How did you operate during the pandemic and how did it affect the initiatives that you run?
Maciej Łepkowski (Motyka i Słońce Community Garden): During the pandemic a lot of people would come to our garden. I would hazard a guess that we were visited by more people than in previous years. It was a place where you were allowed to meet up with others. During the lockdown, it provided the opportunity for important social interaction and physical activity to many people, which was crucial for their mental wellbeing. The garden proved very useful in the pandemic, to more people than usually. Also, it looked particularly beautiful this year.
Hanna Wielgus (Family Garden Allotments): As an allotment gardener, I didn’t feel any major change. I walk a lot, I stroll around the gardens, in the alleys. Besides, this is a restricted area, so you can take off your mask, and breathe freely. In the meantime, the first flowers started to bloom, and I could smell them. Then apricots, cherries, and mirabelle plums – that was a delightful scent, as well. In May, we had wonderfully smelling blooming lilacs. The pandemic will continue, but you can go to your garden, get some air, and take a breather.
Joanna Humka (Dobrze Cooperative): Unfortunately, the pandemic had a big negative impact on our operations. The first months were difficult. Stand-by shifts in out shops were being cancelled, we lost some members. Our shops are rather small, and since we introduced restrictions on the number of people allowed to be inside at one time, we also lost some of our customers.
Marta Traczyk (W Domu Restaurant): The pandemic turned our work upside down. We had never suspected that such a huge portion of our operations can rely on deliveries. Catering for family events was no longer possible. Entire families locked in their homes required a balanced offer for each of the family members who worked and learned remotely. These meals had to be suitable for young children, high schoolers, as well as their mum and dad. We decided that over the week, we would be designing exclusively lunch sets, and we would leave fancier, more sophisticated recipes for the weekend when everyone has a little more time to enjoy fine and fun dining. And that hit the bull’s eye. The customers would call us and say: “Ms. Marta, please go on making these dinners, we don’t know what to feed our kids.” I thought that the time came when both entire families and individuals would start thinking about food, and we would support them with quality meals. In that moment I felt like Lucyna Ćwierczakowiczowa [iconic 19th cen. Polish author of books on cooking and home economics]: I felt the need to educate; that was my day, and I would fight for every person, for every child.
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