By Lindsey Mebane
President, Kern County Young Farmers & Ranchers
I think we can all agree that life looks a little different these days. Actually, that is probably a bit of an understatement. Life is a lot different, and I don’t know about you, but I would like it to return to normal. One thing I can say is that in these, call them weird, times, it is impressive to see how community can come together and adapt. I for one really like the curbside pick-up from the local Mexican restaurant with a to-go margarita to enjoy on my couch with loved ones. Thankfully, some businesses have been able to adapt and power through, but that is not the case for all local businesses. This pandemic has had me turn an eye more towards the local business run by the husband and wife duo that are trying to save up for their kids’ college tuition or the stay at home mom who started a sewing business to help support her family’s income. Don’t get me wrong, I still will shop at Costco and major retailers, but I know they will most likely survive and not have to close their doors during the pandemic. Whatever the business, we must stand strong and try and support each other and when this is all over (yes, I said when), we will be stronger on the other side.
If I had to pick a word to describe my experience as the 2020 Kern Young Farmers & Ranchers’ President, I would use the word “adjust.” That was not the word I had imagined focusing on as President, but life likes to throw a few curve balls every now and again. This whole year has been an adjustment. We had to adjust all our in-person meetings and tours to be virtual or not even hold a meeting. The officer team has been doing their best to keep members and the community involved, but it has not been easy.
The biggest event we had to adjust this year was our Annual Charity Farmer’s Market. It was tentatively scheduled for Saturday July 11th, but that date came and went with no event. It took our team a while to figure out how to adjust and still make an impact. We came to the realization early on during the planning stages that we would not be having the event in hopes to raise money to build a garden. With no large gatherings or school, it was just not going to happen.
However, I am pleased to announce that we have come up with a plan B! We are going to work with the Morning Star Fresh Food Ministry for their August 15th distribution. If you are unfamiliar with the organization, their website (morningstarfresh.org) describes them as “A collaborative effort comprised of many moving parts: Farm partners, local butchers, churches, non-profits, businesses, volunteers, and local families. In 2013, Bret Sill saw the need, and decided he had to do something. Bret used his knowledge, experience and relational connections in the agriculture and food industry to resource the community of Kern County. His goal? To connect the city of Bakersfield to FRESH FOOD.” We felt that with some of our connections to the agriculture industry along with our membership of willing and able bodies that we could help get some food donations as well as provide labor to the distribution day. If you would like to donate any produce or want to volunteer the day of the event, please e-mail us so we can get you on the volunteer list and our Farmers Market committee chair will be in touch.
As always, I really appreciate you all taking the time to read my articles month after month. I am by no means a journalist or a writer, but I do my best to keep you informed as to what our organization is doing. Thank you again and stay safe.
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