Enduring Lessons from an Unprecedented Year

I’m so proud to be a part of a show that stands for love and kindness and inclusivity and acceptance because those four things are things that we need more than ever right now.”

– Annie Murphy, Emmy award winner for best actress in Schitt’s Creek

Call it challenging, unprecedented, eye-opening or perhaps undefinable. Any way you look at it, 2020 has been a whirlwind of a year.

For me, there’s been two major lessons that have been quite prominent. 

The first lesson is the realization of how important it is to support local farmers and local food.

The fragility of imported foods and products showed that, in a crises, products on shelves can disappear pretty quickly. As a result, supporting local farmers and buying local goods needs to be at the forefront of our food purchasing habits.

I talked about this in my blog titled Made with LOVE and with gloves: Take Out during Covid -19:

When this is all over, whatever that means, the big box grocery stores that can afford to invest millions of dollars into marketing are going to be around (we obviously need them for all that toilet paper). But if we want local businesses to survive – like the independent restaurants that give our neighbourhoods character and the sustainable farms that give us nutritious foods and regenerate our soil – then we need to vote with both our dollars and our forks. 

I’ve had many farmers tell me that this was a record year for their community supported agriculture (CSA) share membership, and I really hope that this continues next year. The more we support local farmers who grow their food sustainably, the cleaner our food, air and water will be for future generations.  

The second lesson has been the importance of social connections and our community. 

While the pandemic affected industries, locations and demographics differently, there’s one consequence that we all felt: the inability to get together in physical reality with friends, acquaintances, neighbours and family. Sure, we had FaceTime, Zoom and Skype – but we also learned that those ways of connecting are second best, by far. 

Trevor Hancock, a public policy expert in my film The Great Disconnect, wrote this in his recent op-ed in the Times Columnist

“Our awareness of the importance of social connections has been heightened by their absence or weakening due to COVID, so we need to make a conscious attempt to rebuild and strengthen our social connections with each other and with our community.”

So as the year wraps up, let’s set some intentions for 2021 that include good food, good community and strong connections. If you need some inspiration, check out my blog from 2019 on the Powerful Link Between your Sense of Community and Your Health or my blog on the importance of neighbouring (with a free PDF to help you get started!).

Wishing you a wonderful and Happy New Year.