#163 Daron Babcock, Founder & CEO of Bonton Farms
Disruptor. Social Justice Advocate. Sower of Seeds.
Moved by his personal beliefs, Daron Babcock couldn’t sit idly by as he encountered his brothers and sisters in South Dallas ravaged by institutional inequities. He left a successful corporate career and moved from his home in North Dallas to serve inner-city residents of Bonton with his wife, Theda, for the past nine years. Known for crime, violence and extreme poverty, Daron knew an intervention at the macro-level was not only necessary, but possible in Bonton.
Daron is referred to as a “social entrepreneur,” having started multiple successful social ventures; Bonton Honey Company, The Market at Bonton Farms, a Coffee House, a Farmers Market, CityBuild Housing and most notably, Bonton Farms, one of the largest urban farms in the United States.
Daron is not only the Founder and CEO, he is the perpetual visionary and re-inventor of what’s possible. Bonton Farms is so much more than a farm, it is the catalyst that is helping to level the playing field; creating the systematic change necessary so the residents of Bonton and as a model to other marginalized neighborhoods across Dallas and the country can achieve the “American Dream” that was promised 200 years ago.
“Our goal is not to simply grow food because we’re in a food desert, but to address WHY Bonton is a food desert. We’re not here to fix broken people, but to be the hands and feet to fix broken systems.”
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Bigger Than Us #163
This transcript has been lightly edited.
Host Raj Daniels 00:09
Daron, how are you doing today?
Daron Babcock 00:41
I’m doing great. Happy to be here with you.
Host Raj Daniels 00:56
Daron, I’m super excited to speak with you. I’d like to start with this question. I found a quote in an interview you gave and it said, “Food insecurity is a symptom, not a cause.” Can you expand on that?
Daron Babcock 01:38
Yeah, well, unfortunately, I think we’re in a time where we’re better known for hitting the bull’s eye of the wrong target. When we ask shallow questions, we get answers that are of the same quality of the question we ask. And so I think a lot of times we’re looking at things that seem egregious. Somebody writes an article about them, or it becomes something that the news channels pick up. And we hear about food insecurity. Maybe it’s because of the pandemic that food insecurity awareness is heightened, and it brings up the conversation of food deserts and food insecurity. And people then become aware of it and start looking for answers.
Well, that doesn’t seem right, that we’re in the richest country in the history of the world. And we have communities that are food-insecure. What do we do about? Well, we need to lobby to get a grocery store. And when we do that, as I said, in the beginning, we are masters at hitting the bullseye of the wrong target. And so what happens is we address a symptom of a larger problem, and it doesn’t have the impact that we hoped it would have.
Then it starts to drain energy from solving and focusing resources on the true answers that get to the root of the problem so that food insecurity, low graduation rates, health consequences, high teen birth rates, homelessness, addiction, all of the other things that are associated with that begin to get addressed as well.
Host Raj Daniels 03:07
It almost sounds like, in parallel, you speaking about the health care system, too. I find very often when I speak to people in the health care system, they talk about addressing the symptoms and not the causes.
Daron Babcock 03:19
Yes. And you know, the interesting thing is if you were to look at any community, the USDA is the one that defines a food desert. And so if you go to the USDA site, you can plug in and find out where all of the food deserts across the country are. What I would wager is that in any community that the USDA identifies as a food desert, what you would also find in all of those communities is that poverty is the norm. There’s little to no economic development in recent years or even decades. The schools test at subpar rates below average, to the school systems they’re in. They don’t have access to fresh, affordable food, they don’t have health care, and they don’t have any banking as we’re accustomed to. The financial tools that are there are predatory. And those are all common. Those are all things that you would find in a community that would identify as food-insecure.
Host Raj Daniels 04:17
Very interesting. Now speaking of the right target and community, can you give the audience an overview of Bonton Farms and your role at the organization?
Daron Babcock 04:26
Yes, well, Bonton Farms has evolved. It wasn’t really something that was planned. I got involved because a friend of mine was involved in prison ministry and one of the gentlemen he met inside the prison system was paroled and happened to be from Bonton. So he started coming to this community to meet with them, and other people started showing up and I got invited down and so that was the genesis is just me becoming aware of this place and the people that call this place home.
Every Saturday, I would come down. And those men that would show up week in and week out would always say the same thing: “Nobody’s given us a chance to work. And if we can’t work, we’re gonna wind up going back to the streets.” And that seems like such a simple problem, right? And so I’m the new guy. I don’t really know what’s going on. So after several months of listening to that, I finally just asked the question of like, “Are we going to show up every week and talk about lament over the fact that we have this problem? At any point in time, are we going to talk about what can we do? Is there something we can do about?”
