One well-known aspect of farming is its relative disconnect from society. A farmer may have a vibrant network of family and friends at home, yet still spend most of her daylight hours cut off from the world at large. This makes for a pretty surreal existence when something like Coronavirus pops up. The work that is all-consuming by day fades to an afterthought by night.
Spring came early, so during the day we’ve been out and about, getting a jump-start on the season. The chickens are back in the field, the pea beds are prepped, and the tractors are mowing down fall-planted cover crop. The Amityville greenhouse is full of flats, and we’re preparing to seed carrots in the field. Dan is revamping the irrigation system. We’ve pruned the berries and mulched the herb garden pathways. Everywhere you look, there are signs of life.
Then we head home, and things change. Our kids are breathlessly awaiting word that school has been cancelled. My inbox is flooded with notifications about virus preparedness. One trip to the store is enough to leave you nauseous—Coronavirus may be indeterminate, but the empty shelves are real. My grandparents’ senior home in Westchester is on lockdown. Everywhere you look, there are signs of fear.
In an age where information functions as currency, the uncertainty of the moment is like a global bankruptcy. We don’t know what to expect, therefore we don’t know what to do. Should I go to the gym, or should I stock up on toilet paper? Should I go to my friend’s restaurant, or should I stay home? Should I make fun of the people freaking out, or should I join them? The current fear is understandable, but panic never helps anything. In the midst of such uncertainty, we should strive to be patient with and understanding of each other. Most importantly, we cannot let fear overwhelm us. For that I recommend getting outside. Fortunately, the weather has been lovely.
Everything at the farm is business as usual, and we will continue chugging along. The virus put a slight damper on our CSA recruitment efforts (we’re in the midst of our annual March membership drive), but we still consider ourselves lucky, as far as timing goes. Our first harvest is still months away, so we haven’t suffered the effects of a market cancellation. Instead, we’re fully consumed with the work of preparing for the season ahead. For anyone looking for a nice place to take a walk and escape the chaos, our door is wide open. We guarantee visiting the chickens will make you feel better.