Lightening Heavy Loads: Summer Week #20 – 10/21/20
As always, the end of the summer season seems to land itself so quickly! Overall, we’ve had a fantastic season. Our crew was so fun, hardworking, covid-careful, and amazing! Meanwhile, growing conditions were insanely good. We feel so very fortunate.
After two prior seasons of lots of crop losses due to excess rain, we upped our crop plans this season and planted way more food – especially winter storage crops. Now, all this food is coming in. We are literally racing against the cold and coming rains to get it all out of the ground, scrambling for pallet bins to harvest it all into, and driving truckloads of food to cold storage facilities because we don’t have enough space for it all.
By my count, we have somewhere around 70 pallet bins of food in storage. Pallet bins average 900 pounds …. so 63,000 pounds of food and counting.
Every single one of those pounds has been harvested and lifted by one of us on the crew. Typically we harvest the crops into deep black crates, that weigh about 40 pounds when they are full. Lifting 40 pounds, especially when dead lifting from the ground, and dumping it into a pallet bin over and over all day gets tough on the body. Heavy load, after heavy load.
We have another size crate on our farm, the shallow crate, which holds about 25-30 pounds when full. Typically we don’t use these when doing our storage crop harvesting.
I felt the tired vibe of our crew members after a long day of carrot harvesting a couple weeks back, and thought to myself, why don’t we use the shallow crates? Why choose to carry such heavy loads when we don’t have to?
I brought this up to Mike. We discussed it. He wanted to stick with the deep crates. He argued they are more efficient. When you are racing to get food out of the ground, it makes sense to use larger crates so we spend less time filling and emptying them. Logical, practical.
I countered. Why exhaust ourselves and our workers if we don’t have to? Is it really more efficient to carry the heavy loads when those very loads tire out our crew so much faster? Might we be equally or perhaps more efficient if we lighten our loads? And even if we aren’t as fast or faster, shouldn’t we lighten the loads nonetheless?
Since managing the crew is my responsibility, I made the final call. Shallow crates.
My crew has since thanked me many times. The strain on their bodies is less; the quality of their days better.
This small act of being able to literally lighten the loads of others, has made me feel so good. It’s something positive I can do during this pandemic time.
I think so many of us are carrying heavy loads right now – whether it be physical or emotional.
Perhaps that’s one thing we can all do for each other during the winter pandemic season, to lighten the loads of those around us. I know I’m going to try, and I hope you will too.
May you be well, and thank you so much for supporting our farm this season.