Farming Alongside COVID-19
March 19, 2020
Greetings Farm Community,
First and foremost, we hope you all are healthy and safe. These are frightening times, and we hope you have managed to find a measure of comfort in the midst of such uncertainty.
Secondly, we want to assure you that the farm is chugging along by day, while keeping abreast of COVID-19 developments by night. Even as other NY businesses are required to power down, farms are included in Governor Cuomo’s list of essential services that must carry on. Now more than ever, people are seeking a safe, local food source, and we are keenly aware of our responsibility to meet that demand. The challenge for us is plotting a course through a landscape that changes by the hour. Fortunately, this is something farmers are particularly good at—hoping for the best, while simultaneously preparing for the worst.
Experts suggest COVID-19 will peak in early May, so we are preparing for the likelihood that added safety precautions will still be needed when harvests begin in late May. It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again: Everyone needs to wash their hands! Disposable gloves for our food handlers and regular sanitizing of common touch points are basic measures we will be implementing both in the fields and around the Tin House. Other measures on the table are extending pickup hours to mitigate crowds, individually packaging certain items, and/or boxing all shares. All of these measures will increase our labor and supply costs, so we don’t consider them lightly, but we do consider them. At the same time, we must also emphasize that in normal times, moderate exposure to pathogens is good for our immune systems, i.e. we don’t want our actions now to be construed as a backtracking of our firmly-held belief that dirt is good for you! But these are not normal times, so we will do our best, as we always do.
We feel for so many people at the moment. For the elderly cut off from the world. For the immune-compromised cowering in fear. For the parents who have been handed the teaching baton at the same time that they must absorb a catastrophic shock. For the small business owners, gig workers, artists, and others suddenly cut adrift. For the youth who stand to be overlooked. For the kids who don’t understand. We at Restoration Farm are lucky to have been spared the worst, and embrace the role we have to play—feeding our community the most nourishing food possible. We’re looking forward to sharing it with you, and reconnecting with you, very, very soon.
All the best,
Caroline & Dan