The rapid spread of the coronavirus and the current COVID-19 crisis are highlighting how interconnected we all are, as well as the places where the industrial food system is broken.
As moms and shepherds committed to regenerative farming, we are deeply concerned for our planet and all who depend on it for life. We’re also incredibly hopeful that this time will move us toward solutions and motivate more people to create a better, healthier, and more resilient world.
Large-scale industrial meat production may be efficient and offer a cheap product, but this comes at a huge expense. This industry has been built on an extractive economy with supply chains that bring wealth to a few while often exploiting workers and depleting the natural world that sustains and belongs to all of us.
This food system is especially vulnerable. Meat is typically processed in a small number of massive plants with employees in close proximity to each other without needed safety measures in place. This has allowed the virus to easily spread forcing plants to temporarily close and causing concern about the meat supply and potential price fluctuations.
Workers and communities suffering from COVID-19 and an industry unable to be resilient in a crisis are not how things should be. And a food system that increases our risk for a pandemic and contributes to climate change is a broken system.
It can be overwhelming to look at how climate change is affecting our daily lives and the pandemic is exposing flaws in the industrial food system. It can also inspire us to work for change.
As humans, we have the power and resources to create and support a better world. With our farm, we’ve seen that a good bottom line and ethical, climate-friendly practices don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Sustainable local and regional food systems, good land stewardship practices, healthy soil, and prioritizing the welfare of people, animals, and the planet – it’s all possible.
In this difficult time, one positive is that it’s giving people a chance to see the importance of local and regional small to medium-scale farms and supply chains. The diverse and regenerative regional food system created by concerned farmers and small processing facilities has the potential to transform a broken and unreliable industrial system.
If we’re willing to take action, there is reason to have a lot of hope for the future. As eaters, we have the ability to choose food that will make a difference. Mindful buying decisions can change the system.
Our farm is one of many across the country producing food on a small scale with love and compassion for our environment and all who live in it. We encourage you to use the guide from A Greener World and Farms for The People: Local Food Database to see who you can support and how to purchase from them directly.
Let’s take this opportunity to reevaluate our own personal choices and priorities. Spend time with your feet in the soil and you’ll feel the earth’s life. Our natural ecosystems connect us all, support the cycle of life, give us shelter and nourishment, and can soothe anxieties. It’s beautiful. It’s a caring and resilient world that’s worth fighting for.