For most people, the 2020 holiday season is playing out very differently than it does most years. Thousands of people — whether patients or providers — will be spending it in crowded hospitals away from their loved ones. Many others are out of work, struggling to pay the rent. Most people have drastically altered their normal plans for festivities and get-togethers, and will have to make due with gifts sent by mail, phone calls, and Zoom. It is a somber time, and celebrating does not quite feel right.
In twenty seven years, I have never spent Christmas at the farm. Like so many Californians, I’m a transplant from someplace else. So every year I join the mass of people crushing into airports and airplanes for their annual migration to see their family. My wife is also a transplant, and so we both climb on planes headed in different directions: me to New York, and Marisa to Texas. Sometimes one of us does three flights, so we can spend time with both families. Inevitably, one of us catches a contagious illness as a result.
With so many people staying home for the holidays, demand for Christmas trees has skyrocketed as people look for ways to brighten the gloom while they shelter in place. Meanwhile, supplies of trees are at an all-time low since farmers cut back on planting during the last recession, when sales plummeted and many acres of trees were abandoned. The higher tree prices this year are a silver lining for the farmers who have yet to recover from those losses.
Another bit of good news: overall this year, Americans appear to be eating healthier and buying more of their food locally. We’re not just cooking at home more, we’re eating more vegetables — 30% more to be exact. That’s not just a good thing for vegetable growers like Terra Firma Farm, it’s a positive development for our entire society. Covid-19 notwithstanding, the biggest health problems Americans face in the long term are strongly related to unhealthy eating. If we can come out of this pandemic with better eating habits, it will make a huge difference in people’s future health.
We’re doing our small part here to help make sure that some of our crops reach people in need. Our local school district is receiving funding from the federal USDA to provide fruits and vegetables for struggling families. We’ve been supplying several items a week for the “Harvest Boxes” but beginning last week we are now packing the boxes ourselves with 100% TFF produce.
Federal funding will continue to be critical to help mitigate some of the economic damage wrecked by the pandemic. So this week’s news that our leaders have finally found some agreement on a relief package is also quite welcome. The people, businesses, and institutions suffering as a result of Covid-19 need help badly, and will likely continue to struggle well into 2021.
From all of us here at Terra Firma, we wish you the best possible holiday season. Thanks for all your support this year and see you in 2021.