In this behind the scenes look at how we’re farming in the face of COVID-19 we hear from Mel Sylvestre, BC Seed Grower from UBC Farm located on the unceded ancestral territory of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓-speaking xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people. Mel talks about gaining perspective during the pandemic and the importance of building a strong local seed system.
What is a significant change you've faced on your farm over the past weeks?
Reduced community. We had to cancel our practicum in sustainable food systems, our children's program and our volunteer program. Being a public farm, we usually see hundreds of people on the farm every day. Now there are only the field workers. Even our office staff have been working from home.
What is one thing you need the community to understand right now?
The importance of local seeds! Not only supporting local businesses but understanding that seeds travel sometimes from very far and in days of uncertainties and pandemic, we have to build a strong local food system that starts with a strong local seed system.
What is some good news or small joy to tell us about?
Going through this pandemic while raising my 8-month-old twin daughters has put so many things in perspective. Watching them grow, as well as watching nature go through its usual awaking of spring into summer brings me joy and hope every day, and it reminds me that we will be ok! It has actually been interesting to live on a farm in the middle of the city for this reason. While on the farm, I feel that things are as usual and as soon as I step out I get reminded of the hardship the world is currently navigating. I'm so thankful to do the work I am doing right now.