Farmers markets go virtual

In addition to chefs, servers, dishwashers and other employees, farmers are caught up in the closure of restaurants across the US. Many small farmers sell directly to restaurants in addition to running CSAs or particpating in farmers markets. Due to social distancing concerns, some farmers markets are going virtual, offering direct to consumer shipments of produce, grass-fed beef, and free-range eggs and poultry.

In addition to home delivery, some areas are experimenting with urban farm pickups, delivery apps, and drive-through farmers markets in an effort to aid both farmers and consumers. Some farmers worry that they won’t be able to make it even with these efforts. Spring planting season is either starting or about to start for many of these small producers. They are left wondering if they should find funds to put in a crop or just walk away.

In addition to the direct costs of seeds, fuel, and other inputs, farmers worry that they won’t be able to find the help they need this summer when harvest time rolls around. Urban pickups and home delivery take some of the sting out of the closure of farmers markets. Laurell Sims, cofounder and co-CEO of Urban Growers Collective, remains optimistic. “This (pandemic) has lit a fire under us, because we need food. We’ve shifted even more into production mode…We’re trying to keep people fed and keep the business sustainable. That’s the need.”

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  • hillsboroks  on  March 28, 2020

    We just signed up for a CSA box from our favorite farmers from the farmers’ market. We figured that this summer’s farmers’ markets might be iffy so to make sure we had access to high quality veggies and to help our farmer friends we signed up and talked some of our neighbors into signing up as well. Luckily they also have a farm stand open several days a week now and are located only a couple of miles from us so we can take turns picking up the boxes for the three families each week.

  • MarciK  on  March 29, 2020

    We are still subject to the ground freezing here, and even when the farmer’s market opens mid-May, we mostly have just flowers. I’m hoping farms will fair well through this in my state.

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