Local Resources for Local Food Systems
I have previously written about help from the federal government for small scale growers-and I will continue to cover this subject later. But it’s also important to emphasize that community organizations have emerged as an invaluable resource for local food systems. Regional food communities throughout Florida and the Carolinas have been responding to the coronavirus. In Tallahassee and South Florida, not for profit organizations have worked to respond to online food orders. In South Florida, the United Farmers Alliance has instituted a special relief effort to distribute farm fresh goods and restaurant donated goods to local income families and individuals financially burdened by Covid-19. United Farmers Alliance has partnered with the Farm Bureau to ensure that everyone, regardless of their income, has access to local food systems in this time of crisis. If you are interested in either donating or receiving food, please reach out to Justin Dunlap at firstname.lastname@example.org. Around Tallahassee, Red Hills Small Farm Alliance has seen an explosion in its online shopping platform due to coronavirus.
Around Tampa, Hillsborough County Extension is assisting the area’s producers impacted by market contractions. As restaurants close their doors disruptions caused by COVID-19, several growers are struggling to connect with consumers directly. This is the problem that Hillsborough County Extension is trying to tackle by creating a directory to connect producers and consumers. Interested consumers should click here, and interested producers should click here.
Along similar lines, the Carolina Farm Stewardship Program has compiled a map of farms offering on-line pickups and home delivery across North Carolina and South Carolina.
Finally, American Farmland Trust has established a farmer relief fund. Growers may receive cash grants from the fund up to $1,000 each to help them survive market disruptions wrought by the coronavirus. Grants are need-based-available to producers with annual gross revenue between $10,000 and $1 million from sales at farmers’ markets and direct sales to restaurants, schools, et cetera. If you may be eligible-be sure you apply by the deadline – April 23, 2020. The American Farmland Trust is also looking for donors. 100% of donations go directly to farmers in need. Donors can donate here.
During this time, it is important that we come together as local food communities. As I have previously blogged about, community food provides us with security, safety, and serenity. I will continue to identify resources to ensure the sustainability of local food.