- Soil Association
- Responding to Coronavirus
Responding to Coronavirus
How we're supporting communities during COVID-19
This is a moment to come together for the common good. We are stronger when we work together on the biggest challenges we face. From advising how to ensure children on free school meals get good food or getting the right support in place for farmers to produce our food in resilient ways, thanks to your support, the Soil Association is working hard at the forefront of food and farming.
In these extraordinary and unsettling times, we are coming together
The global COVID-19 pandemic has already affected the lives of everyone in some way and its impacts will continue for a long time to come. Food and those who produce it have never been more important and getting enough good food for everyone is front of mind for all.
Creating a resilient and sustainable food system, which is less exposed to short term shocks and restores a safe climate, abundant nature and good nutrition, has always been core to our charitable aims at the Soil Association.
Our UK farmers and local food suppliers are more crucial than ever. We know farmers and growers need assistance now to help feed the nation, both today and for the coming months. Many thousands of people will be needed to harvest British produce from May to September. Lots of people have indicated they’d be up for this in theory, but they will be less skilled than experienced field workers. It is essential to assure growers that if they plant now, they won’t be left with fields of rotting food later. We’re working with our partners to secure the right support.
Good food for all
Since the outbreak of coronavirus, we’ve been working harder than ever to ensure nutritious food is available for those who need it most, at a time when health and wellbeing is even more crucial. Our policy team, along with our key partners, have been working to make sure all children reliant on Free School Meals are still able to eat at least one good meal a day at this crucial time. Together, we have secured Government commitment to freshly prepared meals distributed from schools as the preferred approach ahead of supermarket food vouchers, while ensuring the free school meal safety net is extended during the school holidays.
New challenges face many of the communities we serve at the Soil Association and we are finding new ways to work with and support them, connecting young and old to cook together online, for instance, in place of our Food for Life Get Togethers events.
We’ve been struck by how boldly the UK and wider world has moved to respond to this imminent threat. There could be much to learn from all this, when we have the bandwidth to do so.
Thank you for being on this journey with us. You are in our thoughts as we all navigate these turbulent times.
When this is over, will we be grateful for small things? Sprawling on the grass in the park, chatting to neighbours, popping into the local for a pint after a long evening walk?
What will we take from this time? The comradeship, though we cannot be together; the chaos of working from home; lasting respect for our amazing key workers on the front line; the joys and trials of unexpected time with children and partners, eating together every evening; the upswell of volunteers wanting to play their part?
Will we remember how, when an imminent threat came, we found the resource to respond, despite the financial and social cost? Will we demand an equally vigorous and compassionate response and resolve around the climate and ecological emergency that will still be with us? Will we make the world anew or rush to reconfigure it as it was?
The Soil Association will do all we can to help a saner, more resilient world emerge from this crisis. There are amazing things happening; local food initiatives starting and strengthening; farmers supporting their communities; people re-evaluating what really matters to them. You can hear the birds sing in places that were a roar of traffic a few weeks ago. The world will emerge from lockdown, and we will be grateful for that….but with your help, and working with our many partners, we will aim to take some good things from this difficult time, including an ever stronger case for a resilient, healthy food system.
What good things have you encountered that you wish could last? Do let us know.
We’d love to hear from you.
Thank you, so much, for all your support.
Support for certification clients
Soil Association Certification licensees can find all the latest guidance, information and support on our COVID-19 resource hub.
Food For Life Response
Food for Life and Food for Life Get Togethers are focusing efforts around supporting our communities – offering guidance to our caterers and lobbying hard on their behalf at a policy level; providing useful resources for schools, nurseries and home-educators; and developing remote ways of people connecting through cooking and growing.
Read our full Food for Life update here.
We’re shifting as much of our work as we can online and all staff are working from home. We remain operational and can be contacted on the usual email addresses and telephone numbers.
Ideas to keep you busy at home:
1. Get growing these everyday herbs at home. They're great for flavouring your favourite food and bees love them too!
2. Make your own organic deodorant with ingredients you've likely got in your cupboards.
3. Now is more important than ever to limit food waste and use up every bit of your veg. Read these top tips and make the most of your veg.