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Passion and Hard Work Changes Everything [Opinion]

Something magical happens when you combine having a vision with sweat equity. With those two things, you can reach crazy seeming goals, the kind that concerned loved ones try to dampen to help you avoid the pain of disappointment.

I’m amazed how often I’ve come across that combination since I began covering the vegetable industry a few short years ago. I’ve seen it in our Extension agent columnists.

And it’s baked into some institutions. Western Grower’s Center for Innovation and Technology, University of California’s Smart Farm, and Texas A&M’s Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center (VFIC) are great examples. They are doing all they can to strengthen the vegetable industry.

I urge you to take the time to investigate these institutions.

Smart Farm, University of California, Davis. The Smart Farm’s researchers do their best to develop and give the industry the tools, methods, and technologies growers will need in order to thrive in 2050. It has introduced automated harvesters and new varieties that allow for more sustainable or mechanized production.

Texas A&M’s Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center. The Center’s goal is to develop new technologies for producing high-quality, healthful vegetables, fruits and nuts and their products in an efficient, economical and environmentally sound system, with a focus on achieving health and nutritional benefits.

Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology. The Center for Innovation acts as an incubator for new technologies that can answer many of the industry’s greatest challenges. It provides start up tech companies with office space so they can concentrate on innovation rather than bills.


Yet when a grower possesses those qualities, it has an even bigger impact. It’s contagious. It makes you want to set your own goals just a bit higher. To find a way to improve the lot of those around you, not just your own.

And Jimmy and James Bassetti have it in spades. It’s a key reason they earned our 2019 Grower Achievement Award.

Hard work on its own accomplishes a lot. But without passion, hard work helps you achieve only the tasks in front of you. When it comes to growing, there are an unending series of tasks that need to be completed. It’s easy to focus on each one as it comes to you. It’s not unlike playing a game of solitaire, playing each card as you come to it.

Passion gives you a vision of what you want to accomplish beyond those tasks. With vision, you can change the game. You’re no longer playing solitaire, but world–class poker.

Jimmy and Diane Bassetti, and now their son James, are playing a long game. They are doing their best to win the public over to enjoying new vegetables, to understanding how health can improve with produce.

If they can do that, it will drive demand for what they – and all growers – produce. And that’s a game where everyone wins.

Article provided by Growing Produce. Carol Miller is the editor of American Vegetable Grower, a Meister Media Worldwide publication. See all author stories here.