As the unprecedented year of 2020 comes to a close, growers across North America are studying seed catalogs, reworking their crop plans and using the lessons learned this season to bring more abundance into the New Year.

We wanted to send you into 2021 with some heartfelt thoughts from growers preparing for the New Year, hoping they will inspire you and serve as a salve for the challenging conditions we continue to face. With so much uncertainty in our world today, there is something very grounding about making plans in the winter that turn into action steps in spring and result in tangible harvests.

Please enjoy these beautiful thoughts and inspiring words from stewards of the land as they prepare for the growing season in 2021.

Preparing for the transition from 2020 to 2021 has brought so much hope for my family and I as we enter into our second year of gardening.  2020 was the perfect wake up call to not only myself and other gardeners, but to the world globally! This year we started as any typical first timers; buying seedlings. No, we did not start our garden because of the pandemic, however, when the pandemic started, I began to see seedlings flying off of the shelves like crazy! So, we shifted from seedlings to growing from seeds. I wish I could’ve started my whole garden with seeds. Not only was it such a rewarding feeling to see something grow from seed to harvest, But Being able to give our kids the experience to enjoy and learn about growing our fruits and veggies was twice as rewarding. It gave us the opportunity to pass down this overall gardening experience with a new generation.  

Our kids witnessed the chaos of grocery stores running out of food. But when they saw our garden growing our own produce, it gave them a sense of relief, hope and happiness! Growing most of our everyday used veggies and herbs definitely cut a lot of grocery trips to the store. Our garden was thriving and we had more than enough to share with others. I am hopeful for a year of abundance from our garden as we go into a new year with more experience. I am hopeful for better quality as we have already purchased our seeds from High Mowing!  

I am also hopeful that no matter how big or small of an audience gardeners and farmers have, that we all begin to spread a seed of HOPE and confidence to at least one person to start a garden in 2021. I hope that it continues into a chain reaction and spreadsso that even in the middle of a pandemic we can all regain some power of sustainability and hope for our future!” -- Susie Zaldivar of @Home.Coop.Garden in American Canyon, California

 

"As the harvest season in the PNW starts to unwind, our bodies get to rest but our minds become busy again. Busy with the thoughts of reflection and what changes need to be made for the future, what systems need to be reevaluated, and what resources are available to help us reach our goals. Luckily, we have the support of a strong community of like-minded folks, who believe in the value of land stewardship, the value of a strong local food system, and who can and are willing to make a difference by committing to local producers. We have seen an outpouring of support through the 2020 season. Inevitably, there will be more obstacles to face, but as growers we are built for a good challenge. We will continue to prepare and adapt with a nimble attitude, and the strength of hope. If one tiny seed can bring so much life, imagine the power of a progressive community.” - Giana and Matthew of The Crows Farm in Skagit Valley, Washington

 

"My name is Karen. I go by the name @GardenofZens on Instagram. I am the proud owner of an amazing backyard organic garden. My growing New Year's Resolutions for 2021 are:
-To have a better understanding of soil health and implementing new ways in making it better using organic methods.
-New and improved ways of managing garden pests such as Japanese Beetles, Cucumber Beetles and Spider Mites. They have been a big source of frustration for me this past growing season.
-Most of all, my greatest single New Year's Resolution is, I would like to continue to become a better gardener while growing enough food for my family, friends and neighbors." - Karen Platzer of @GardenofZens in Connecticut

 

"Our hopes for 2021 are to increase the production in our space so that we can bring more reliable produce to our local markets. We’d like to provide more opportunities for new growers to learn on our farm and our hope is that everyone maintains good health and safety throughout next year." - Angelique and Kip of Smarter By Nature in Quincy, Florida

 

“Throughout the many challenges of 2020, we found great satisfaction in sharing the crops we cultivated from our high mowing seeds with friends, family, and even strangers. We are hopeful that 2021 will bring us the opportunity to use the knowledge we’ve gained in three seasons of gardening to build our 'by-donation farm-stand' into an even more accessible venue for our neighbors to have access to home-grown produce during these challenging times.” - Lex and Brad of @VTmillennialhomesteaders in Middlesex, Vermont

 

“2020 brought about a lot of change. We had to try new ways to feed our community. We started a delivery CSA which seemed like a huge task for our small farm. We were able to share our produce with people who would normally go to the grocery store before a farmers market. We hope to grow our CSA in 2021 so people can fall in love with fresh produce. “ - Ashley and Matt Horry of Kindlewood Farms in Walterboro, South Carolina

 

“2020 has certainly been a doozy of a year to say the least! Thinking back to three years ago when I was struck by a car at 48mph while walking in a pedestrian crosswalk, which resulted in multiple long term injuries and conditions, has emphasized that hope and gratitude are two things I plan on bringing into 2021. I’m looking forward to trying some new plants and varieties (High Mowing definitely has some great options there!) and planning for my future farm that will serve both the community and abused and neglected children. Just like a seed, at times we may feel like we’ve been planted in a dark and lonely place, but as we continually reach for the sun, things will get better and that makes me really look forward to growing season 2021!” - Cazoshay Marie @cazoshay_marie of Arizona

 

“Although our list of goals is always long going into a new growing season, we are focusing more on quality, efficiencies, and increasing production going into this upcoming year. Like everyone else, there were a lot of challenges we faced in 2020. I like to make a point to reflect on the mistakes, to make sure there is a lesson learned. The main theme of our mistakes is always the same, too much to do, too little time. We are redoing our wash and pack shed to be streamlined for handling more greens production. In the past, we have grown more then 50 different crops on less then a quarter acre, which has proven to stretch our goals and bandwidth thin. While we are increasing our diversity of flowers we are growing to meet the growing cut flower demand in our local market, we plan on shrinking the vegetable crop diversity we grow to only a few main crops. This will help us have more time to focus on quality, and also help grow more food for our local food bank that we volunteer at occasionally. When helping at Blessed Sacrament Supper Program, we noticed the poor quality of salad that is donated from large chains because it is past its sales date. The cull rate is usually over 50%, and the shelf life is very short. At the end of the year, we have a warm fall which allowed our greens to continue to grow passed our markets. We donated about 40lbs of salad mix in September/October. Blessed Sacrament program has seen an increase in families needing the service and averages serving 100 families a night since the Pandemic has started. The main vegetable that is served to the families is salad and our 2021 new year resolution is to donate 10lbs of salad mix a week. We practice and preach the mantra, grow your food or know your food. The need for communities to come together and help one another is needed now more than ever before and the local food movement is an essential part to community resilience through these tough times.” - Daniel Eggert of Macedon Center Farm in Macedon, New York

 

"In 2021, I envision a surge in agricultural training for the non-traditional farmers in my area by using my grow spaces as live demonstration classrooms. I plan to offer permaculture courses that focus on city living; the particular issues that arise from city landscapes, city regulations & city culture. Through successful grow seasons In 2021, I see the definition of what it means to be a farmer in my city expand to the most unlikely of spaces & organic agricultural practices. As an Urban farmer myself, I see the use of all types of spaces, small or large, soil or soil-less, being utilized to address food insecurity in my city." - Dishaun Harris of Root Life Organic in New Haven, Connecticut

 

"One of my hopes for 2021 is to learn more about and plant additional medicinal herbs. My chamomile patch was one of my favorite spaces this past growing season. Of course for the flowers to harvest, but also a peaceful space to spend time in. I hope to grow a more expansive and diverse herb section of my garden, not only for my use but friends and neighbors as well.” - Laura Greenwood of Jean Bean Farm in East Montpelier, Vermont