Has COVID-19 Changed the Way You Think, Do Business or Your Outlook for the Future?

By Bobby Wilson (Metro Atlanta Urban Farm)

Metro Atlanta Urban Farm and other CoPI’s across the US have been contemplating ways to adjust our course to accommodate the needs of the country while continuing to “be the change” that we “want to see” in the lives of people that we serve in our communities.

By modifying our road map, we will be able to address multiple challenges, support our communities in ways that matter now, and have an impact both on the NOISE Project and on COVID-19.

Just a few short months ago, Metro Atlanta Urban Farm (MAUF) was well in position to exceed its goals of reaching a minimum of 500 students in 50 schools within 5 months. In collaboration with Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and the National Science Foundation (NSF), CoPIs from around the country, local schools and other programs, MAUF was experiencing, as our slogan states, “A Field of Dreams in a Field of Greens!”

MAUF had already surpassed its goal of reaching 500 students, and new schools were being added by the week. However, COVID-19 would change the way all of us were doing business. For example, we are now sending out more information to communities about backyard gardening, community gardening and urban agriculture. The MAUF conference room has been turned into an emergency aid relief store to offer pick-up service to those who need food. People from surrounding communities are coming to the farm to pick greens to feed their families and herbs to help keep their families well.

We are getting more visits to our website and social media platform than ever before.

If I would answer the question, ‘Has COVID-19 changed the way I think, do business or my outlook for the future?’, the answer would be, “Unequivocally, yes!”. I’ve been reminded that we should not be so ridged in our ways that we cannot adapt, or quickly change the way we do business to meet the needs of the people we are here to serve. Rules are only as good as they are effective. Everyone should be willing to make changes based upon the needs of the community. Covid-19 is holding the world hostage and is demanding that we make critical and life-saving changes now, not later.

We do not know where the answers to COVID-19 will come from nor the impact that it will have on the NOISE Project. For many of us, answers will come in bits and pieces from our government and medical professionals. Other answers will come from community-based organizations, like MAUF, working in collaboration with large institutions. It is during times like these that we all need to “adjust” so that we are bringing HOPE to our communities through actions that are relevant to our common goal of improving the quality of life for the ALL people that we serve.