It’s crazy that nobody had asked that question yet. And so they looked back at me like I was a little bit crazy and started saying, “Well, what can we do?” And that’s what started the conversation and what actually led to the birth of Bonton Farms. It’s listening to the community, it’s learning those things that I just shared with you. The fact that our communities, our inner-city communities, were started at a time where we viewed Black people, particularly African-American people, differently than others. And they were forbidden to live where white people lived. So we created these segregated communities. And in order to keep them segregated, we started to apply for a new program that started in the 1950s called public housing.
A lot of our cities applied for federal money to get public housing and those public housing developments, formerly known as the projects, were all located in predominantly African-American communities that were founded after slavery ended by Black families that now are free. But I can’t live where communities already exist. So we have to start our own. And that’s where most of the formations of our inner cities came from. So if you do any work in the inner city, what you’ll start to learn is what I alluded to earlier, that there are these huge tools, the tools that we all use as human beings to build our life. The school system, the banking system, the economic system that provides businesses where goods and services and that we use are located. It’s the healthcare system. Those things are all absent in inner-city communities.
Really what Bonton Farms grew into from listening to our community. We’re a disrupter of the systems of inequity that were established at a time where our country built housing simply to keep Black people separate. And so that’s what we do. We’re disruptors of those systems. And we happen to use farms as our catalyst to address the food insecurity issue. But it also helped create jobs.
We’ve created over 50 full-time jobs that will pay over a million and a half dollars in wages back into our community. And that economic empowerment coupled with growing our own food and taking the power of over our own food systems has led to a great change in our community. I’m proud to say that I’m now the CEO of Bonton Farms. And we are well underway to seeing that those foundational structures that I’ve mentioned several times now are in place in our community so that our neighbors can use those to build a life with just like you and I do.
Host Raj Daniels 08:20
So for those that might not be aware. Can you share where Bonton Farms is located? And then what exactly Bonton Farms does?
Daron Babcock 08:28
Yeah, so we are located on the banks of the Trinity River in South Dallas, about seven minutes south of downtown, about three miles straight south of Fair Park. So hopefully that gives folks to a bearing.
We are located, like I said, on the banks of the Trinity River because that was a floodplain. And it was a place where Black families could first settle after Emancipation Proclamation. And so that’s where Bonton Farms is located on the back of the dead-end street, Bexar Street, that runs through the heart of our community. There we have a farm, a restaurant, a food preservatory, where we make pickled, fermented, jelly, and jam-type items, a coffee house, a tiny home village, and a farmers’ market.
So really at Bonton Farms, we’re three things.
One, we’re a place where people come from all over the world, to see what we’re doing and to experience our community and the work that we do. And in doing so, we get to be an educator to help heal these long-lasting wounds across our country, ignite creativity for others so they can go back into their communities and cities where they live and start to address the problems as we are here.
Secondly, we serve men and women that are coming out of really difficult circumstances, from incarceration to homelessness, addiction, human trafficking, domestic abuse and the like.
And we provide them a family, a life plan, and an opportunity to create to participate in a paid internship so that they can build a resume to apply for a job in one of the social enterprises that we created. They can leverage that experience into a career working with one of our employment partners like Brinker International, or ClubCorp, or Borden’s Dairy, as some examples.
I kind of just refer to us as a bridge to help people who have somehow struggled through any of those things I mentioned find a pathway to self-sufficiency and a flourishing life. We do that by creating these tools. We call them human essentials. It’s banking, customized for our community. It’s healthcare, customized for our community. It’s food systems customized to our community. It’s economic development, customized to our community. And it’s really building an educational system that allows our kids to have an access to world-class education so that they can compete in the free market economy as well.
So I know that’s a lot. Bonton Farms has a holistic approach to human flourishing. And so we’re involved in a lot of things. So it becomes a little difficult to explain.
Host Raj Daniels 11:16
So is it a working farm? And if it is, can you give some idea of how big it is?
Daron Babcock 11:20
Yeah, we are the largest urban farm in the United States with over 41 acres in production inside the Dallas city limits. We have a city block of land in the community of Bonton, and then we have a 40-acre farm that is down by the I 26–35 interchange.
Host Raj Daniels 11:38
Is the number 40 acres by by chance, by coincidence?
Daron Babcock 11:41
It is just by coincidence. Yes, sir.
