We are coming up to the one year anniversary of the changed UNH operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to look back at how things have changed in small ways such as the change in our program to find ways that it enabled us to grow and changed our own perceptions of the importance of our program. To begin with, when we all went home spring semester of 2020, UNH Dining no longer needed our vegetables. We shut down production and this allowed for maintenance of the high tunnels. The same plastic had been on our high tunnels for over 8 years and was in dire need of changing. We removed the plastic from the tunnels for the entirety of the summer, and we grew soil building cover crops. This break also allowed for needed changes in the high tunnels, such as an improved wash station in our heated high tunnel. The transition was complete when we re-covered the high tunnels in October and resumed our vegetable production
COVID-19 restrictions have affected how we interact with the UNH community and with our time in class and within the high tunnels. On-campus tours of the Farm to You NH program have, of course, been stopped. This has made us look at different ways of interacting with the university students and staff and the larger public. We took a renewed look at social media and like many we went to reconnect, with alumni, local farms and current students and staff. We try to provide meaningful and engaging updates without having to be in person. With the shifts and changes that come with access to the high tunnels, also comes a renewed appreciation of the time we as students are able to be hands-on with our studies, putting all that we learn into action.
This pandemic has showed the need for sustainable and resilient food systems, renewing our passion to educate the public and ourselves on the many ways that farming can build strong communities. Our hope is that graduates of the Farm to You NH program will continue to navigate and create positive change in their food systems and local communities.