Posted by: A Part of the Solution | August 18, 2010

Logistics

I have a gift. It might be one of the ‘ten intelligences’, and if it isn’t–it should be. I’m good with logistics. I’m good at knowing what fits where and whether it will work with whatever’s going on. I’m good at estimating how long a complex set of tasks will take, and how many labor hours will be required to work it out. I might be a logistical maven. It’s hard to know, since people hardly ever talk about logistics as a field in its own right.

My gift for logistics came in handy when I was kitchen manager for  Gail’s Vegetarian Catering. Gail and I would make a site visit to see where a party or wedding reception would be held. I would figure out where the tables couldn’t go: no, that blocks the only fire exit; no, no one will be able to squeeze past to get to the bathroom; no, the staff have to be able to come through here with full trays. I would figure out how many bars would fit, or where the gift table had to be if there was going to be a dance floor as big as the bride wanted. And then I would work out how many staff, how many hours, and on what schedule they would arrive, break and leave.

My gift for logistics came in handy when I helped in the designing of the Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op. I was one of the few floor staff on the design committee. While esoteric discussions about ‘the third place’ and ‘different chairs’ were going on around me, I spent time figuring out how to maximize the shelving lay-out so that shoppers would have more choices. I lost the lay-out decision, but one of the first redesigns of the co-op adopted the plan as I’d originally envisioned it.

Now I handle the logistics on my diversity farm. I work out how to get enough vegetables carefully packed into our farm truck to make it safely down the hill in good condition for our CSA members. I figure out how to get the laundry done, even whilst harvesting veggies. I create shopping lists for groceries to take into account how inconvenient it is to get to a grocery store from here. I calculate what special facilities will be required to host the U of MD’s  geology field-trip camping overnight in our back, back field.

It’s kind of funny. I have no depth perception, due to the differences between my eyes in their very poor vision. But I can ‘see’ things that haven’t happened yet in such a way that I know before hand how long it will take to feed 185 people a plated dinner, or the best circuit for getting shopping at a number of stores managed in congested traffic, or which vegetables to take early in the morning the day before we send them–and which need to wait until the last moment, and how long each of those harvests will run. It’s a good gift.

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Responses

  1. What you describe is a wonderful gift, indeed, and one that I don’t have in abundance, myself! I’m glad Buckland Farm is benefiting as a result!

    • Thanks. I was psyching myself up for a big logistical fest getting everything ready for our largest delivery yet–packed by moi, and moi alone

  2. It’s good to take inventory from time to time to remember what makes us special in being ourselves.


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