"Let's not waste a good crisis."
A quick word about food system wobbles and Covid-19
Welcome to the first edition of The Omnivore for 2022… we’re chuffed to be back in your inbox!
This is not the first edition that I thought I’d be sending this year… I’m so excited to tell you about some very cool things we have coming (new products! delightful collabs!)… but right now I am putting them on the back burner briefly to address something else that is barrelling down upon us. Yip, I’m talking about Omicron… boring, I know.
But this afternoon an email popped into my inbox from a company that literally had a big red panic button with a finger hovering over it, and I thought to myself, ‘Huh? We’re doing this again?”. While community transmission of omicron is a big deal, it’s also a good opportunity to NOT do the stuff we’ve done before – it’s an opportunity to do better.
There is a real sense of déjà vu about these looming community Covid incursions now. What is different this time is that things won’t be tricky because we’re staying safe at home, they’ll be tricky because we aren’t. Lockdowns are over – but the feelings of uncertainty are still very much real. So, here are a few things we’d like to remind you:
The farmers, food producers, processors, grocery and specialty retailers, butchers and distributors we work with have put in the hard yards to get ready for this. We know that there will be supply chain hiccups as Covid cases ripple thru workplaces and teams. And we know that these will be minimised by the work that has already gone in to keeping people safe and supply steady.
There is no need to panic buy. I am still hearing from customers who are working through their stockpile of bacon they put in the freezer last August. Don’t do that.
Most of us are in an extraordinarily privileged position to be heading into this next stage on good footing: 93% of eligible NZers are fully vaccinated, we’re down to just 3% of people hospitalised with covid-19 requiring ICU care, and there are a suite of anti-viral drugs coming online to prevent severe illness developing in vulnerable people. This is good.
So instead of spending your weekend doomsday prepping, here are some totally rational, proactive things you could be doing to get yourself and your family ready for this next chapter…
1/ Connect yourself in a meaningful way to some other human beings
Not in a woo woo way… in a practical way. Do you know someone who lives alone or doesn’t have family nearby? Say hi. Remind them that you’re available if they need help. Offer to click and collect supplies for them (contactlessly) if they do get sick. Make sure they have your phone number, in case they can’t come and see you.
2/ Figure out what you have on hand and plan *just in case* for a week at home
One of my favourite TV shows from the 90s was Ready Steady Cook – the show where chefs are given a random bag of groceries by an audience member and tasked with creating a cohesive meal out of them. While it’s a fun game – it’s not one you’ll likely enjoy while convalescing with Covid. So audit your pantry and freezer and make sure you have what you need on hand to stay home comfortably if you’re contagious or isolating.
Holding extra ‘just in case’ food is a privilege that many people don’t get to enjoy – so please be mindful of holding just what you need.
3/ Do something delightful
Covid anxiety sucks. Let’s not rush into that weird state of flux until we need to. Nothing has changed yet. You can still go to the beach with friends. Bake something you’ve never made before. Go for walks. Head to a bar or restaurant and sit in the sunshine for an afternoon. Do art stuff or make something crafty. Take your kids to a new playground. BBQ stuff. Re-watch your favourite TV show. Find that thing that tickles the happy part of your brain, and make time for it. In year three of this pandemic, let’s prioritise the pursuit of endorphins (and deliciousness – but more on that later).
Thats all from us this evening. Look out for an update from us again next week… our delightful bacon-inspired beer collab with Epic Beer is making its way out into the world at the moment and we can’t wait to tell you about it… and a whole bunch of other delicious stuff.
Hilary and the team at Freedom Farms
If you’re not familiar with Freedom Farms… we’re a 100% NZ-owned company that set out over a decade ago to bring you bacon farmed the Freedom way… from NZ farmers who care about the same things we do… farming that is kinder for farm animals and takes it easy on the environment. When you buy our bacon, eggs, pork, sausages and ham you are supporting a wonderful little group of NZ farmers… and we’re really really grateful!