Dear Friends & Neighbors,

As we continue through this week, so much has changed in the world. It begins to feel as though we are in a time out of time as our normal daily rhythms and routines are upended by the rapidly evolving state of affairs. Though so much of what is happening is beyond our control, there are things that we can do, or refrain from doing, that can have real impact on how this story ultimately unfolds. First among these is to do all that we can to remain safe, and more importantly, to help create the conditions where others are allowed to remain safe, especially the aged and people whose life’s circumstances leave them most vulnerable to the ravages of this virus.

To that end, Hawthorne Valley has been following the guidelines that have been put in place for New York State, and are encouraging all our staff and community to use common sense and common decency in protecting themselves and others. Part of that means that our campus, which is normally open to the public, is closed at this time, beyond welcoming customers to our Farm Store.

With the mandate from New York State to shelter in place, we are not supposed to be moving out and about. As much of our educational programs would normally take place in fields and forest, we fully appreciate the benefits derived from being in nature and understand the need to get out-of-doors. However, as a working farm, we also need to protect the health of our farmers and artisan food crafters so that they can continue to produce the high-quality, nutritious food they are known for. Regrettably, and until further notice, we must close the farmyard, play yards, picnicking areas, and recreational areas of our campus to all families, students, and visitors.

We are witnessing a world in crisis. The coronavirus pandemic cannot be ignored. Yet many people, for many years, have been living with disruption and tragedy, and continue to be the most vulnerable in the face of mounting crises, including climate chaos. Being mindful of their suffering, and the suffering of the earth, I feel challenged to fully appreciate what is being asked of us at this time. Sustaining the status quo seems insufficient. While we all look for ways to cope with social distancing, financial stresses, and cabin fever, can we also take the time to ask the questions that may invite new opportunities to emerge and change our understanding of what is possible?

I have faith that in this moment of shared global disruption, humanity can and will rise to the occasion to forge better paths forward for our children, grandchildren, and Earth.

In community,
Martin Ping
Executive Director