Over the Fence Urban Farm

Cooperatively farming small patches of Earth in Columbus, OH

UPDATE: Victory-Over-the-Virus Farm Report

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The farm waking up. (Spring 2020)

Turns out, time flies when you’re living in quarantine, or as my friend Doug refers to it, “the Covidian era.”

It’s been six weeks since my last post. I’ve tried to write at least a dozen times, but I just can’t seem to focus. I hear that a lot these days from friends who write for a living.

While I haven’t been blogging, I have been busy. My daughter and I have led another 5 lunch and learn sessions for kids (you can see them all archived on our new YouTube channel). The farm appeared in two local news stories about increased interest in local foods and gardening in response to the pandemic. We also wrapped up another successful Pollinator Lovers’ Plant Sale, gave away tomato and pepper seedlings to families in need, and got 2 dozen Victory-Over-the-Virus Garden boxes out into the world along with video tutorials to those gardeners with advice on planting, fertilizing, and harvesting.

All of this has helped keep me distracted, feeling like I’ve been doing “something,” at a time when so many of us, don’t know what to do. But I don’t feel the same sustained energy I usually do from my efforts. I still wake wondering how long the virus will plague us and how our society will look, feel, and operate once when and if we get it under control. How will this experience change us long term? So, I’m pretty much back where I was when, filled with eco-anxiety and exhausted from years of juggling too many obligations, I decided to take the season off and reflect on the past and plan for the future.

I’m back to thinking the work I do on the farm is important and making a difference (in some small way) in my community but wondering, is it enough? Is there more I can do? What more could this project be if I focused on it full-time? Or at least more of the time? What would I have to give up in order to make that happen? What might I gain? And would that be worth the trade-offs?

I’ve read Ram Dass and know that, at least for now, all we can do is focus on today. And in some ways that’s the lesson the garden always teaches us. Over and over in lots of different ways. But it also requires planning, because it takes time to grow things. Like change takes time. And our lives are going to be changed as a result of this pandemic. They already have. So I need to make time to process that, along with all the other sh*t I planned to process this summer through my shimta (sabbatical).

While I’m glad to have the farm to focus on when focusing is so hard, I also need to find ways to let me mind wander, to slow down and work through some of the questions I have been harboring, along with the new ones we are all facing. I need to make time to face my fears, rather than distractedly hide from them among the plants. Right?

I hope you are all finding something to focus on, short and longer term. Something that gives you pleasure and feeds you, literally and figuratively. If not, at least we have flowers.

Apple blossoms. (May 2020)

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