What Can Consumers Do During the COVID-19 Crisis to Support Family Farms & Our Local Food System?

While confusion abounds during this ever-developing COVID-19 crisis, one thing is clear: a strong, healthy, local food system is absolutely essential during times like these. So what can consumers do right now to help assure that our family farms stay in business and the many people who comprise of our shared food system can weather this storm? 

Photo by Kelsey Murphey
  • Shop at Your Farmers Market. Most cities and counties in California have deemed farmers markets as “essential services,” allowing them to continue operation. Locally-grown, direct from a single source and sold in the open air, not only do are helping your local economy, you’re reducing risk. But for now, don’t mingle as usual. Get in, get your groceries, get out. 
  • Join a CSA. Just like farmers markets, joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shortens the distance between you and the field, all while supporting family farms in your community. These box subscriptions (many of which deliver or have convenient pick-up locations) offer a regular supply of seasonal farm products to help keep you healthy.
  • Order from a Farm Online: Some farmers and ranchers are embracing e-commerce, setting up online stores so you can purchase direct. This option provides the convenience and safe distance that  bigger online retailers do, but still allows you to support your food values. Check the websites of farmers in your community to see if they offer this service.
  • Shop Locally. Can’t find everything you need direct from the farm? Most grocery stores are open for business. Consider supporting a local food coop or locally-owned grocery store that partners with local farms, ranches and food makers. A strong local economy will be vital in the months ahead as we face economic turmoil. 
  • Avoid WIC labeled products (if you are not a WIC recipient). People who receive WIC (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women Infants & Children) can only use their benefits on certain items, brands and products. Given the panic-purchasing of late, avoid depleting the shelves of these essential items for of us who rely on it. In most grocery stores, these items are marked.
  • Volunteer: As our communities respond to food-related challenges during COVID-19, many organizations are finding themselves short-staffed, with those ordered to take the greatest precaution (the elderly) often the most reliable volunteers. Activities might include packing boxes of food at food bank warehouses or delivering meals for homebound older adults. Check in with local food charities or volunteer centers to learn more. 

5 Responses

  1. Lisa Saslove

    Do you have a list of local farms in the area
    where people can buy on line and either pick up
    or get items delivered if they cant afford to subscribe
    to a CSA share OR do not need that much food at one time
    and therefore would waste valuable resources by buying
    a share?

    IF so please let me know and I will post on social media
    to help spread the word.

  2. Stephanie Hiller

    Only a few resources at Farm Trails. I’m looking for a CSA in Sonoma Valley. Any clues?

  3. Carla

    We need help partnering with Farms!

    The mission of HOMEY is to transform the lives of high-risk youth and inspire them to choose a path of education, self-sufficiency, and non-violence and strive towards physical, mental and emotional health. During the global CoronaVirus Pandemic, HOMEY is adapting to focus on essential services in-line with our mission to directly support youth, their families, and elders.

    HOMEY has chosen to pivot our services to become an essential link between our local farms to communities who need fresh and healthy food the most. We hope that providing this link will also support our farmers and farmworkers who are on the front-line of community survival.

    We are aiming to provide 100 boxes of fresh food to families in our membership network (25 boxes a week or 50 boxes every other week). HOMEY can provide:

    Pick up directly from farms, farmers markets, or other locations
    Drop off directly to youth, families, and elders
    If needed, we can provide a food drop-off location at HOMEY in the Mission District of San Francisco

    HOMEY is looking to build partnerships with local farms to support our farms, farmers, and families. Health outcomes in the midst of the CoronaVirus outbreak will continue to disproportionately affect communities of color, where access to fresh and healthy food is already scarce. We are open to suggestions about how to roll out a process for linking farm fresh food to our families.

    We look forward to hearing from you!

    Please Contact:
    Carla Wojczuk
    HOMEY is a 501c3