Blog posted on November 24, 2020 by Solutions from the Land
The following blog offers a special holiday message from SfL Co-Chairs AJ Kawamura, Fred Yoder and Thomas Lovejoy.
Dear Friends and Supporters,
As Thanksgiving approaches, we give thanks for the many blessings in our lives during this year of unprecedented challenges and events.
In March we learned that a new and dangerous virus, COVID-19, was spreading throughout the world. We watched global governments move to address the expanding pandemic and we are experiencing the consequences of steps taken by local, regional and sovereign and regional governments to stop the spread of the disease here in America and abroad – often through a closing of many businesses and a significant shutdown of half of the global food system.
We were alarmed and concerned about how the world’s critical agricultural activities might continue. It was during this time of disruption that all over the planet, it became clear to all governments and all people that there are some industries that are more important than others. Agriculture is an essential industry and perhaps, the most important human endeavor! The world depends upon the essential work and efforts of all those who help to produce a global food supply. And for the first time in a generation in our country, empty shelves at chain stores and closed restaurants and cafeterias caused false rumors to spread that our food system might collapse or that it was broken.
Our food system is not broken. But it was unprepared for the magnitude of disruption that occurred when the entire food service side of our food distribution structure was shut down. Throughout most of the United States, there was inconvenience and a shortage of certain food choices for a short period. But the industry was able to pivot and turn in a remarkable show of flexibility and resilience, and the essential farm and food activities of our nation continued to grow, harvest, ship and prepare the vital nutritious products on which the world depends.
Glaring weak spots appeared at the end of the global food chain, where serious production and supply line impacts left millions without any food. The shortcomings have opened our eyes and put a new focus on food insecurity – in our world and in our time. We realize today that because of this pandemic, our vision for a better, safer and healthier world requires new thinking and innovative collaboration.
For over a decade, Solutions from the Land has championed a vision and voice for those essential stewards of working landscapes, the farmers, ranchers and foresters who produce the food, feed and fiber that a world depends on day after day. They continue to do so under difficult, changing conditions and challenges. The most important, dependable and consistent part of our agricultural endeavor are those skilled individuals who actually get the job done, pandemic or not. We are grateful for the great devotion and courage essential workers have demonstrated across the global food chain. We can only begin to appreciate that our agricultural endeavor must continue to function, improve and evolve through the innovative and collaborative vision and work already underway!
SfL and its Board of Directors thank you all for an extraordinary year of progress and accomplishments, despite the many challenges. Please stay safe, healthy and hopeful that we can continue our important work providing an exciting pathway towards an Agricultural Renaissance. We wish you a blessed Thanksgiving with prayers for families and friends – and an end to the pandemic. Please do help us in our focused efforts to forge a new framework for our dynamic working landscapes and agricultural endeavors as we look forward to an exciting year ahead of us. Your kind donations and support are more important than ever! Happy Thanksgiving!
With a grateful heart,
Kawamura is a produce/specialty crop grower and shipper; a former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; a founding partner of Orange County Produce, LLC.; and is President of Solutions for Urban Agriculture.
Yoder is a corn, soybean, and wheat producer; past President of the National Corn Growers Association; a past Director of the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association; and a chairman of the North American Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance.
Lovejoy is Biodiversity Chair, University Professor, George Mason University; Founder, Nature Television Series; formerly President of the Heinz Center; and Chief Biodiversity Advisor and Lead Specialist for Environment for Latin America and the Caribbean, World Bank.