These are challenging times. The Covid-19 virus has shown us just how interconnected we are, from disruptions in supply chains, to the tremors in the global economy, to our inability to stay put. Yet we ARE interconnected, and as fast as the virus spread, my local region was setting up communications networks, checking on neighbors, and figuring out how to be creative online. It's an opportunity to revisit how we build resilient local communities, because this is not the last upheaval we will face. Now, more than ever, we need local food systems, and the training to know what to do with all that food. We are learning to cook again. My neighbors and I are having virtual dinners: we cook the same thing and videoconference each other over the meal. We are lucky in my region that the local phone cooperative had the vision to put in fiber!
Rather than hoarding toilet paper, we should be hoarding seeds. Heck, we need to be learning how to garden again. We need to remember how to operate without as much money, how to support local small businesses that are left out of the national aid packages, and squeezed with the quarantines. Rather than rushing to Amazon, we need to re-learn how to have a full pantry, stocked for several months, with produce we've preserved from our neighboring farms. And now is a great time for those of us with that knowledge to share it. A friend of mine said that the word for Crisis in Mandarin included the character for Opportunity. This is our wakeup call to build resilient systems, rather than simply weathering a virus. And perhaps we might just use this global mobilization to tackle the climate chaos we've caused.
Dr. Clare Hintz has a B.S. Degree in Biology and Writing, a M.S. in Sustainable Systems with an emphasis in Agroecology, and a Ph.D. in Sustainability Education with a focus on Regenerative Agriculture. She currently teaches permaculture design and regenerative agriculture from her production permaculture farm in northern Wisconsin. She is the editor in chief of the Journal of Sustainability Education. In her spare time she knits, reads feminist science fiction and cooks really good food for friends.