I’m incredibly thankful to live on a farm at this time. I’ve never liked crowded spaces and am quite worried for those who live in large cities, who don’t have much access to clean safe housing, food and air, and for the many people who are paycheck to paycheck and will be negatively impacted by job loss. We have an abundance of chores to keep ourselves busy, and food stores on hand to ensure we won’t go hungry. Much of my social network is already virtual, and it’s been a huge comfort to be able to text and FaceTime my family and friends. I worry for those who are already social isolated right now and hope folks find a virtual group to foster a sense of connection during this time.
I thought it might be helpful to talk about what we’re doing here on our farm and with our kids during this time, which may last for quite a few weeks. I’ve seen more people taking this seriously, but realize that not everyone lives in areas as affected as ours. I think that there will be massive ramifications to our healthcare, economic and food systems that we still can’t foresee.
I did a big shop for perishable foods last Wednesday and also placed an online orders for pantry staples. We are not planning on venturing to a store until we really need to. I’ll be working through my fridge, freezer and cabinets and coming up with pretty odd meal combos for the next few weeks – I’ll be doing a separate blog post soon about being creative in the kitchen. A lot of people follow recipes and don’t normally think “what can I make with what I have on hand?” I’m pretty handy with creative meal combos out of random ingredients and see it as a fun challenge.
We are not inviting friends over and are not throwing dinner parties or doing playdates for the kids. We are doing our best to not only protect our own health but treat ourselves as potential vectors who could be spreading this to others. Not everyone will come out of this unharmed, and we are doing our best to be socially responsible and just keep away from others. I’ve cancelled our housecleaners for a bit and will be using this as a great excuse to have an extra workout, rolling up my sleeves and doing a deep clean around here.
I’ve made a list of other household tasks I’ve been meaning to get to. Things like going through old photos and making an album, cleaning/organizing cabinets, the attic, etc., and have invited my kids to pick which ones they’d like to help with. I’m also excited to do some homeschooling with my kids and break out musical instruments, the art supplies, coming up with home workouts, etc.
We just came up with a schedule for the kids starting tomorrow. Schools are closed for the next two weeks but I expect it will be much longer than that. Here is the list my 14yr old daughter came up with for herself. She is very social and not seeing friends will potentially bum her out, so working in extra time to chat with them is important:
8am-9am Wake up (she would sleep in much longer and have issues falling asleep if we didn’t set a wake up time)
9 – 9:45 Breakfast, dishes, check email, some screen time on social media to talk to friends
9:45 – 11 School work (our school will be sending out home studies for the kids)
11 – 12 Play outside
Noon Lunch/talk to friends online
1 – 2 School work
2 – 3 Creative time (guitar, writing etc.)
3 – 5 “Athletic stuff” (workouts, play field hockey, etc.)
5 – 6 Art (at the kitchen table while I’m cooking dinner)
6 -7 Family dinner
7 – 9 Shower, social media, tv, etc.
I know not everyone likes a schedule and some families will welcome this as unstructured, more free time but my kids do best when they have a set routine and it helps if they come up with it themselves. For our 16yr old son, we will have him working a lot on the farm in between doing schoolwork. He naturally spends less time on screens than our daughter and is pretty proactive with coming up with chores to keep himself busy.
Keeping Up My Health:
In addition to eating a high protein, low carb, nutrient dense diet, I’m staying hydrated, taking some cod liver oil, extra vitamin D, C and loading up on zinc. I’m moving a lot (but avoiding the gym), practicing sleep hygiene, and overall feel pretty good right now. In case you haven’t heard, please avoid taking NSAIDs if you develop a fever, as it appears to increase symptoms. I’m also outside as much as possible to get sunlight and fresh air.
On The Farm:
A warm winter has meant that they’re beginning their season much earlier than usual. My husband worked quickly to get our international interns in about a month early, just in case borders were closed. We both think that labor is going to be a massive problem on most farms across the country due to the current and future situation with Coronavirus. Prices for produce will likely go up, and it’s never been more important to know your farmer, support local and regional food systems, and also keep yourself healthy by reducing your intake of ultra-processed foods.
The Film/Book Update:
The book is DONE and galley copies will be going out to press and influencers within a month or two. People who pre-order the book will be eligible to receive the meat cookbook I just finished. More info on that here. Brochures and posters are now available in the shop and shirts will be available soon – the fulfillment team is currently printing and sending shirts to everyone who donated to the crowdfunding campaign, and as soon as those are done, we’ll make shirts available for sale.
The film editing team is working remotely on round two of a rough cut. I’m so grateful for platforms that allow us to post clips and comment on them so that we can keep moving forward without much disruption. It’s coming out as a very powerful mix of stories and expert testimonial, largely centered around the environmental case for better meat but also touches on nutrition and ethics. I can’t wait to share it with you! As more people turn to video streaming services for entertainment, there’s never been a better time for important messages like Sacred Cow to reach people directly in their homes. I’ve been talking to one of the largest streaming companies and they seem incredibly interested in the project. Fingers crossed!
In addition to overseeing the edit, I’m working hard on an impact campaign. I’m organizing screenings for the fall in about 15 different countries, but cautiously not booking flights and will wait to see how this all plays out. We will be partnering with a “cinema on demand” company so that local hosts will be able to organize screenings at theaters in their areas, and we will provide support to anyone wanting to do a screening. More on this soon. I’m working with Mark Ritchie, who runs an international study abroad program centered around sustainability, to come up with a creative curriculum for high school and college students that will get them excited to connect with local farmers and share their learning online. My goal is to have Sacred Cow shown in all schools that have shown vegan films so there’s a balanced discussion about the role cattle have in our food system. We’re also trying to come up with a college credit summer course using the book as a text for kids who want a deeper dive into the themes covered in Sacred Cow.
Robb and I are also hoping to hold an in-person event in September at a regenerative ranch to celebrate the book and film launch. He has been posting a ton of vital info on Coronavirus on his membership group, Healthy Rebellion and I highly encourage you to join the conversation here.