Editor’s Letter, August 2020: Searching for Silver Linings

We want to believe that all of the disruption, uncertainty, and down time will add up to something positive in the end.

Illustration by Lars Leetaru

We’re all searching for silver linings in this cloudy time. We want to believe that all of the disruption, uncertainty, and down time will add up to something positive in the end, that our discomfort and sacrifice will yield some deeper meaning, and that better days lie ahead.

Lots of people in the news are talking about silver linings. Restaurant and store owners who’d always wanted to set up online ordering and delivery service. Cultural groups always meaning to add virtual programming. Companies that never got around to figuring out flexible work options for employees. African Americans convinced that systemic racism would never be acknowledged. School officials insisting that their teaching models were too complex to change. Elected officials who claimed there wasn’t enough money to provide universal health care, build a better unemployment safety net, boost small businesses, or forgive college loan debt. As we’ve seen, all of these things are possible and, in fact, doable in a pinch.

Let’s add to that wish list a sustainable local system providing fresh, healthy food at all price points for all Greater Cincinnati residents. In this month’s Local Food cover package, we explore another silver lining in the pandemic’s wake: the growth of local farms and wholesalers delivering fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, eggs, and herbs to our doorstep.

You might stop by a grocery store any day of the year to buy strawberries grown in Mexico. They’re cheap, and they taste strawberry-like. Then COVID-19 disrupts the entire food supply chain and infects workers in distribution warehouses along the product’s journey to Cincinnati. How comfortable are you grabbing them now? Instead, buy strawberries from a farm in Clermont County, get to know that family, and keep your money in the local economy.

The big question, of course, is what happens after the pinch loosens. Do we slouch back to business as usual, or do we get our heads out of the clouds and make the possible permanent? If it’s the latter, better days are actually ahead.

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