Right now, local farmers are a source of hope. Local farms are critical in ensuring that we have a resilient food system that can weather challenging and turbulent times. With fewer people going out to grocery stores and healthcare professionals stressing the importance of boosting our immune systems and eating a healthy diet, many consumers are creating connections with farms in their area to access local, nourishing food.
The income of many small farmers depends on their direct sales to markets and restaurants. However, with restaurants closed for anything but carryout and sales down, small farms are in need of support more than ever. As a way to show our appreciation to those who continue to provide an essential service to our communities in uncertain times, we must do what we can to help our farming community weather this challenging storm.
Continue to support farmers. If you haven’t done so already, sign up for a CSA. Many farmers are also expanding the way they connect with consumers by adding at-home delivery options through online ordering platforms. You can use this directory to find the market closest to you.
Friendly Tip #1: Please be respectful of the farmers in your community. Don’t plan a farm visit without checking with the farmer first. This is an uncertain time and while unannounced visitors might normally be welcome, it’s best to give folks a heads up.
Stop by a farmers’ market. Open-air farmers’ markets have been deemed essential operations during this time and are vital in providing consumers with the opportunity to purchase sustainable, nutritious food. They allow customers to develop relationships with the farmers that are feeding them, while serving as important economic pillars of our local economy.
Friendly Tip #2: While food isn’t a shown way to transmit the virus, we still want you to be mindful of ways in which you can stay healthy, and protect others, when supporting your local farmers. Check out this guide for tips.
Don’t forget about local food businesses! Support community restaurants that serve locally-sourced food by ordering take out and buying gift cards to use later. Many restaurants are also adding a delivery option, so check out the website of your favorite neighborhood spot to see how you might be able to support them during this time.
Help initiatives that are getting healthy food to those most impacted by this crisis. Feed Anne Arundel is helping restaurants stay afloat while providing delicious and healthy meals for those in need. The Maryland Food Bank is in need of volunteers, if you don’t think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, aren’t taking care of someone in a vulnerable population, and don’t have a medical condition that puts you at risk, consider helping out.
Time to take up gardening! With all of this extra free time, now might be the perfect opportunity to get that garden going. Gardens not only provide increased food security, but they’re a fun excuse to get your hands dirty. Plus! It’s been proven that playing in the soil can boost your immune system.
Advocate for policies that protect farmers. Take this action organized by the Food Chain Workers Alliance to support food workers in COVID-19 recovery.
Fair Farms is also working hard to figure out how we can best support our local, sustainable farming community at this time. Check back in for updates on policy and/or for actions you can take to help!