When coronavirus first became serious, the idea of carrying on with The Crop Club didn’t seem right. I felt helpless and wanted to do more to help areas of need such as the NHS and our supermarkets. I didn’t want to be another addition to the delivery service. It took me a couple of weeks to get my head around continuing to operate and how to do that without it feeling uncomfortable. I didn’t expect there to be such a rise in demand for seeds and help to grow food. I started to come out of the depression I first felt with Covid-19 and realise that actually The Crop Club could help people. I know it seems obvious, but it just didn’t feel “essential” enough. Even though I am fully aware how essential our health and wellbeing are. One area I felt really needed support was those families who are now at home with their children and finding themselves in need of activities to do together. Now people have time to devote to gardening and maybe like me, are feeling the need to be outside in nature stronger than ever.
Of course we have made changes due to Covid-19. Before this started we didn’t do many sales through the website and would attend events and festivals. We are grouping deliveries to reduce trips to the post office but are lucky enough to have a few small ones locally which are rarely busy. We are printing our own postage at home so we can just drop our parcels and minimise the time spent there. While we are only shipping small numbers and keeping the risk low we will continue to operate.
We have made changes to the way we package our products. The government website says the risk of catching Coronavirus is very low from receiving goods, but I know other sources say there is a risk. I know many people are following different procedures, such as disposing of the outer packaging outside the house before bringing the contents inside, cleaning the packaging with disinfectant, quarantining parcels in cars or garages and of course washing hands thoroughly after receiving parcels. To enable these practices, we are now using plastic in our packaging. This is all reused packaging, I keep all packaging for anything delivered. We are ensuring the outer layer (paper/cardboard/plastic mailer) can be removed and the contents inside will have another layer of wrapping. This has been a hard one for me to remember as my instinct is always to minimise plastic and packaging. But thankfully as a collector (others say hoarder) we have a reasonable stock of packaging for goods received which we are making use of.
It feels a perfect time to make the most of the resources we already have so I have been fishing through the recycling bin for containers to grow in. I will be posting more about this to help people get started with minimal cost.
We have had a huge seed sort out and have been listing any spare packets we can on our website. Our usual supplier is selling a reduced selection so some of the usual varieties we use in our kits are hard to come by. I know many seed suppliers are not trading fully and have big back logs so I am happy to be able to help people access seeds. We have listed compost discs on our website which we usually only sell as part of our kits. But again compost can be a really tough item to get hold of right now.
I am spending more time outside than usual. I set up The Crop Club CIC with the vision of me spending far more time outside and in nature but the reality is often longs days at the computer or making up stock. We are growing far more this year from seed at home than I have found time to do in a long time. I am really enjoying having seedlings all over the house to care for and love watching them grow. I am finally working outside on my gardens and will be sharing the updates via social media.
Personally I don’t have the best health and have a poor immune system so I have also been worried about the risk of continuing to operate. My partner and volunteer Megan had offered to do all post office runs but I just don’t think it fair so we take it in turns. Of course if anyone in our household starts to display any symptoms then we will be shutting up shop. But for now, I have found a new energy in being able to help exactly in line with our mission statement. Our mission has always been to reconnect people with nature, food and each other and now this feels more important than ever.
Stay safe and take care,
PS below is a photo of my favourite tulip to add some joy to the post! #JoyOfGrowing