I take great solace in having a deep relationship with my food, the land and people who produce it — now more than ever with the uncertainty many of us are experiencing. It is this connection that keeps me grounded in a completely literal way.
When this pandemic began a number of months ago, I remember asking – why this? Why now? Why us? What is this teaching us and how do we not forget the lessons when the crisis subsides, or perhaps becomes more the norm?
Earlier this week as I was journaling, I began jotting down some of the lessons I have learned, relearned, or taken in on a much deeper level as a result of the virus that has been infecting our lives.
- If I had any hope that our big, seemingly invincible industrial food system would adjust and perhaps evolve into a less extractive and or harmful direction, that hope has now been snuffed out. More and more news stories are exposing inhumane working conditions, further massive consolidation, widespread green-washing and false advertising. The function of regenerative agriculture and resilient food systems have just become even more essential to our health and survival.
- Cheap food – even Organically Certified cheap food – comes at a very high cost to us. Truly good food always requires care, investment in the long term, and attending to the environment and soils – the source of all health and nutrition. Cheap food, on the other hand, is always the result of low wages, industrial style working conditions, animals that are treated as disposable parts of a machine, waste and environmental damage that become somebody else’s problem (and expense)! The more the true cost of food is revealed, the stronger my resolve has become to support only those systems that care for our planet and our people.
- Cooking and eating at home with family and (a few socially responsible) friends – tastes and feels so much better than eating out. I am shocked at how little I miss eating out, and how much money I am saving on food. As restaurants begin to open back up here in Vermont, I am making a deliberate commitment to pick my 2-3 favorites local restaurants – the people I trust to cook for me, and who source food as I do at home – and support their good work. These are the places where I will treat myself to the occasional meal I know and will enjoy on every level. On top of it all these are the businesses and practices I want to encourage and support.
- Finally – I have learned that I can take my personal health into my own hands. If I know who is producing my food, and if I get it insanely fresh, and if I prepare it for myself and my family – then I can take control of the most important medicine for our health and the health of the overall planet.
I would like to end with an expression of gratitude: Throughout these troubling times you have continued to choose to source your food and support the trustworthy farmers and producers that you knew were close by. You made this choice for many reasons: Shortages, supermarket chaos, fear of going out, etc. This choice to support Farmers to You’s work in reconnecting you to your foodshed, farmers and skilled food producers, does work. Your support has made a big difference. Even if some of you choose to go back to some of your pre-crisis ways of nourishment, your efforts have made our healthy food system stronger and more resilient. Thanks to your faith, trust, and willingness to change, we have built a working, sustainable, nourishing, and healing regional food system. We do this together. We do this in community.
For this, I am grateful for your continual faith and support.