One Year On…

March 2021

As I sat down to write this March 2021 column, out of interest, I looked back at what I wrote in March 2020, when the global pandemic was declared. With the plucky title, “Better Luck Next Time,” I concluded my remarks with, “All I can hope is, when I write this column a month from now, the world will have changed again–this time for the better.” One YEAR later, that short runway for normalcy seems laughable.

As we pass the anniversary of the pandemic, there are signs of hope. As vaccinations become more widespread, work-wise, we allow ourselves to dream of in-person meetings, lunches and dinners with colleagues, conferences and trade shows, and tastings. But alas, we’re not quite there. Although June once seemed like a reasonable timeframe to host a gathering, we find we must pivot to virtual with our ASEV-NGRA Precision Viticulture Symposium. It’ll still be great! It’ll just be online.

We’ve learned that much of what we traveled to attend could be accomplished by phone or Zoom. Even proceedings as weighty and important as the relevance reviews for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, which I had the honor of leading this month, proceeded digitally. We’ve achieved a lot in our safe, separate spaces. But there’s a certain magic in meeting. I look forward to getting some of that magic back, and rebuilding those personal, in-person connections that made our industry seem both small and large in just the right ways.

One year on, the world certainly has changed. Has it changed for the better? In some ways, maybe. Better luck next year? Let’s hope!

Donnell Brown
NGRA President