Host Raj Daniels 11:45
What do you do with your harvest, with your yield?
Daron Babcock 11:48
Three things. We sell it through our farmers’ market. In the community, we sell it through the Dallas farmers’ market. We use it in our restaurant to prepare farm-fresh meals. And then we sell it to a few restaurants in Dallas that are farm-to-table-type restaurants.
Host Raj Daniels 12:07
Now you’ve used the words “our community” quite a bit. Do you live close to the farm or in the community?
Daron Babcock 12:14
I moved to Bonton when all this started. The first part, as I mentioned, was learning. There is no Bonton Farms without listening to our community and following their lead on addressing the problems at hand. And the only way that I could effectively do that and earn the trust of our community is to move there. The farm is on the far south end of our community and I lived right in the heart of our of community of Bonton. So I was probably about seven blocks from the farm for 10 years. And then we recently moved to a new home. I’ve got two boys that are about to start families and with the anticipation of possibly having grandchildren soon, we moved into a house that’s a little larger, about seven minutes outside of Bonton.
Host Raj Daniels 13:01
How was that initial transition for you, moving to the area?
Daron Babcock 13:04
Host Raj Daniels 13:05
Daron Babcock 13:06
Very difficult. You know, I hate to admit this. I thought that it would be easier than it was. But the truth of the matter is that the comforts that I had become so accustomed to having meant more to me than I thought they did. I thought I’d be able to let go of them and be okay, but to be honest with you, I struggled a bit. You know, I moved from a 4000-square-foot home in a gated community to a 1200-square-foot habitat house in the middle of the inner city. And there were as I said, it was just harder for me to let go of the things that I had built around that life, that made things easy and comfortable for me, that I had to let go of and do without when I moved to Bonton.
Host Raj Daniels 13:53
How did your peers or your social circle respond to you moving?
Daron Babcock 13:57
Almost all of them either thought I was crazy, told me I was crazy, shook their head and just kind of walked away. I think I solidified some friendships and I think I lost some friendships.
Host Raj Daniels 14:11
It’s very interesting. There’s that adage: “You are the product of your five closest friends or your social circle.” And many times I feel that people hold themselves back from making a change in their lives because they’re so tied into that social circle.
Daron Babcock 14:28
I couldn’t agree more. I think that in our world, there are so many people that are holding within them the keys to something new and amazing. And the people around them are probably giving them counsel that are holding them back and in many regards, I think as that old adage goes, a lot of us die with our music still in us for that reason.
Host Raj Daniels 14:52
I agree, and so beautiful. Now you mentioned relationships and you’ve mentioned the company Brinker and a couple other companies. How did you create these relationships? Can you give an example of an individual that perhaps went through your system and now is gainfully employed at one of these companies?
Daron Babcock 15:10
We have a gentleman named Brian, who grew up in the streets, a really difficult life. Didn’t have the emotional intelligence to handle all of the struggles that he endured and wound up using drugs and alcohol as a crutch to deal with those things, as so many of us do. That’s also my story, by the way. And Brian had a choice to spend almost the rest of his life in prison or to get clean, and to choose a different path. And he went through almost a year-long recovery program with one of our great partners, Amanda, Nehemiah.
And when he got out of that, he came to Bonton Farms and plugged in to our community and started learning to work through our paid internship, testing a lot of the life skills that he learned inside rehab in a more open environment, in public — it’s not as sterilized as inside a rehab — and really building up his skillset and strengths to be able to navigate this world and leverage his experience at Bonton Farms to get a job at Borden’s and is now reunited with his children. He’s been sober for over two and a half years and is building his resume and work history by continuing to take seriously those things that he learned, that are helping him live the life he aspired to. He’s not a victim of those things that have happened.
We are so much more than what has happened to us. But all too often, the things that happen to us hit us so hard that we wind up looking like the things that happened to us, looking like we’re not whole, looking like we’ve been damaged, and looking like we’re victims, instead of looking like we can be victorious in spite of those things. And Brian’s a perfect example of somebody that exemplifies that victory in spite of all he’s endured.
Host Raj Daniels 17:08
Let’s talk about resumes for a moment. I heard you mentioned it on another interview, or I think maybe on the TEDx talk you gave, and it never really struck me as a barrier to employment. But how are you helping the individuals that are coming through your system, develop resumes, you know, when they have no work history, and then convincing these companies to hire them?
