Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Teach a girl to fish or give a girl a fishstick?

I have been researching how to grow Oishii into a bigger socially, environmentally, and financially sustainable venture and again and again am returning to the saying:

"Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime."

We created our personal development program based on this principle. And after many conversations with artisans and small business owners, I started to wonder - "What if our schools taught kids to fish instead of giving them fishsticks?"

(I'm not being super literal here... I know it's no longer 1988)

Think about it:

Give a girl a fishstick and she learns:

* To take what she is given or make do with side dishes
* To depend on others to do the heavy lifting (catching, cleaning, preparing, packaging, shipping, reheating, and serving)
* To make her greatest choice at the end of the process - "yes" or "no" to tartar sauce

Teach a girl to fish and she learns:

* How to strategize to get what she wants
* To hone her skills through trial and error
* That cleaning, gutting and cooking a fish can be terribly messy but there is a method to the madness if you are willing learn it

Best of all, she has a better understanding of what is in a fishstick - how much time, energy, training, and resources have gone into that breaded beauty. That despite appearances, the making of a fish stick is a pretty complex process.

At Oishii, we are all about learning to fish. We hope you are a fisher(wo)man in training as well.

*photo courtesy of artist mimi kirchner - www.mimikirchner.com

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The heart of the matter

When I was around 10 or 11, I used to play a pretty elaborate game of make believe with my cousin. I was the owner of a catalog business and she was my employee.

We had a seasonal catalog, an extensive filing, repeat customers with whom we cultivated ongoing relationships, and a really awesome calculator to do all of my super important calculations (of course). I would say "My business is incredibly important; I've got the President's ear on this one."

I believe the games children play are the seeds of the future dreams and ambitions. That as children we already know what we were born to do. I have taken on the challenge of reigniting those childhood games in my daily life through Oishii, and am working my tail off to see if I can eventually get the "President's ear" on this one.

Sure, we sell lovely knit goodies that feel like you're wearing a hugs - but our greatest offering is our hope, our enthusiasm, and our undying persistence to be the change we want to see in the world.

Are you willing to join us?