News From the Farm | August 31, 2020

Two more really lovely photos of Full Belly vegetables from our CSA member Maria Grazia — 

We continue to hear news of friends who have lost buildings and been evacuated from burning areas.  Now we realize how lucky the Capay Valley was to escape major damage — the wind was on our side.  Our experience in which locals worked on their own to prevent the fires from reaching homes and buildings was by no means unique.  CalFire, doing their best but stretched too thin, also didn’t show up for several days in other areas and stories abound of people trying to save historic structures and iconic buildings and often tragically failing. Community Alliance with Family Farmers has re-launched their emergency fund that will provide some support to family farmers impacted by the fires.

Each day last week we woke up to smoky conditions (an experience that most of our readers shared) but the LNU fire complex that threatened the Valley floor has moved north into hills where there are few structures at risk and today there are only a few hot spots, especially compared to the fires in other areas. Early this morning I walked around the side of my house and saw a large, beautiful bobcat, clearly a refugee from the hills where the fires left little solace for wildlife.  According to CalFire, as of today, two dozen major fires are still burning across California and more than 840 wildfires have burned over 1.42 million acres.  Many structures have been lost, not to mention domestic and wild animals.

Despite the smoke and sense of uncertainty, our crew turned up every day to work outside harvesting the beautiful crops that are still growing and nourishing all of us. These days, the sun rises sometime after 6:30am while just a month ago, first light was well before 6:00.  With the change in day length come adjustments in the start time for our crew, and even though the length of the work day is the same, those few additional minutes of dark during the night actually affect all of us, not just the plants.

Last week, many Fall crops were transplanted into beds — things like Dino Kale and Chard went in. Almond harvest is underway, a dusty job that requires crew members that are hard to come by when the harvest of other perishable crops pulls hard on everyone.  (Note to the almond butter addicts: We’ll let you know when it is ready, but it will still be a month or so!)  We’re picking out of the last plantings of our melons and tomatoes — and those fields are producing well. Some of the earlier fields have already been turned over.   The hot days have continued, but it has started cooling off at night, perhaps signaling the end to this long hot period.

With the fires, the pandemic, increasing populations of people without homes to live in, and the repeated violent overreach of police in urban areas against black Americans, many people are feeling very shaken.  Mounting national and international crises are making it hard to find the strength to move forward.  But find that strength we must — Reach deep to that solid center. There is a future that will take care of children, that will feed the hungry and house the homeless.  There is a future in which ecosystems will heal and be allowed wildness and diversity.  To get there, a major redesign and reassessment of our systems is needed.  We must nurture the hope that listening, observation and collaboration will get us there.  Acting out of fear, anger and polarization leads to bad decisions.  We must find our center of hope and love in order to see a way forward.  This crisis was a long time coming — it will be a while before we turn the corner.

I like this thought from C.S. Lewis: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Blessings on your meals.

— Judith Redmond

Last week many of our employees were given food boxes and information about COVID. The food boxes included fresh produce plus dried goods like cereal and pasta. The effort was a collaboration between RISE (a non-profit, social services organization based in Esparto) and the Yolo County COVID response staff.  Full Belly’s own Hector Reyna put a lot of effort in to coordinate as well.