Working as Community During Covid-19
The current situation with the Corona COVID-19 virus leaves us all uncertain and struggling to respond. We hope you are all staying safe and taking care of each other. Above all, we hope you are taking this seriously and paying attention to the “social distancing” restrictions. Based on the scientific evidence, this is clearly necessary to flattening the curve of this disease spreading.
Despite the uncertainty around how COVID-19 will continue to affect our immediate day to day lives and the longer- term future, we must still find ways to work together on the big picture issues that impact our future. How we farm and get food to our plates, and how we work together on this and the big picture issues as communities is critical- perhaps now more than ever.
How We Are Coping
Recently I was asked by a reporter “what are rural communities and farmers and ranchers doing to cope or how are people helping each other?” My first response was that we are all still reeling a bit from this new reality, and just getting started on addressing it. Initially we responded as we do to preparing for a blizzard or ice storm– stocking on up on essential food and feed and medications and supplies. But we– and our local authorities and institutions– are facing bigger challenges than any short-term blizzard or ice storm — and we are all working on how we will meet them.
Our now closed public schools are exploring how to continue feeding kids which is especially important in districts with high numbers of at risk students. Small town restaurants are offering new delivery services. Some small businesses are offering curbside services — call and they will bring it to your car just like the big box stores have been offering for a while. People are handling deliveries of food and running errands for those community members most vulnerable. School districts are agreeing to pay non-professional staff (bus drivers, cooks and para-professionals) while schools are closed. Some schools are considering allowing use of facilities for temporary hospital beds- if such a need comes to pass.
Farmers’ markets and growers are looking at providing delivery services, as they also worry about income loss as resaurants and businesses close. Growers are wondering how to expand safety for their products. People are planning bigger home gardens. Grain and livestock farmers worry about supply and sales disruptions and impact on farm help and employees.
People are more mindful of each other in stores– minding the social distancing recommendations, but also smiling and just being more kind, more patient. Humor goes a long way. A complete stranger and I stood looking at the absolutely bare toilet paper, Kleenex and paper towel aisles like it was an art work – although respectfully and safely distanced from each other of course. But laughing and noting what a strange, curious species we are!
KRC Moving Forward
While none of us know what the future holds and how our lives will change over the next few weeks and months, we are forging ahead. KRC will continue to focus on practical farm and food related information, how-to’s and advocacy within our new realities and with special care for the health and safety of the land, people, and our communities.
We have cancelled planned spring workshops and trainings and are looking at how to replace them with more digital online versions. We have not yet given up on holding our summer/fall series of Town Hall meetings but we are exploring how to do this online or as safely as possible.
A primary message from last year’s Town Halls was that we need to keep having conversations and communications with each other if we are to overcome cultural, economic, political, and environmental challenges. Now we must find a safer way of doing this. (See story on page 12 for more on our 2019 Town Hall Summary) Above all, we must find a way to continue working together in the time of Covid-19.
How Can KRC Help?
Since we are all figuring this out together, let us know how you are doing and how KRC can help now and in the future. How are you and your family and your community doing? What actions do you see unfolding as your local neighborhood, church, civic organizations, and local businesses navigate this new reality? A reality that has yet to stop changing?
Let us know what you see in your community. Tell us what particular problems you are running into or are worried about. Also tell us what is working well. You can contact us through phone, email, or social media. Find all of our points of communication below. This will help KRC better serve you as we figure out how to
work together in the time of Covid-19. Thank you.
Connect with us:
e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
phone – 866-579-5469
Facebook – @kansasruralcenter
Twitter – @ksruralcenter
Instagram – @kansasruralcenter
Mary Fund is KRC’s outgoing Executive Director having retired from full-time work in Dec. 2019. but working part-time through March during the search for a new director. She will continue to help out with the transition on a consultant basis.