Let’s talk about food and the Covid-19 pandemic. Specifically, I’d like to address what I know first hand, the view from the organic produce farm I manage. I can’t start there, of course, because there are a few things that every responsible human needs to say at every opportunity right now:
There are no two sides to this crisis. I.e. it IS a crisis. There is no other take, no way around it, no other way to understand it. THIS IS A GLOBAL PANDEMIC AND WE ARE ALL AT RISK. Even if you think you’ll be fine if you catch Covid-19, an overwhelmed medical system isn’t going to get to you if you break your leg or come down with something else. It isn’t just people with Covid-19 who will die from this pandemic, it’s those who can’t get help with other ailments, those who lose their lives in the economic collapse, those who don’t have access to prescriptions or basic supplies, those who can’t go on.
There is a difference between media and journalism and primary sources. If you don’t know whether to trust a blog or the NYT, trust the Times. If you don’t know whether to trust a politician or the WHO, trust the WHO. Never, ever, trust an outlet that relies on sex appeal or yelling to get you to tune in.
And one last thing before we move on to food: DON”T GO OUT AND BE AROUND PEOPLE. For the love of absolutely anything, stay the hell away from everyone. It’s not a joke or something to take as a personal affront, it’s a matter of life and death and there is no other way you should be looking at it. We weren’t ready for this. We mismanaged it for months, and now people are dying and the economy is going to go through a painful adjustment.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about food.
First, food farmers are still farming. That’s good. Some of the supply chain is being adjusted, which will be tricky, but I feel pretty confident that we will keep getting the food to you as long as the trucks are on the road. A lot of farm labor is particularly vulnerable to economic and health strains and that could be a problem on larger farms.
Restaurants are struggling and the profit margins are very slim to begin with so some of them are going to go under. Support who you want to keep with donations or delivery.
If you can participate in a CSA or online buying directly from a farm, it’s a shorter trip from soil to plate and it’s likely fewer people have handled it. You should still wash everything, but at least it hasn’t been breathed on by 50 people at a grocer.
Everyone has been told to stop with the hoarding from the grocer but it’s still happening. The sad thing is, the veggies are still on the shelves. So, I guess we still don’t actually care about our health. Just a reminder: highly processed food (like the crackers I just ate) make humans sick. Make sure they are a tiny portion of your diet.
And here, at our farm, we have limited volunteers to teams of two and cut back on their hours and increased some of our planting in case the community needs more donated food. We are making alternative plans for our annual plant sale and preparing to change how our CSA members pick up their shares to prevent the socializing we would normally cherish. Farmers’ markets are closing so it may be that you need to get online to purchase from your favorite farms via virtual market. The logistics are the variable right now.
I’m worried about the fact that the parking lots all over town are still full and people are walking around being fools. I’m worried about the lives of those who will get sick, those who will lose loved ones, those who are in the medical arena fighting being our soldiers in this war, and those who are going to lose everything in the crumbling economy. Most of us are. And there is no “but.” It’s terrible. Full stop.
I know what I have to do right now so, as the sun comes up, I’m going to go plant some veggies.
Love from the (new) farm, katy