CSA Update: COVID-19 Edition

Dear Corvus Landing CSA members,
I want to write and express our profound gratitude for your support of our farm at this challenging time. CSA is a model based on community, connection, health, and resilience, exactly what we need at this time of pandemic and uncertainty. Your early season and continued support is always essential to us, but this year we need it more than ever.

We are out there working hard to get the farm ready for a full summer of production. We have lots of crops up and growing in the greenhouse: some close to harvest for spring shares, and some of our summer favorites just getting going. As we are constantly reminded on the farm, nature doesn’t care what we humans do. Spring is here, summer is coming, and it’s time to get seeds started and beds prepared. We all have to eat, and keeping healthy is at the top of our minds these days. We are honored to be your source of healthy, fresh food.

CSA is also a good model for a pandemic. Our food is handled only by a very few people and doesn’t go to any kind of central distribution or large shopping center. Keeping your money in your community keeps our local economy strong and working. The Oregon Department of Agriculture just released a memo clarifying that farms and farmers markets are “essential businesses”; and I see what we do as part of the solution for safe, community supporting food. No farms, no food.

But my heart goes out to the many businesses and workers in our community, including several close friends, who have been forced to a sudden halt. For those already struggling to pay bills, keep food on the table, or stay healthy, this is a devastating moment. And many more have been pushed to that edge very suddenly through no fault of their own. Know that as a CSA member, you are the reason Mike and I are not among them. We are even bringing on a new employee starting Monday, and fully expect to have increasing work as the spring warms up.

However, I know that some of you may be among the many who have been lurched by this pandemic. If you signed up for the CSA and have been hit by a layoff or the school closures or a financial meltdown, please talk to us. We do have a refund and cancellation policy, and we also offer half price shares and alternate payment plans. We’ve been receiving quite a few donations to our subsidy fund, and we really want everyone who values fresh local produce to be able to get it. We don’t have a lot of produce right now, but as we have more I will look into ways to get our produce to folks who can’t afford it, whether through donations to the Lincoln City food pantry or through direct gifts to people in need.

Maybe most on my mind, though, are the staff at the Lincoln City Hospital, who I have had the privilege of getting to know over the last 3 years. Imagining them overwhelmed by an inexorable wave of critically ill patients has been the thing that has forced me to take this pandemic seriously. I have seen over and over again that the hospital staff are a group of incredibly kind, caring people who genuinely want to be of service to our community. I have no doubt that they will rise to meet this challenge with everything they have, and it is our responsibility to flatten the curve and keep them safe so they can do their jobs on the front lines.

At this time, we plan to have our CSA go forward as planned, and I hope that the Neskowin Farmers Market will also be able to proceed. The Flex and Classic shares both start in July, and I am hopeful that we will be able to return to a more normal pattern of day to day life by then. I do not know what will happen with our stand at the hospital this summer, and I am just waiting to see how things play out before I even discuss it with them (they have enough to worry about right now!). If we are unable to be at the hospital, I will do my best to secure an alternate location for a Lincoln City farm stand and CSA pickup. Failing that, or maybe in addition, we may offer some kind of online ordering and delivery once the season ramps up. But it’s too soon to make any definite plans. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

I have been unsure whether or not to send this out, since we are all getting barraged by information about this virus and everyone’s response to it. But as a CSA member, you have invested in our farm. And I cannot tell you how many times in the last couple of weeks Mike and I have said to each other, “Thank god for the CSA”. So I wanted to share that with you. Thank you, thank you, thank you: your support is so deeply, fully appreciated.

Carolina Lees
Corvus Landing Farm

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