For several weeks now I have been planning to title this article “The Blessings of the Curse” talking about the few, but significant, positive outcomes of COVID-19. Not to downplay the personal and economic impacts that have affected so many of us globally, but to highlight the unexpected silver linings, the opportunities and the ways that challenges of this cursed pandemic has made POETCom-rades, the Pacific and the world stronger.
Leading (virtually) by example: Perhaps the biggest blessing is also the theme of this issue of Cultivating Community – the importance and value of the POETCom Membership network. Apparent throughout these stories, including the story about the Agritourism webinar series where POETCom members from the Cook Islands and Cicia Island Fiji told their stories; demonstrated our reliance on our network of friends, colleagues and stakeholders tfor help and to help out in kind. The result is tighter community and deeper appreciation for the diversity of personalities and skills that we collectively possess.
Innovation, integration, interconnectedness, interdependence, and independence. All of us have become more familiar with virtual participation tools like Zoom, and therefore have experienced the curse (and cursing) that comes with new technology and unreliable, unpredictable connectivity issues. But there is no denying that the technology has brought us together from afar. The IFOAM Organic World Congress, Heads of Agriculture Forestry Services in Fiji and the Membership Talanoa have allowed more of the POETCom Community to participate. This blessing will continue to the next virtual POETCom General Assembly in November. Previously limited to Focal Points as representatives, the POETCom board’s decision (in their Zoom meeting) to hold the Assembly online will allow us to hear from as many of our Members as possible, including as we introduce the Women’s Chapter and the Scientific Think Tank. Watch your email for additional information as the event approaches.
Food System Reboot. Leading up to the United Nations Food Systems Summit the Pacific organic community brought our regional voice to the discussions. In the organic movement we know that the current food system is destructive, unsafe, unjust and just not working, threatening the health, ecology, economy, tradition and community of our island nations. Pacific voices have been actively engaged, offering game changing solutions, using this curse to realize, rebuild, rebuild, reform and reboot food production, with organic concepts as the foundation. Through leveraging interest and traditional knowledge, combined with new transdisciplinary evidence-based solutions, the Pacific stands ready to work with partners and its diverse communities to help build sustainable and resilient food systems for the future that contribute positively to health, environment, social and livelihood outcomes for our region.
SMIZING! In mask mandate countries, including here in Fiji, we have learned to smile with our eyes. We have also improved health awareness for ourselves and our loved ones. Despite the unplanned belly bulges of the quarantine 5 kg many of us are being much more careful, paying closer attention to our bodies, how we manage it and what goes into it.
POETCom-rades we are the peak body for the organic movement in the Pacific, and our organic movement is the blessing with the potential to make real improvements at home, in our communities and as examples to the world. Conquering this curse has been and will continue to be difficult, but the Blessings that it has brought will make us better and emerge stronger, more sustainable, more compassionate and certainly wiser.