Hanging Baskets at ReVision Urban Farm,  Boston, MA
Dear Friends,

This is the first time in our Network's history where our collective work has halted so abruptly, and a public health crisis has called on us to be more than farm-based educators. While coronavirus is reminding people of the relevance and importance of local farms, it may also be inviting you to change. Luckily, as courageous humans in relationship with each other, we are capable of swift, graceful change. 

Change across our Network looks like an educational farm setting up an emergency food distribution site and serving 100 families. It looks like school meals being delivered to children's houses, and a farm to school coordinator joining a middle school English class to help with the online platform. There is such beauty in how individuals can adapt.

We are all trying to "help" right now, and if you're like me, you probably feel like you're swimming upstream in a river of resources! Consider yourself warned: this newsletter includes a few more, most of which came from members who have participated  in FBEN community check-ins. There are also thoughts about how to select resources. Want to talk in person? We're offering two virtual meetings this week: see below for information on registering! 

Sending you love and good health as you navigate this complex time.


Vera Simon-Nobes
Farm-Based Education Network Coordinator
Who Has Access?  And Other Thoughts on Online Resources

As you choose resources to share, consider these questions: 
  • Is this resource aligned with my farm or organization's mission? 
  • If I was planning an in-person program with colleagues, would we use this resource?
  • Does the resource help eliminate opportunity gaps and systemic barriers or perpetuate them? 

When creating original online content, consider how it will serve you and your community going forward, not just at this time. As with all online tools, consider who will be able to access it and who won't. Remember that many families don't have computers, reliable internet, or enough data on their phones to stream content. Ask yourself and your partners what you can do to reach those families at this time. Remember your strengths as a human being, not just a farm-based educator, and consider what you can offer. 

Photo: Life Lab, Santa Cruz, CA
Members Recommend Resources

Our virtual meetings yield helpful conversations and a plethora of resources. Here are a few (mostly) practitioner-facing resources that others in the Network have found helpful at this time. Please email us resources that are supporting you so we can share them through our COVID-19 Facebook Group. 

Photo: Hawai'i Institute of Pacific Agriculture
Upcoming Virtual Meetings with FBEN Members 
Wednesday, April 1 | 2:30 - 3:30 ET

How can farms continue to offer farm-based learning without having visitors on the farm? Is virtual farm-based education really possible? Join to hear from peers who have been offering distance learning.   Register!

Thursday, April 2 | 10 - 11:00 ET

Summer camps are facing a dynamic new situation with the coronavirus in our midst. Join Andrew Ziv of  Eden Village Camp and the FBEN for a call to share your learning and current challenges.  Register!
Media You May Have Missed 

These pieces may have slipped through your inbox. Do they resonate with you as a farm-based educator? As we continue this period of social integration, consider diving into a piece of writing, podcast, or other resource with  a friend over the phone, or host a conversation with coworkers.   Zoom , Google Hangouts , and FreeConferenceCall all have free options to keep groups connected by video and phone. Wondering how to structure a conversation around an article, podcast, or other piece of work?  Here's a  our colleagues at Shelburne Farms use often when looking at work together.
Advocacy Opportunities for Action Now

The National Farm to School Network shares actions we can take right now to keep supporting our communities in the coming days and weeks. These include supporting hungry kids and families, early care providers, and family farms. Read more... 
Photo: New York Times
Chicks, Chicks, Chicks

"People are panic-buying chickens like they did toilet paper," Tom Watkins, vice president of Murray McMurray Hatchery told The New York Times this week. According to the article , chick sales go up during stock market downturns. If you are new to chicken-keeping, or know someone who is, there are lots of resources that can help! Check out BackyardChickens.com and Alchemist Farm's upcoming virtual chicken-keeping workshops.
New Forum: Sex and Death on the Farm

At the November 2019 FBEN Conference in Maryland, a workshop was offered to discuss the challenges of life cycle questions that inevitably come up at farm-based programs. Though a small group was anticipated for this discussion, almost 50 people gathered and filled the short session with questions and experiences. The group discussed roles, content, values, and communication strategies to cover the difficult yet necessary questions that any farm that has animals on it must learn to address. A new Facebook group has formed where we can continue this dialogue!
Photo: National Garden Bureau
Clairvoyance or Coincidence? 

The National Garden Bureau seemingly predicted that we would all need some extra calm in 2020 when they declared it the year of lavender! Did you know there are 450 varieties of lavender? Celebrate the #yearofthelavender and treat your senses with lavender buds, essential oil, or photos of the brilliant flowers
Andrew Ziv, Eden Village Camp facilitates a Summer Camp Meeting
Notes from FBEN's COVID-19 Check-Ins

Thanks to the many members who have joined our calls to share tools and resources at t he March 20th and March 27th Community Check-Ins, and the March 25 Summer Camp Call.
Find call notes and recordings here.

Racial Equity Challenge 

The 2020 Racial Equity Challenge launched on Monday, but sign-ups are open until Friday! Hosted annually by Food Solutions New England, this challenge invites you (along with thousands of other people across the US) to commit to deepening your understanding of, and willingness to confront, racism for twenty-one consecutive days. At the very least, the Challenge will raise your awareness. But for many participants it goes beyond that and changes they way they see and interact with the world.
Seeking Website Feedback 

The FBEN website needs to seamlessly connect you with resources and each other. We're in the midst of a makeover to support this goal, and we welcome feedback! Be in touch if you'd like to provide creative support. Email Vera to discuss!

The FBEN is a free member network established to strengthen and support the work of educators, farmers, and community leaders who provide access and experiences on working farms.  

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