There is a saying that goes, "As Above, So Below." It is a testament to the mirroring of the macrocosm to the microcosm in the natural world. A simple nod towards the idea that the external and internal landscapes we occupy are interconnected in their expressions and vitality. We resonate deeply with this- the idea that our wellness and resilience is wrapped up in the vitality of the natural communities we exist within. As farmers, we place trust in the patterns of nature to guide us towards connection, creativity, and abundance, so long as we remain attentive. When we are tuned into this connectivity we sense when things begin to fall out of balance. For example, when the weather turns prematurely cold and damp and we fear for our harvest and financial wellbeing, leading to embodied experiences of stress and sleeplessness. When we see the commodification and over-harvesting of at risk plants, we experience fear for the future of invaluable biodiversity and ecological resilience. Simply put, we are all in this lived experience together as beings occupying the Earth at this time.
It goes without saying that we are all now acutely feeling expressions of imbalance in our communities with the arrival of COVID-19. School closures, economic uncertainty, and social distancing are not the norms in our high-paced culture. And while quarantining may increasingly exacerbate the anxiety that is present, it is also ironically reinforcing the presence of our inherent interconnectedness. This forced separation from what feels normal is precisely what unites us all. So, take a moment to land into your body and let that sink in. Take a break from reading all of the media and confusing science regarding COVID-19, and just let yourself be. Close your eyes and let yourself arrive in stillness. Breathe deeply and fully. Feel yourself supported by the Earth. We're here with you, and we're in this together. Let us not forget to check-in with one another and co-create our resilience and connection.
As a mission-driven venture we aim to be a community wellness resource, through both our direct farm activities and disseminating accessible and meaningful knowledge. So, in the spirit of celebrating our interdependence, we've collated some of the most helpful COVID-19 resources we've found in an effort to further inform and empower our communities near and far. We give thanks to the self-organized groups and individuals that have already spent countless hours putting crucial information together to keep folks well midst this pandemic. Below you find various resources for the general public, Herbalists and Community Health Care Practitioners, and information specific to Vermont's communities. At the bottom, you'll also find some tid-bits on herbs and activities that we're currently working with to support our immunity and keep our spirits up.
COVID-19- General Information + Mutual Aid:
Centers for Disease Control + Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html; Resources for Travelers: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
World Health Organization (WHO): https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
National Institute of Health (NIH): https://www.nih.gov/health-information/coronavirus ; News Release Regarding COVID-19 Stability on Various Surfaces https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/new-coronavirus-stable-hours-surfaces
Department of Labor OSHA Guidelines for Employers + Workers: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/
Big Door Brigade Mutual Aid Toolbox: https://bigdoorbrigade.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/mutual-aid-toolbox/
Healing Justice Podcast: Corona From A Social Justice Lens: https://irresistible.org/podcast/corona?fbclid=IwAR0mTCIUGEcSewqbBj4ex9jqsr_rtPHRov_7k5sjl2r_T9RxBe8gZDlY9_s
A wealth of knowledge including everything from known epidemiology, physiology, and various perspectives for herbal interventions for basic care and support (*Please note: This document is NOT a substitute for acute care, if you or a loved one have symptoms please contact your primary care physician for advisement).
Includes recipes for things like elderberry syrup and DIY hand sanitizer
Vermont Specific Resources:
Vermont Department of Health: https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/infectious-disease/2019-novel-coronavirus
Vermont COVID-19 Resource List - A dynamic community generated document relevant to all Vermonters
Front Porch Forum - a digital platform to connect with your neighbors and community institutions and stay up to date.
VT Agency of Human Services Department of Mental Health: https://mentalhealth.vermont.gov/coronavirus-and-our-mental-health
VT Agency of Human Services Department of Child and Family Services: https://dcf.vermont.gov/COVID-19
Vermont Department of Labor (For unemployment assistance): https://labor.vermont.gov/
NOFA-VT Farmer Emergency Fund Information: https://nofavt.org/seeking-people-support-dairy-farmers-through-covid-19
Herbs and Supportive Strategies Support to Consider
*Let us preface this portion by reiterating that we are not doctors or licensed medical professionals, and we are in no way suggesting folks use herbs to treat COVID-19. Further taking herbs does not mean you have to be less careful with advised social distancing and sanitation practices.*.
Okay, now that's been said, here are some of the plant allies we're considering to support our immune and nervous systems:
Elderberry (as a preventative measure): Please see the "Resources for Herbalists and Community Health Workers" document for information regarding the use of elderberry relevant to COVID-19
White Pine Needles
CBD (to soothe anxiety, of course!) - Note: Some studies have suggested CBD is contraindicated in active viral infections due to disruptions in our inflammatory responses (which of course is helpful in chronic inflammatory pictures, but perhaps not here). It is not clear if this the case with full spectrum extracts. Besides, reducing anxiety (hello, elevated cortisol levels) and allowing ourselves to tap into our creative sides with the support of CBD will ultimately support good immune function. That said, we wouldn't suggest using CBD if you are actively ill with COVID-19.
Having access to any of the above herbs is certainly a privilege, and we by no means encourage folks to exhaust their financial resources by fully stocking an enormous apothecary. Herbs are just one piece of the holistic wellness puzzle, and there are numerous other strategies to support our well-being at this time. Here are some to consider (aka you should probably do them):
Wash your hands with hot water and soap! 20 seconds, sing happy birthday etc... you know the drill.
Get good sleep. Allow yourself to use some of that quarantine time to rest, rest rest!
Try avoiding excess sugar and alcohol (have some tea instead!)
Get outside - getting out in the sun and generating some vitamin D has been proven to improve immune function.
Move your body in whatever ways feel accessible and exciting! Dance, stretch, walk, run, hike etc.
Connect with loved ones and neighbors (virtually or by phone!) - Remember we're in this together.
Take time for grounding practices: Read, journal, meditate, take a bath, eat some chocolate, plan your garden etc.
The times are uncertain, that much we know is true. Let us take this opportunity of slowing down and doing less to reconnect with what makes us feel alive and connected to another. And wherever you are in this moment, know that we're sending big love and support from our small farm.