Daron Babcock 17:29
If you think about it, when you fill out an application, if that’s all you have, say, an entry level job that wouldn’t require a resume, so to speak, but you have to fill out an application. And in some ways that application is telling your story. And in almost every application, you have to say whether you’ve ever been convicted of a felony. So if we’re serving men and women that have been — for example, women that have been trafficked, but have committed felony crimes, not because they chose to, but because they had been literally kidnapped and enslaved to sell their bodies. But because they’re in the prostitution game and wound up getting arrested for it, now that’s on the record.
Well, that is their story. And if we’re going to help them tell a different story, they need to build a track record where what they’ve done lately overshadows where they’ve been before. And so it’s really important to build a track record of what you’ve been doing to invest in your life and to build your life and to get it on track. And the things that you’re learning to create value in this world that are important to a potential employer, that they see that you have something to offer their company.
And so we help people build skills that are valuable, that they can learn to appreciate and communicate, so that they can help tell the world that just because they’ve been through stuff doesn’t mean that they’re not hardworking. They can understand how to work and to be a good teammate and to create value in the marketplace. And all of the businesses that we have at Bonton Farms are uniquely designed to help teach those lessons to those that come through and let us serve with them.
Host Raj Daniels 19:05
What are the top one or two skills that you think help individuals get work after your program?
Daron Babcock 19:13
Man, I don’t know if I could say one or two. But the thing that comes to mind first when you ask that question is value creation.
Our community — generally, I was raised being taught about value creation. My grandfather used to put it a little differently. He would always say, “Son, if you do more than what you get paid for, before long, you’ll get paid more for what you do.” But what he was really saying is, the more value you create, the more opportunities you have, the better off you’ll be, the more you’ll get compensated, the more you’ll be rewarded. Our communities generally have never been told that. And so what we do, maybe one of the greatest things that we teach, is that you have the power. You have the power over what you earn and the positions that you have in life by how much value you create in this world.
I think that’s maybe one of those singular big ideas that, generally speaking, has not been told or shared with the community that we serve. I think the other things are more simple. 70% of the people I get to work with have never — the average age is 38 years old, and 70% of them have never worked a real job before. 70% have never received a W-2. And so we talk about things that are highly valuable in the marketplace, like showing up on time, punctuality. Being a good teammate, helping the people around you be better. Not just being able to identify a problem, but being a problem solver. Being responsible and dependable.
Your attitude is something you can choose. And if you choose to have a positive attitude every day, that’s highly valuable attribute to have in the marketplace. Conflict resolution is becoming something we see as more rare of a skill. And so we work a lot on being effective at resolving conflict. And those are the primary attributes that we try to hold those that we serve accountable to exhibiting every day because they’re all things that they can choose to do. I don’t have to go to a great business school to learn how to do any of those things we just described. But there’s a lot of employers that would pay dearly, to have people that exemplify those attributes day in and day out.
Host Raj Daniels 21:27
You know, Daron, it sounds like you’re doing amazing work. And I’m going to shift here to the crux of our conversation, which is the why behind what you do. You know, you mentioned leaving the suburbs sounds like you uprooted your entire life. What led you in this direction? What pushed you? What’s your Why?
Daron Babcock 21:46
My why is to see the full potential of everybody I get to walk alongside manifest. How that came about is that I grew up with all of the tools and resources I need. Yet, my first wife was diagnosed with cancer at a young age, when my boys were only five and six years old. She passed away when they were seven and eight. I didn’t have the emotional tools to handle that and other things that I had been through in my life. And I wound up becoming really angry and bitter. And that led to me self-medicating to try to deal with my pain. And I wound up with a drug and alcohol problem as a result of that.
There was a time where life became so unmanageable to me that I had given up. And yet the people around me who loved me wouldn’t give up on me, even though I’d given up on myself. And I’m here today because of them. When I got introduced to Bonton, I met people like me that had some really difficult things happen to them in life that they were struggling to overcome. And they were struggling to build a healthy life. And they didn’t have what I had. They didn’t have people who were encouraging them, who were that were holding them up when they couldn’t hold themselves up. And so I found my why when I found this community of people who, like me, had suffered, like me, were fighting still, but like me weren’t going to be able to make it without somebody believing in me and helping me. And I got to give back what I was so freely given: just the patience and love to carry and walk with people that for whatever reason, at this point in time, aren’t able to carry and walk on their own.
And that’s what I get to do every day. I tell everybody all the time, I don’t hardly make any money anymore. But I am the richest man in Dallas, because the relationships and the transformation in lives of people who the rest of the world has given up on and to see them step into who they were created to be, and not a product of what they’ve experienced, is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever experienced in any form or fashion in this life.
