Never before has our work as farmers and stewards been so important. Take care of your farm’s most important asset: you. Wash your hands more frequently and make sure you are getting adequate sleep. We need our strength these days.
Revisit your farm’s food safety plan, especially the health and personal hygiene plan. Keep yourself and your employees in good health.
Make a plan for running your farm if you, your family, or your employees get sick. Consider the scenarios of 10, 50, or 75% of farm labor out sick for 2 weeks and try to be realistic. Involve the whole farm team in this conversation. Reach out to neighbors or other farm friends who might be able to help. Here are some questions to consider:
Prepare for market changes. We are already seeing the impacts of this pandemic on wholesale and direct markets and getting calls from farmers who are concerned. Customers may shy away where there are crowds. What creative solutions could help address these concerns and keep customers connected to our locally-grown food?
Reach out to farmers and community members around you that you know are having challenges. Now is the time to strengthen the fabric of our own communities by increasing our social connections. Pick up the phone and call them. It is that simple.
Don’t think social distancing means social isolation. We are being asked to practice social distancing to slow the spread of the virus, but we have many ways to keep and grow our connections with each other. Call someone. Stay connected to those around you. Ask for help. Offer help. We are in this together.
Release stress. In times of stress, it helps to take a pause and slow down. Do what works for you, such as:
In times like these — when uncertainty upsets the daily rhythms of our communities — we agriculturists have the opportunity to tap into timeless rhythms of a new season and deliver on a call to action.
We have a history of rallying to grow more food during times of national crisis. During WWII, the U.S. channeled people's energy into practical action by encouraging Victory Gardens. By doubling efforts at home and on the farm, we strengthened our communities and provided hope in a time of stress.
As farmers and gardeners, we have tremendous biological wealth. While we may not always have cash, we have access to soil, plants, and animals that are the foundation of life. We can share that wealth and help lead our communities through this time of struggle.
Reach out to us if you need help. We may not have all the answers, but we can listen with compassion and try to connect you with resources. Please also share your stories of hope!
We are in this together.
Last updated May 18, 2020