Is this real life?

Every day I’ve been waking up with an initial sense of confusion when I remember that the way coronavirus has taken over our lives is in fact reality.

When we initially took steps to work from home and begin social distancing, I was overcome with a sense of fear and anxiety. When we had to cancel our market last Saturday, things felt very dark and scary. So much was (and still is) unknown, and I felt a sense of powerlessness as we tried to make the best decision for the health and safety of everyone involved.

But over the past couple weeks, the staff at Countryside has worked tirelessly because we each believe that the work we do is (as the governor confirmed,) essential. There has been a revitalization in creatively approaching our mission and making sure that our community has access to fresh local food, no matter what. I have been inspired by the determination and dedication of my coworkers to pilot something new so that the (food) show can still go on.

Through video calls, virtual meetings, group chats, phone calls, and (hundreds of) emails, we have each from our humble homes found a way to transition our farmers’ market into an online marketplace. Customers can shop from the safety and comfort of their own homes while farmers and food producers can still have an outlet to consumers.

The past two weeks have been completely overwhelming, confusing, frustrating, and stressful – but as I sit here scrolling our new “Countryside Curbside” store that was created out of sheer passion for our mission, I find myself getting emotional.

Not just because the culmination of hard work is tangible, but because in this really terrifying reality we are all experiencing, people in our community can still have access to local food.

Shopping at a Countryside Farmers’ Market is a comforting and nurturing experience for me – the fact that I can continue to do this during COVID-19 is giving me a sense of serenity I didn’t know I was missing.

From my coworkers and bosses who ran around like chickens with their heads cut off – to our vendors who jumped in head first to learn a completely new system: my gratitude is immeasurable.

I am so looking forward to seeing the farmers’ market community on Saturday, and although I am an introvert, Countryside Curbside will be the most exciting outing I’ve had in weeks.

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