I would like to preface this Journal post with my sincere hope that you and your loved ones are well and healthy. My heart goes out to those of you directly affected by COVID-19.
It is safe to say these past weeks have been among some of the most tumultuous and emotional that any of us can remember in our lifetimes.
As I grapple with a drastically reduced workload (i.e. no customer service, no strategic staff meetings, no visiting our factory, no event planning) and another 30 days of shelter-in-place, I have the luxury to be very grateful. One, my family and I are faring well health-wise. Two, heroes from all walks of life are stepping up to support us in this dire time; everyone from doctors to farmers to underpaid food delivery folks deserve a special commendation. Three, there is lots of time, not something I'm at all used to.
This is often referred to as down time, but does it have to be? A foundational Stoic tenant is that while we don’t control what happens, we do control how we respond. So this is the real question: How can we use this time to get better? To be of service and use? To grow? I love Ryan Holiday's concept of “alive time,” where we’re actively striving to get better and improve as an individual when there is unexpectedly new pockets of time.
Here are a few of the actions I'm taking right now to exert some control over my personal and community's well-being:
- Signed these petitions: Food Chain Workers Alliance pleas to the government, ROC United vs. major restaurant chains and workers vs. Amazon.
- Set up monthly donations for 501c3s from $5 to $15: SF-Marin Food Bank, Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture, Kitchen Table Advisors, La Cocina, Real Food Real Stories and Glide.
- Signed up for the Congressional Hunger Center's free 30 day Zero Hunger Academy to learn about becoming an effective advocate for ending hunger in my community. It starts tomorrow, so I encourage you to consider signing up...it's a half an hour a day commitment.
- Writing letters to the elderly with my niece via FaceTime.
- Going to one Farmers Market each weekend to support farmers, fishermen, florists, butchers and bakers.
- Planted a veggie garden with herbs, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini and lettuces.
- Reading The Counter's e-newsletter for unparalleled food journalism to stay in the know about how COVID-19 is affecting supply chains, policies and workers.
By sharing these thoughts, I fear I'll come across as too upbeat and perhaps even out of touch. I understand that this is a list of privileges and I'm extremely fortunate. What I'm wishing to express is that we're all on our own journey right now, wrestling through this ever-evolving and unprecedented experience in a unique way. I hope you're finding ways to do what you can to cope with uncertainty and be safe. And if there's a little mental room and spare time for personal growth or to give back, bravo! Wishing good health to you and your loved ones, take care of yourself and take care of each other...