This winter has been difficult for most of us here in the northeast.

It affected our schedules, commutes, travel plans and caused multiple aches and pains from falls and shoveling. As i write this, side roads are still dangerously narrow and some cars are just beginning to peek out from their snow caves like the crocuses we are all awaiting to announce the coming of spring.

The weather had a huge impact on the livelihood of many of our local businesses. Consumers were not out shopping, out dining or, if they could possibly avoid it, out there at all spending their money.  For others in the local agricultural community, the weather had an even more devastating impact. Roofs collapsed and so did many greenhouses.

Within our local food community, Jodie Gilson, owner of J. Gilson Greenhouses in Groton, suffered a major loss when her herb greenhouse collapsed. Herb seedlings are started in the winter in order to be ready for sale in May when we can safely plant them in our outdoor gardens to enjoy all summer long.

The good news is that through the efforts of her son, Will Gilson, chef/owner of Garden at the Cellar and our caring local food community the troops have rallied and planned a fundraiser. Funds raised will help Jodie rebuild her business so she can continue supplying us with a wide range of herbs. in many ways, we are returning to the old practice of a barn raising: one person helping another.

Other farms in the area have also suffered damages due to the snow: Belkin lookout Farm in Natick, Jones Farm in Chelmsford and Sunshine Dairy Farm in Newbury, to name a few. As supporters of the local food movement, we have a responsibility to be supportive in whatever ways we can.

Natural disasters like this winter remind us that, despite our technological sophistication, we are still subject to the awesome power of Mother nature and that we are all in this together! i hope this Spring issue brightens the remaining days of winter for you all.

Ilene Bezahler