We have slowly been synthesizing the overall vibe of the farm last year, as we do every year. It has been particularly hard to get to the core of last year and I began wondering why that is? In thinking about it I began to realize that all the tiny conversations I usually had were far less and that these tiny moments help give life’s momentum a point of reference. The people you interact with are like the shoreline when you are in the sea of life. Last year felt more like being out to sea and in the fog, you knew the shoreline was somewhere out there but you couldn’t quite make it out.
I feel like there is so much importance in understanding what and why we are feeling the things we are. It can help prevent us from being stuck in a reactionary stage and gives us direction towards the things we do want/need, instead of fighting against all the things not in our control. It also helps us value these tiny moments that often seem insignificant in the grander scheme.
This very realization came in the midst of the WFM coop meeting yesterday as we all sat in the same room for the first time since the fall. As we sat in the room listening to each other and talking about the future of WFM you could feel all the little feelings people were having. Some feelings were the same as you and some were different but together the feelings made a whole. The whole is what is true. In that mix I finally started to see the shoreline again because people are sacred mirrors and I was in a room full of them!
Here is what I was finally able to make out about last year’s farm season. We had a very successful season but little victory was felt in it for many reasons. One of the main reasons was feeling as though it was inappropriate to celebrate in the midst of such hard times. The other reason being is that those you would celebrate with were either unable to see you due to restrictions or they were just as busy as you were!
Pretty much every farmer in the province was working full tilt last year. I think we all felt the true/real importance of our jobs last year and we really wanted to prove we could be there to feed our communities if things got really bad. Farmers have always been people of action and awareness, big or small. For our farm it meant that we worked harder, spent more, made more and ultimately landed a little ahead of where we usually land but with a tremendous amount of extra work and I have a feeling that this was the case for most farmers.
In saying that we could have had a whole lot MORE work to do if it wasn’t for WFM2go. While it was tricky adapting to the fact this would become our main revenue stream for 2020 with a 79% increase of sales through this platform, we were lucky to have it! It enabled us to remain focused on farming instead of scrambling to figure out how we would reach our customer base. This customer base would be shared making it more robust than just our own.
We did have to adapt our growing to include less variety and larger quantities of the things we did grow. Unlike a farmers’ market where having lots of different things enables you to draw the eye of many to your table. Online selling meant larger orders of the same things but only if we paid attention to the gaps. Fortunately for us we were already known for the unusual things so we just expanded on that and it worked!
So even though everything was changing around us and forcing us to adapt we were still very much able to keep our main principles at the core of what we do. And even though we paid out more money than we normally would, more of it went directly to our community and our community supported us in return and it allowed us to land a little ahead where we usually would. I don’t think you can ask for a greater gift than that!