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Natural Collection, the award-winning on-line website for ecological and fair trade products, started a community-based blog called "Ooffoo". It is a place to exchange ideas, sell things and " to network, communicate, help, advise and share."
Ooffoo held a first, and soon to be annual, Ooffoo Laureate. They asked readers to submit essays on topics that would "inspire people, offer hope and present positive ideas."
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The topics and ideas discussed by the winner and short-listed writers are inspirational and fascinating.
The winning essay is called "The World Needs Your Passion and is a call to arms to everyone to follow their dreams. Tony Robbins read it and said of the author: 'she is passionate and [an] articulate agent of change!'
The winner, Corinna Gordon-Barnes, writes:
"Start right now. Do not wait to find your life’s purpose or ‘get it right’. Start right now to see yourself as a contributor, not a consumer. If you love writing, put fingers to keyboard or pen to paper. If you love gardening, ask your neighbour if they’d like to learn some new skills. If you work with kids, read them a story about how interconnected all of nature is.
Whether your passion is x or y, j or g, just do it. Do it, do it, and commit to doing it forever. Know that your passion is not just about you, it’s about all of us. There really is no more time to waste you."
The first runner-up, was "Me and Mr. Green", by Sarah Cooper, a gentle story about discovering the joys of allotment gardening:
"And then along came our neighbour, an elderly man with a perfect looking plot as though tended to by the Goddess Ceres herself, ready to sprout edible treasure at any moment. He introduced himself, grabbed a spade and stood by our side as we started our journey to organic veggie heaven. He showed us the best way to dig the soil, how to turn it over to smother the weeds. He showed us how to dig a trench the way the water drained, and when our crop was still young, he provided us with extra veg he had grown to keep us going."
Image from Ooffoo
The second, by Lucy Wallace was called "What if the boat stops coming" and is a story of the joys and difficulties in living an ethical life on Arran Island in Scotland.
"It is dawning on many of us, that our island community can and must lead the way in developing a new, local, and self reliant way of living. It is ironic that a place treasured by many for its old fashioned serenity and villages unchanged for decades should now find itself at the cutting edge of modern economics. But questions are being asked of local leaders and food producers that may resonate beyond our shores. Why can’t we have a community-run abattoir on the island? How do we support our dairy farmers? Can we pay farmers to start growing vegetables again?" Ooffoo Laureate Awards