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Family on The Farm: a lockdown story

Family on The Farm: a lockdown story

With lockdown in full swing in early April, I found myself seated alongside two other members of my household upon a moving tractor planter, carefully bedding plant starts into the soil while another family member sat upfront in the cockpit and one more trailed along behind us with a measuring tape and trowel in-hand to check our work.

Over the past three months, we’ve put chard, kale, salad, cabbage, kohlrabi, greens, onions, squash and more into the ground, and we’re just beginning to see the fruits (or rather, the veg!) of our labour delivered weekly via the box of lush fresh produce that comes to our door.

A small food producer/CSA like The Community Farm is connected directly to customers, and the supply chain is short and simple. In comparison, during the pandemic, the 'just-in-time’ supply chains of big supermarkets resulted in milk being poured down the drain and gluts of meat thrown away. Keep in mind that this happened in a country where an estimated 8.4 million (10.1%) people are living in households where adults report food insecurity.

While supermarket aisles stood empty, The Community Farm’s fields were well-stocked with budding organic vegetables, all caringly hand-planted by field workers and volunteers like my family. With business as usual upended during the pandemic, The Farm has shown just how resilient and secure a local food system can be during a time of crisis. Bare shelves don’t mean there’s not enough food to go around, but that it’s just not being distributed properly.

Being part of this community – putting food into the soil and watching it grow – has made me feel rooted in place and reassuringly connected to the land and other field workers at a most uncertain time. Not only that, but doing such work in wind, rain or shine provided solace and purpose during lockdown, and, despite the weather, even felt like a holiday just an hour’s cycle from home.

Written by Athlyn Cathcart-Keays

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