5 Ways to help local farmers and food businesses during COVID-19 outbreak

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You bought a lifetime supply of toilet paper and shelf stable food, but how will you get fresh produce? Can your server at your favorite restaurant make rent? Will your neighborhood grocer survive this pandemic? Here are some ways you can support our local food system during the COVID-19 outbreak.

  1. Subscribe for weekly fresh produce through a local farm CSA. It will save you a trip to the grocery store or farmers market, guarantee you have a steady supply of farm fresh goods, and help stabilize farm income. If you live in metro Kansas City, check out KC Food Circle’s Food Circle’s CSA directory.  If you live elsewhere, check out the Local Harvest CSA locator.

  2. Continue to support the restaurants and food businesses you normally frequent with responsible purchases at the normal frequency. Surprised? Here’s how to do it: buy gift cards, and order carry out or delivery. You can share the cards with others or use them after the pandemic. If you don’t find the information you need to make purchases or orders online, call them; many small businesses are creating new policies and offering new services to cope with this crisis.

  3. Buy what you need for 2 to 3 weeks, not 6 months. Buying a whole lot more than normal might mean fewer trips for you, but it also means people with less cash have difficulty finding what they need each week and make more trips. That defeats the purpose, and strains retailers and, realistically, you’re probably going to decide you need some staple item next week and go to the store anyway. Buy a bit more than you usually would, not a lifetime supply.

  4. Donate to Harvesters-The Community Food Network (or your local food bank, which stocks pantries and soup kitchens), so that they can cope with the abrupt rise in food insecurity and hunger in our community caused by COVID-19. Food banks can purchase supplies at much lower cost than the rest of us, so give them the cash to do so. Donate and stay informed about Harvester’s response. Related: Visit FRAC.org to stay informed about policy responses to hunger and food insecurity impacts of COVID-19.

  5. Wash your hands and stay at home. Good hygiene and social distancing will mean that our healthcare system can cope and the economy recover more quickly. The people who grow, prepare and serve your food are often without paid sick leave, health insurance, and savings accounts that are crucial when facing serious illness. Your behavior can save their lives and those of their loved ones. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Put at least 3 feet between yourself and others. Stay at home as much as you can starting IMMEDIATELY.

BONUS Share what you know! These tips will help others too.

Photo: KC Healthy Kids partners with a local farm to offer a Community Supported Agriculture program to staff.

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