Hi! I hope this finds you well out there – this feels a weird time to be writing, I should be out picking vegetables, they’re gleaming at me from the bushes. Beautiful eggplants, ripening globes of sweet tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers hiding under green leaves and golden, dark green and striped zuchs doing the ghosty somewhere and as always you find them too late. But I think in this weird time it is ever important to communicate. Sometimes I’m not great at communicating, I don’t have the right words lined up together in my brain let alone for them to come out of my mouth in an understandable format. My hands are better at creating the shapes and emotions and ideas better than my words a lot of the time. Poor Sas has to contend with interpreting that more than anyone and she does a good job. If anyone else heard our conversations sometimes they would think we’re mind readers cos we’re not even using real words! But seriously, it is a time to communicate. In whatever way you can, so please bear with me as I scramble together some words and thoughts today.
It is a weird balance to be conscious, careful and resilient without buying into panic, anxiety and stress. We are so aware that we can’t get sick right now. And by sick I mean a cold, a flu, a broken toe, anything. Sas and I feel the responsibility of feeding our community good food. If you eat healthy food, your body is stronger, your mind is stronger. If you feed your body with no substance and dive into panic and stress your mental health and immune systems are compromised.
For us it feels like a sharp ridge of a tightrope to walk. We are holding space for each other. We feel incredibly grateful that although hard work, we get to be outside, be physical and keep a bit of day to day normality. You see, we take feeding people seriously. We think there is a growing demand and in an unknown future that it could keep increasing. We are planting more and digging more and seeding up more. We have bought bulk seeds as we know there will be a shortage of summer seeds, and we are saving more and more.
AND It’s all the things we’ve been banging on about for years! We have had a lot of thankyou’s like never before, which although overwhelming gives us energy to keep doing what we do, so thank you. Quite often we feel like we have to fight for our right (insert tune!) to exist alongside big systems, easier systems and always have to prove our validity outside of the ‘norm’. However now, we are weirdly officially fit into being “essential”…
We are grateful that we are in a place (because we have consciously constructed it) where we also know many of the people who we feed and the people who cook our food. So there is a network of people (feeders) who are working together to look after themselves, their staff and the rest of the town. It is times like these that connections and relationships speak louder than money, we’re in this together and have got each others backs – whatever that looks like!
One of the emails we received after the last farmers market (thanks Jo & Carl) made a point about how for them, they were seeing in action how we (the whole Co-op stall) were taking care of ourselves, but also of the people we were feeding. And for me, it hit the nail on the head of how we can do this, together. Sas and I, you and your neighbour and the person down the road. Its not just about making sure Me, Myself and I am ok, its checking in and seeing how I can look after you and vice versa.
We are feeling quite protective of our health right now so if you don’t see us about much its because we’re either resting or we’re farming. It feels more important than ever to provide people with good food that is safe. We want to be extra safe so we can keep growing it for you. We feel we simply cannot afford to get sick, exhausted etc etc. It is important to us that we all look after each other in this sense, keep each other healthy by being responsible. And you know what? If it ends up we’re all being over cautious (but not panicky), I’d almost prefer that cos then we know we can do it – and how much care are you showing someone when the way you act is a way that will keep them well. Its respectful and beautiful; now of course, but always.
We are trying to not feel overwhelmed, but it is a weird time and we don’t know what the future will hold. We will keep working together with our community in whatever way that looks like over the next little while to uphold our position as producers. If you know us you know how incredibly seriously we take this role. Always have, but now it feels the spotlight is on.
If you’re living somewhere and don’t know your neighbour, leave a note out on the front step, or fence or whatever you feel comfortable with. Swap numbers so people aren’t fully “isolated” as that is just as dangerous as everything else that’s going on right now. I saw a clip of a street with their tables pulled out in front of their houses so they could eat, see each other and yell conversations across the road. I loved it and was an example of how we can be imaginative and create spaces to connect.
The main thing is that we’re looking after each other with humanity, grace and compassion. Whatever our position, whatever our role, whatever our favourite song. It’s together that we’ve got this.
So stay strong out there, look up at the sky and feel the solidness of the earth under your feet. In fact, take your shoes off so you can really feel it.
Love Mel (and Sas) x