Host Raj Daniels 24:01
It’s amazing, Daron, and I’m sure there are many. But what’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned about yourself on your journey?
Daron Babcock 24:08
I think that we will all go back to what we started talking about: how to live by your convictions and not to listen to all the noise around you. I can’t tell you how many people have told me that this can’t be done. That this shouldn’t be done, that it’s not safe, that I can’t earn a living doing it, hat the people don’t want to change. I could talk for a full hour about all of the things that people told me of why I shouldn’t do this and why I couldn’t do this. And to be honest with you, most of the good things I’ve done in my life are things where I’ve gone against the grain. I’m a rebel because I’ve learned that almost everything good in my life has come through rebellion. If I was obedient, I would probably be working behind some cubicle at some dead-end job, not making a lick of a difference in this world. But just living to provide for myself, put a roof over my head, and get up the next day. Rinse and repeat. And so that’s a long way around. I think I think being stubborn and being resilient are two things I’ve learned about me that I have in me. But I don’t have enough of it. I want to continue to work to drive out of fearlessness, and how I approach things I believe in and at resiliency when I face obstacles — and I hate when I face people that tell me I can’t or shouldn’t, or whatever else — that I’m strong enough to push through that. And so I’m grateful for those tools that I’ve been given, but I’m also not satisfied with them. I want to continue to hone them and become stronger in those areas.
Host Raj Daniels 25:38
Reminds me of that George Bernard Shaw. “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
Daron Babcock 25:52
Yes. Do you remember the view remember the old Apple commercial that Steve Jobs did after he came back from being from fired and took back over the helm of Apple? And they ran those commercials called, “Here’s to the crazy ones.”
Host Raj Daniels 26:10
Was that the “think different?” Or was that something else?
Daron Babcock 26:13
Yeah, it’s think different. But it says, “Here’s to the crazy ones, the rebels, the misfits, the troublemakers, the round pegs in square holes, the ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine they heal, they explore, they create, they inspire, they push the human race forward. Maybe they have to be crazy, because the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
Host Raj Daniels 26:53
It’s beautiful. Now, let’s fast forward into the future. I’ve got a two-part question for you here. First one might be easier than second one. The first part is, it’s 2030. If Forbes or any one of these publications were to write a headline about Bonton Farms, what would you like it to read?
Daron Babcock 27:14
Boy, that’s a good question. The thing that comes to mind is — my mind is racing.
The first thing that popped into my head was, “The World Can Be Changed a Life at a Time.”Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book called The Tipping Point. And in it, he talks about how a small group of people have the power to change the world. It’s why we don’t have shag carpet or bell bottom jeans anymore. We don’t have green and orange appliances in our homes anymore. Fashion changes every couple of years. Music trends change because a small group of people introduce us to something and it catches on. And I think what we see happening in Bonton is that when one person says, “I’m not going to become a victim of my circumstances. I’m going to fight, and I’m going to overcome.” And when people around them see they overcome, it’s contagious. And before long, there’s enough of those people that they become a tipping point, where where overcoming becomes the norm.
And I think we can change the world, a life at a time. It’s really powerful. I really believe that to be true. The second one that comes to mind, and I just don’t know how to say it in a headline, is that when we make things right, the outcomes follow. It’s a horrible headline, because nobody knows what that means. I guess what I’m alluding to is one of the guys I studied in business school, a guy named Edwards Deming. And he has this thing he says, that every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gives. Think about it that. In Bonton, in our community, we incarcerate more people than any other zip code in the state of Texas — out of 3800 zip codes, we incarcerate the highest percentage of people of any other zip code. We have the second highest teen birth rate in Dallas County. We have the highest infant mortality rate. We graduate about half our kids from high school. We suffer from more than double the rate of cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and childhood obesity than the county we’re in.
If Deming is right, that every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets, then what Bonton Farms is doing is changing that system to get the outcomes that we want, not the outcomes that we’ve been given. And I don’t know how to put that in the headline. But if you can figure that out, it’s worth a lot.
Host Raj Daniels 29:35
If you really just pay attention to what you said regarding “every system is designed to get the results,” If you have any feelings, it kind of makes the hairs in the back of your neck stand up a little.
Daron Babcock 29:47
The thing is, I sit there in this community and I watch.
