Environmental Stewardship and Discovery Go Beyond the Pandemic.
As we remove our masks and spend time with loved ones at closer distances, our communities begin to heal from the isolation and uncertainty experienced over the past couple of years. Home gardening took center stage as a pandemic pastime, but will it last as we move into a time of recovery?
New gardeners and experienced green-thumbs alike turned to growing their own food during this unprecedented time to benefit their personal health and the well-being of their vulnerable neighbors. With more hours spent at home, gardening provided a supplement to fill the gap in the disrupted supply chain as well as an activity for newly acquired space time. Producing herbs, veggies and fruit quickly became common as new and seasoned growers alike realized the personal and community benefits of cultivating during this challenging period. For many, gardening quickly became a way to relieve stress, connect with others, and discover a joy for being outdoors along with the health benefits of getting their hands dirty.
A recent UC Davis pandemic gardening Study highlights ways in which gardening is good for mental and physical health. The study drew from findings collected in Germany, Australia and the US where respondents reported connecting with nature was calming and stress-reducing. Sixty percent of Californian respondents were experienced gardeners while 7% were new to gardening. More than half reported feeling anxious, isolated, and depressed during the pandemic. With an increased focus on safety, gardening served as a refuge and escape from the uncertainty of the pandemic by connecting people with nature. Taking into account that food insecurity was on the rise, gardeners hoped to increase self-sufficiency and produce for those in need within the community.
How can we hold on to this mentality as we ease our way towards normal? Community gardening, sharing resources and education opportunities are among some solutions, as well as supporting companies that advocate for regenerative farming. By supporting organizations that develop regenerative and indigenous agriculture systems, we nurture the earth and natural ecosystem to ensure high yields of nutritious food remain bountiful. Building healthy soil through home-gardening, composting and the use of organic pest and disease solutions helps our smaller systems to impact the bigger picture. By choosing to be a steward of the land, we can rebuild our communities from the ground up, and together ensure more mouths are fed and more people continue to be nourished.
During the pandemic, we felt a demand for organic, nutrient rich food within our community. In FY21 we grew and distributed 43% more food and increased our donations by 63%. We value environmental education and welcome our community with open arms to explore, learn and play in our various education spaces. We believe in equitable access and proudly donate over 70% of our food out into the community through no-cost distributions and our pay-what-you-can Farm Stand.
To further understand our production and how we continue to be a Certified-Organic facility, check out this recent podcast with Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) that features our Production Director, Adam, Production Manager, Ellie, and Post-Harvest Distribution Manager, Garth. Discover and learn as they walk you through our process and get a glimpse of Coastal Roots Farm in action.