months. He spent the balance of his life surrounded by a family who was there for him till the end and mourns his passing to this day.

I will always remember the overwhelming change in John and it was at that point that I realized that a lot of people we think are just mean and nasty, are actually hurting inside and just need to now they are loved and needed. No-one should have to feel that alone. Poor John, he went from a lonely existence to a family with 4 married kids and 13 grandkids within 5 miles of his house. He never had another moment to himself as long as he lived, and all the grandkids loved him. We’re so very sorry to lose him to cancer several years ago, but he did get his wish to not die alone in a hospital or some facility. We kept him home to the very end and we were all there for him.


College Student Who Walks Home In Cold After McDonald’s Shift Gets Help From Kind Cop, Internet

You don’t always have to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes to understand their needs.

Jonesboro, Arkansas, police officer John Shipman proved that to be true last month, when he noticed a young man walking along the road at 2 a.m. on a night when temperatures dipped to 19 degrees, according to local news station KAIT. Shipman offered college student James Taylor a ride home, and has since launched a online fundraiser for Taylor that had raised $5,880 as of Tuesday afternoon.

Taylor had been traveling home after finishing his shift at McDonald’s when he was stopped by Shipman. Unable to afford a car, the Arkansas State University student explained that he makes the daily four-mile trek from his apartment to his job by foot.

“I asked [Taylor], ‘So you went to work tonight knowing that you didn’t have a ride home, and that it was going to be freezing?'” Shipman said. “And he said ‘Yes sir, I have to. I don’t have any other choice.'”

The day after giving him a ride home, Shipman stopped by Taylor’s apartment and gave him $20 for cab ribes. The officer also posted about the student’s situation on Facebook, and received an overwhelming response from their local community wanting to help.

Soon, a GoFundMe account was set up to raise money to buy Taylor a car. Within three days, the $1,400 goal was reached, and donations were still pouring in. The Jonesboro community also provided Taylor with $200 worth of winter clothing.

I can’t put into words what it means to me that John and the community are helping me,” Taylor told “The Ellen Degeneres Show’s” Good News page.

Taylor does not stand alone in his admirable work ethic. His story of determination comes weeks after that of James Robertson, the 56-year-old Detroit resident who walked 21 miles each way to work.

Similar to Sherman’s efforts, college student Evan Leedy took to the Internet for help, and set up a GoFundMe account to help raise money to buy Robertson a car. It began with a goal of $5,000 and rose to more than $350,000 from thousands of people worldwide.

For both Taylor and Robertson, a simple, unexpected act of kindness grew to change their daily lives dramatically. As Taylor told KAIT, “These kind of people, you don’t meet every day.”


Why are the People Who Have the Least, Give the Most?

Carrol is a scruffy looking, 48 year old painter. When he is able to find work, he always stops by the cart for a hot dog, usually bringing others with him and telling everyone within earshot how great my Heavnly dogs are. When his job ends, he is out looking for another one, often to be found at the paint store when it opens. Then he will stop by the cart and chat with me for a while. Today, while we were talking, he abruptly walked away mid-sentence, with a look of concern on his face. I turned and watched as he walked towards an elderly lady, who had pulled up to fill her car and 5 gallon container with gas. I watched him take the can from her and fill it and the car, and then he walked with her to see her safely back into the driver’s seat. As she drove away, he walked back to the cart and made little mention of the woman, only to say that she was 87 years old, and he was “fixing to go home and mow her grass… what a dame!” I thought about Carrol, and his situation. He has no power at his apartment right now. He has no money. But everyday, as he heads out to pound the pavement for work, he has hope. And, he is kind. That even though things may be bleak right now, change is right around the corner. “I have to get out there, you know, make something happen.”  And he usually does. Even when I know he is hungry and I try to give him a hot dog, he refuses because he is also proud. Today, I said “you did a kindness for someone and now your kindness is paid forward… that is how it works, you see?”  He just smiled and let me place the hot dog in his hand, and then gobbled it down. And that is how it should be… that even the poorest can still reach out to someone in need and two people walk away feeling hopeful. Do a kindness, give a little hope, the world has never needed it more.


You think you have it bad?

Oh, I have problems.  Don’t we all?  Most of my problems, I remind myself, are luxury problems.  The problems that a lot of people would be happy to have.  So I have to look at the bright side.  At least my problems are not life and death; many people are fighting for their lives right now.  But like this says, help someone in need, and my own problems seem mild in comparison.

Someone once said to me, “If we all had the opportunity to throw our problems out on a table and to pick up someone else’s, most of us would pick up our own.”


Information overload!

I like to say, at certain times when people want to share a new idea –
” Can we hold off on that for a little bit? My file system is full. I need to do some purging before any more info can be taken on.” Someone once asked me why I didn’t know my way around NYC although I have been there numerous times. I just told them, “I just never wanted to use one of my files for that information. I use cabs.” Do you ever feel that way? Information overload.