Daron Babcock 29:50
Here’s the thing that’s so powerful to me: about half of our men in our community will go to prison before their 25th birthday. Think about that. Now we have a school that we helped start called the Kings Academy. We have 58 kids in that school this year. If you would come down to Bonton with me and sit in that school — and I want you to walk around every table, and just talk to the kids while they’re doing their schoolwork. And then after 30 minutes or an hour of talking to the kids, you and I step outside. And I want you to tell me which 50% of those children are going to prison. Think about that. Half of our kids, every year, by the time they’re 25, will go to prison. And it’s been that way for 40 years. And from where I stand, that’s a travesty. And it’s unacceptable. And it’s preventable. And that’s what we’re all about is changing the system so that the outcomes, the potential that’s created in people can be realized, because they’re not marginalized.
Host Raj Daniels 30:49
And speaking of systems, and the second part of my question about the future. Magic wand, if you could enact some policy changes in the next 10 years, one or two, maybe even three, what would they be?
Daron Babcock 31:02
One of them? So I don’t know if you heard or not, but we just had a criminal justice reform passed into law. That was the Bonton Farms bill, it’s now the Banton Farms Act. We just got back from Austin about six weeks ago. Our state government, the bipartisan Democrats and Republicans drafted a bill and passed it through, and we got to be present when Governor Abbott signed it into law. And it changes the system so that every man and woman coming home from incarceration has local warrants and finds, classy misdemeanor type tickets, wiped clean so that they can come back and get their ID or driver’s license and get a job without those barriers. And so those are the kinds of things that we’re working on. I think that if I could change the system, I will disallow predatory lending. Where weak things are, where vulnerable things are, predators will show up. It’s a law of nature. And so what we see around our inner-city communities are a lot of liquor stores, a lot of payday loans, title loans, and pawn shops. A lot of slum lords take advantage of people not having the same kind of defense or protection against some of their abusive practices. I would lobby to eliminate a lot of those unfair practices. The fact that a predatory lender can charge an average 380% interest, I think is a crime, but it’s not. And so those are the things that I would fight for.
Host Raj Daniels 32:32
Well, congratulations on having that bill passed. I think it’s fantastic. And I agree with you regarding the predatory lending; it should be a crime.
Daron Babcock 32:39
Yeah, I think there are lot of banks that fund the predatory lenders. And I think unraveling all of that, and making sure that all our communities have access to those tools, and that there are regulations around them that make it fair, is a great starting point. And it’s unbelievable to me in 2021, that’s not still the norm.
Host Raj Daniels 33:00
It is unbelievable. Daron,earlier you talked about being stubborn and resilient. And I guess that is advice. But if you could share some words of advice with the audience, and it could be personal or professional recommendations, what would it be?
Daron Babcock 33:15
I think one of the most profound things is that we live in a country where we’ve been kind of lulled to sleep to just pursue a career.
One of my favorite authors is a guy named Donald Miller. And he wrote a book called A Million Miles and 1000 Years. I’ll probably butcher this; it’s been a while since I read it. But he tells this story in the beginning, that if you courted this beautiful woman, and you really wanted to take her on a date, and you finally got her to agree to go on a date with you. And you saved up your money and you went to a movie. And the movie that you went to was a story about a family that had it all together. The kids went to school, make good grades, went off to college, got a job, bought a house, had two kids and the story ended? You’d want your money back like. That is no story. But millions and millions and millions of us live that story every day. We get up, we go to school, we graduate, we get a job, we get married, we have some kids, we buy a house, we get a car, and then we just live out the rest of our lives that way. And we tell all the people in Bonton, that you have a fingerprint that nobody else has, to leave an imprint that nobody else can.
I think this one opportunity, that for those of us that are alive, that woke up this morning, and have a heartbeat and lungs pumping in and out of our air, that we have an obligation to take a look at this life more seriously and say, “Why am I here? And what do I have to contribute?” And to contribute in a way, as Steve Jobs used to always say, to leave a dent in the universe. And I don’t think that most of us think that way.
And like I said in the beginning, I think a lot of us die with our music still in us. I just think that whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you do, whatever unique skillset, some passions that you have, we have a responsibility by the life that we’ve been given to find out what that gift is and to give it back in a broader way than just to help provide for ourselves and our own families.
Host Raj Daniels 35:13
Daron, I love that advice. Leave a dent in the universe. I thank you for your time today. I wish you all the best with Bonton Farms and look forward to catching up with you again soon.
Daron Babcock 35:22
Thank you so much. What a pleasure to be here with you today, and I’m just honored that I got invited to share this time with you.
Before we go, I’m excited to share that we’ve launched the Bigger Than Us comic strip, The Adventures of Mira and Nexi.
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