The Palouse region of eastern Washington and northern Idaho grows lentils and wheat of international demand, and is also home to countless small farms who work with local restaurants and farmers markets. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many avenues for distribution and income have disappeared or have been severely constricted.
Harvest VISTA Anastasia Ryseff serves at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) New Roots Program. New Roots at the IRC Seattle works with refugee, immigrant and vulnerable communities in South King County to improve food access and community wellness. New Roots provides individuals and families space…
No one prepares to be a Harvest VISTA during a pandemic. That wasn’t in the online AmeriCorps training manual. Not many people think volunteer work is going to be exciting. What an extraordinary time to be a volunteer!
As a VISTA about to end my service year, this was supposed to be an exciting time – moving on to the next phase, going happily forward into the next chapter. It’s still exciting, but in more of a horror movie ‘don’t open that door’ kinda way. All the things I had planned are now on hold or canceled, and the future is uncertain at best.
Food accessibility and sovereignty is crucial during this because convenience has dissipated and overridden the average individual’s ability and knowledge to produce and prepare their own food. A large number of individuals haven’t been exposed or taught traditional means of cooking or growing.
At this point, there isn’t a soul in the world who hasn’t heard of COVID-19. The novel coronavirus has taken the international community by storm in the past month infecting, at the time of writing, over 420,000 people and killing over 18,000. The world, collectively, is dealing with something that the majority of people have never seen in their lifetimes and figuring out how to proceed in this time of uncertainty has not been easy.