Day 48: Coronavirus Quarantine

In Farm Life by Laura CrossleyLeave a Comment

Everything continues to be very odd. The most cliché phrases currently playing on repeat include references to “normal” – “the new normal,” “going back to normal” and “nothing will every be normal again.”

To be honest, it was time for a change.

I do love that the stay-at-home orders have spotlighted technology and remote work as valuable resources for companies. These things should have been embraced many years prior to now. With their rise, schools, churches and all of society have been challenges to reimagine how they interact with others.

If anything, the entire world has become leagues more accessible. Virtual tours, online meetings, streamlined communication – there is so much more efficiency to be gained by online tools. This time in our lives has not only emphasized that, but forced action related to the concept.

I’m genuinely insanely excited for what this means for Isai’s generation. The future of education, career and life pursuits will be completely redefined and very heavily influenced by what we are experiencing right now.

The latest media focus has been on farms. With disruptions in supply and demand, society is turning an eye to farms that are turning over otherwise wasted crop. They’re sharing the stories of production farms that are euthanizing animals to clear space for row crop. I’ve followed Instagram stories of flower farmers trashing their yield because their distribution partners are no longer buying.

It’s an interesting moment to say the very least. It’s an interesting moment in which we’ve found ourselves in the country again – starting a small acreage farm.

I truly believe that the beauty of what we’re building here lies in the ecosystem. Not only in the relationship of the produce, soil and nature – but also in the natural balance of supply and demand. With our large garden (but relatively small farm by traditional definitions) – we are able to provide an abundance of produce that will not only feed our family, but can also provide a small income. If at any point the produce does not sell, we can leverage the extra resources and products in many ways. Never, though, will we be forced to destroy an entire harvest due to a lack of demand.

Is there the possibility of under-supply? Yes, definitely. But even in that scenario, we are able to leverage the land and resources to minimize the impact. The small farm remains agile. It is both proactive and reactionary. The economics of this theory are fascinating to me.

On top of what opportunities lie ahead for a small acreage farm like ours – I can help but be thrilled for the communication possibilities our farm also faces. Now – when minds appear to be bored and eyes are scanning screens for something slightly interesting – is an amazing time to educate the world about where their food comes from. It’s an exceptional time to call attention to telecommunication struggles in rural communities. It is now that we should be sharing the benefits of Midwest farms, what they provide to a global economy and invite humans – everywhere – into the digital farmland.

To be 100% honest – this is what my mind is built for. I can do exactly this. The hurdle? We pay a completely unreasonable amount of money for the fastest available rural Internet access all day, every day. I don’t say this to brag, because what I’m trying to emphasize is just how far behind the curve this service is.

This access is critical to my ability to work from home. It is critical to my husband’s ability to run his business. Our full-time jobs are critical to starting the farm smoothly. In this stay-at-home period we’re in – we could not earn our paychecks without investing this significant amount of money to be safe and connected. Many in our shoes simply wouldn’t have jobs right now because Internet access is too expensive. And that is insane to me.

We pay 20X more for satellite broadband Internet access now than we paid in the city for fiber. Our satellite service is 50X worse. In order for me to share videos and live streams on our Internet connection, our family would end up paying hundreds of dollars more per month for the data to upload that content.

So while we face an abundance of opportunity to educate and inspire our society – we’re also completely hamstrung by the hurdles of rural communication. With an exceptional amount of time on our hands to consider such things – this is a problem that is itching to be solved more and more.