In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, many farmers are being forced to reconsider their sales outlets. While there may be no shortage of food and certainly no shortage of demand (in fact, people are stocking up now more than ever before), the California food system landscape is shifting dramatically. For farmers who once relied on restaurants, school and company cafeterias, distributors, and in a few cases even farmers markets which have recently shut down, it might be time to consider new models–models that are in fact flourishing in the wake of this crisis, rising to meet the needs of our local communities to stay fed, healthy and at a safe distance. 

These business models include online sales, CSAs, on-farm pickup and delivery. For decades, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) models have allowed consumers to purchase a “share” from a local farm, receiving a box of seasonal goods regularly throughout the season. Today, online sales and marketing tools have expanded their reach and opened up even more ways to connect and sell direct to the consumer. 

During the first few weeks of the coronavirus outbreak here in California, the need for local, family farms to rise to the occasion became clear, with big box grocery stores struggling to keep shelves filled while existing CSA’s and online farm orders spiked to unprecedented levels. Your community wants safe, healthy, locally-grown food, now more than ever. We at CAFF have compiled a number of resources to help you connect with your customers through CSA or online sales systems, even during this crisis.

Local resilience means local food.

Photo by Kelsey Murphey