Hi friends, how have you been? We hope this continues to find you safe and strong.
It’s been almost two months since the lockdown started, can you believe it? The May 15 deadline, and with it the possibility of the gradual transition from ECQ to general community quarantine, might be on the horizon.
Everywhere there is talk of a new normal. While we remain cautious, a large part of us is also hopeful about what it might look like in terms of our food system and how Good Food might be able to participate in its re-creation through community shared agriculture (CSA). As you know, CSA is animated by the belief that a food system built on social justice, health and wellbeing, and ecological responsibility depends on the mutual commitment between farmers and consumers. The pandemic threatens to sever this direct connection, but we are also seeing how people are waking up to their role as potential co-creators of this new food system, replacing self interest and fear of scarcity with a strong bias for the common good and the discovery of our own agency in shaping the future.
We’re heartened by the growing interest in Good Food and CSA, and quite happy that since early April we have been able to make our deliveries of weekly farm shares, made possible by new and old friends. Through sheer grit and a good amount of baked goods (and gulay, of course!), we’ve been able to move more produce than we ever thought possible in a week, despite a leaner team and all the restrictions in place. Uncertainty and scarcity notwithstanding, more people are realizing that CSA, while it feeds us, offers a way to help minimize the sense of precariousness and vulnerability in others, especially our farmers who are already reeling from increasing poverty and the climate crisis. Every week we have been able to provide income to farmers and deliver organic fruits and vegetables to more than 650 households while holding fast to the values of CSA.
“It has saved me in this quarantine in many ways. Suddenly, I had access to fresher vegetables versus the quality I was seeing in the mobile palengke. My consumption supported farmers who couldn’t get their produce to the city in the first weeks of the lockdown. I was subscribed to a system which suddenly made better sense–logistically, environmentally and socially– especially in terms of how we produce, source and choose our food.” – Drea
We’re learning a lot over the last eight weeks. In the kitchen, curiosity and creativity reigned supreme and it was a delight to see all the social media posts of your culinary adventures, fully embracing the surprise factor of a CSA basket. Those who want to know ahead can check out our gulay board, which we update weekly. Like you, we’ve also been brushing up on new kitchen skills, particularly in harnessing the powerful qualities of microbes, from food preservation to nutrition and flavor enhancement to planetary health. We’re doing virtual group make-and-bake sessions, making our own miso using our flavorful beans and finding ways to add our ferments into everyday dishes like our kraut as crunchy probiotic-packed pickle substitute in wraps (or to make deep-fried foods less sinful) or as fresh, good-for-your-gut-health curtido to cut the creaminess of curries. We’re also making sourdough bread, another wonderful product of fermentation (like coffee and chocolate!) and our cherry tomatoes, red onions, rosemary, and passion fruit are finding their way into our breads. There is a world beyond banana bread! (But we hear our saba is great in it.) Here’s a nice essay about fermentation for the curious and another that features our kimchi-making workshop with our partner farmers in Bauko. What have you been doing with our ferments? Let us know on social media and don’t forget to tag us!
“Always something to look forward to with your veggies and fruits! While not really being able to choose exactly what I’d get may seem like a disadvantage at first, it actually taught me to be more creative and explore what I can do with whatever comes!” – Rochelle
And while we’re learning more—drawing, knitting, sourdough baking, pickling and fermenting—we’re definitely learning so much more about ourselves and other people. The last eight weeks, and with it an honest-to-goodness existential crisis on a global scale, have been trying for a lot of us and have tested our mental and emotional resilience, while still striving to be there for others. Despite the difficulties (or maybe because of it) we have realized and witnessed good things about ourselves and people in general—the courage to speak up for the vulnerable, the yearning for a stronger community life, what value and essential finally truly mean—that we can take with us beyond this lockdown, important lessons we can bring to the table when we create this new normal we keep hearing about.
What do you hope we bring with us beyond this lockdown? We asked some of our teammates and we’re sharing them here with you:
Mabi: Seed saving. I’ve known about the importance of seeds in our own ability to feed ourselves especially in times of scarcity and outside a profit-driven food system that harms people and the environment. But because I don’t farm or garden, I’ve neglected this practice. It was all in the head. This pandemic made me realize the fragility of access and the brokenness of our food system, so now I save seeds from the organic produce I get from our CSA bayong. There is so much life-giving potential in each tiny piece. No wonder Jack exchanged his cow for beans.
Joyce: An unhurried life. We’re understanding the brevity of life and realizing it affects the decisions we make. I’d like to see more community projects—group baking projects, seed planting—and sharing economy that is not driven by monetization. Yes, we still need money to survive but how do we find the balance? I’m really grateful for Lingap Maralita and TVN Neighbor’s Food Sharing because we get to share whatever we have and whenever we can. And finally gratitude. I’ve become more appreciative of people and super grateful to Good Food, whose principles and values I really admire.
Cara: This time made me gain a much deeper appreciation and longing for community and togetherness! And so I hope we help nurture and bring out a deeper sense of that in the future. I also found that with me in particular I was forced to come face to face with a lot of inner turmoil/issues, and so I hope we bring more intentionality everyday to slow down and be more present and honest with ourselves, our emotions, each other, so that we can come out of this as better versions of ourselves.
Char: I hope we bring with us this solidarity and friendship. Although we’ve shared values before, I think the uncertainty and risks of the situation have allowed us to clarify our purpose and depend on each other even more. Also to reach out for new partnerships! I’ve enjoyed everyone’s contribution to nourishing each other, in food, in words, in acts of service and hospitality. Like the kupang tree that conserves water beneath it, I hope we can grow this forest by taking refuge in these practices.
What about you, friend? What have you learned during this time that you hope to bring beyond this lockdown as we shape together this new normal? Please share your thoughts as a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.
Char, Ernest, Cara, Joyce, Gio, Mabi, Ate Celia and Kuya Luis