There is no need to panic.
I was walking about in our fields of vegetables on Friday morning and as we were harvesting kale and leeks and other veg, I found it very difficult to reconcile what we were doing with what was happening around the country. Supermarkets became places of chaos, as scenes of empty shelves went viral on social media.
The vulnerability of our food system was never more apparent to me. A sharp hit to the global supply network and food stops rolling.
Surely there is a better way that is not so reliant on a convoluted complex web of logistics and deliveries to the point where we have no idea of what we are eating or where it is coming from.
As I was mulling these ideas over in my head, my phone buzzed, it was a local organic farmer who was concerned. Her usual restaurant customers would not be taking her organic salad due to the changing circumstances and she didn’t know what she would do. It was a timely call and it felt so right to say of course we would take it. We could take it because that is our policy, source as close to home as possible, and we can have a policy like this because you support us.
So I thought there is a better way and this is it.
And there has to be a better way, because it is at the heart of this very system that this pandemic we as a society are now grappling with began. Our food system of globalisation, mass production, intensive factory farming, the indiscriminate use of antibiotics, to boost yields and keep the price of meat low is hollowing out this planet and is helping create the conditions that allow these diseases to flourish.
For once I was heartened to see the government respond in a meaningful way. The final definitive action that was taken to put health and lives above “business as usual” was not easy I imagine but it was the right decision. As always it is never black and white and please take a moment to consider all the small coffee shops, restaurants, shops and others that are currently facing desperate times, this is people’s livelihoods and it is serious.
I know and I understand this pain too. I have gambled everything for this business including my grand-dad’s farm and I am responsible for many jobs. Last week was as difficult as they come, there didn’t seem to be any right way forward and really you can only take the decisions you think are right and wait and see.
I also feel for the more vulnerable, I for my part am not afraid of the virus, I am not afraid of getting sick, I will get better and so will you. But I am afraid for others that are not in such good health and are older. These are the people that need to take extra care and need to be cared for.
Will things just go back to business as usual again when this passes or can we learn and find a new way to do things? Maybe we can learn and take solace in the fact that concerted action is possible when we see that it is necessary. This gives me hope with the more ominous threat of climate change that we can force through the necessary changes to save our planet.
Wherever you are and whatever you are doing take this time to enjoy something ordinary, the dawn of spring, the birdsong, the daffodils, there is hope and beauty out there in abundance and this will pass.