Beth Walker of Bethel, Maine, is grateful for the way COVID restrictions paused her hectic life. With time to reflect on what was important to her, she focused on self-care and a dream she always had.
Before the first COVID case was reported in Maine, Beth’s employment working at Dicocoa’s Bakery & Café, as a Jackie of all Trades, ended. Because of the owner’s health history, the café closed early March 2020.
Beth applied for unemployment and found that she needed to tap into her background with the state legislature to move her claim forward. She messaged her rep for help to complete the process. With assistance from an aide, Beth navigated through the necessary steps to success. Her husband Frank, who is also a chef, wasn’t quite as lucky, and the process took 1 ½ months.
Survival on the farm wasn’t a problem for the Walkers. Beth and Frank had a supply of their own canned produce. When Dicocoa’s closed, the owner sent her employees home with food.
Beth said that her stress initially came from not seeing people. That stress evaporated as Beth and Frank found that they were thriving with the changes. Beth said lockdown gave them time to think about who they wanted to give their energy to. “You realize who your real and true friends are.”
Beth described their life before COVID, trapped in Bethel’s culture. Evenings with friends were spent socializing in town, going to the pub and drinking a lot. COVID removed the Walkers from Bethel’s alcohol-based food industry.
Beth said, “We were done with not feeling great.” She wants to use her time to be with people who spark interest. “When you find a group of people on the same path, that peer pressure is gone.”
Dicocoa’s was not able to offer her full-time again: Beth was unemployed form March through June. During the summer and fall, she worked at Pie Tree Orchard until it closed Nov. 4 as COVID spiked again.
COVID restrictions were freeing for the Walkers. Beth has more energy and ambition. Being healthy is part of her sustainable living goal. “My goal is to have a farmstand business. COVID was a God-saver for me and a kick in the pants.”
Beth had her moments of uncertainty and self-help talks. “I think you have to be conscious of your positivity. I can fall down that rabbit hole of, ‘Can I do it? Do I want to?’”
Beth and Frank are making a living, fulfilling a dream and thriving. The chefs are cooking and baking at home. Customers pick up on La Ferme’s screened-in porch. Whoopie pies, cinnamon rolls and chocolate chip cookies are weekend staples.