This time last year, most of us were hunkering down for the holidays, missing our far-away loved ones, and worrying about, well, everything. A year later, most of us have gotten our vaccines and now even our booster shots, and we were looking forward to a happier, more relaxed — a more “normal” — holiday season. Then Omicron (the Greek word for “Grinch”) showed up.
As humans, we crave certainty, “normalcy”, and stability. Agriculture may have been one of the first large-scale manifestations of this craving. A group of people chose to stop migrating, settle down and place their faith in regular weather patterns that would allow them to survive by growing a certain crop or crops there. This optimism — perhaps entirely unjustified — is the foundation of human society.
Covid-19 ended the “normal” that most of us are accustomed to, and it doesn’t seem to want to let us get back to it. The virus is taking advantage of humans’ psychological weaknesses as well as our physical ones. Had we gotten together as a species — the way that say, ants, would do — maybe we could have gotten all 6 billion people in the world vaccinated by now and vanquished the virus. But we failed to take the collective, global action required. Instead, we’re just muddling along.
As farmers, we are accustomed to a certain amount of uncertainty. But the last 24 months have been extremely challenging. On top of Covid, the changing climate gave us extreme heat, fires and the most intense drought we have experienced here at Terra Firma — followed immediately by the wettest October we’ve ever seen. We used to spend hundreds of hours carefully planning the next 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. That no longer feels like a valuable use of time. Our crystal ball, never very accurate to start with, is now filled with cracks caused by climate change and fogged over with Covid haze.
One thing, though, has not changed. A year ago, we expected to see our CSA box numbers decline steadily through the year from the peak they had reached during 2020, as everything went “back to normal”. Instead, the majority of our subscribers chose to stay with us. We are finishing out 2021 with almost as many households as we started with. That turned out to be just as important this year as it was last. Terra Firma’s CSA subscribers kept us in business in 2021, just as you did in 2020.
A few years back “Muddling Through” might not have been considered a great achievement, but in light of everything that has transpired since Dec. 2019, it’s about the best we can hope for. Thanks for muddling with us, and we look forward to more muddling with you next year.