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It's in times of crisis that we recognize what truly is essential - food farms farmers
It's in times of crisis that we recognize what truly is essential (local food, family farms, community) as well as who among us is most vulnerable, with food industry workers, immigrants and historically underserved farmers likely to be hit hardest by the economic crisis. Photos: FARM MARKET PICS: facebook.com/SonomaCountyFarmBureaU, CSA - FARM VIEW: singingfrogsfarm.com/our-farming-model.html

CAFF on Farmers Markets and Farming
During COVID-19

How Can Consumers Help?

Mar 20, 2020

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By Evan Wiig / Kali Feiereisel, CAFF

HOW CAN CONSUMERS HELP?

Food industry workers, immigrants and historically underserved farmers likely to be hit hardest by the economic crisis. brought on by COVID-19. Image: caff.orgMost cities and counties in California have deemed farmers markets as “essential services.

With the COVID-19 outbreak spreading and shelter-in-place orders coming down across the state, we at CAFF are working hard to keep our local food system running strong, our family farmers in business and our communities safe and healthy. It's in times of crisis that we recognize what truly is essential (local food, family farms, community) as well as who among us is most vulnerable, with food industry workers, immigrants and historically underserved farmers likely to be hit hardest by the economic crisis. 

 






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

Farmers markets have been declared  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? From joining a CSA  to ordering direct from farms online to making sure our most vulnerable have food, we've compileda few tips. Share them with your community!




  • 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.

  • Farm Trails is keeping CSAs Accepting Sign-Ups list updated check their website.CSAs-COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE:Shelter-in-Place Response via Farm Trails: CSAs Accepting Sign-Ups: The following farms are currently accepting CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) sign-ups. Please contact them directly to place your orders: https://www.farmtrails.org/shelter-in-place-food-resources/csa-sign-ups/

  • 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. 

 

Wd have to protect our food and the workers who provide. image : caff.orgFARMERS MARKETS, COVID & SHELTER-IN-PLACE

With “shelter-in-place” orders multiplying, residents are being asked to stay at home and limit all but essential business operations. Thanks to recent advocacy, farmers markets have been deemed “essential” (just like grocery stores) in several cities and counties. Check the orders from your local government to determine whether your markets has as well. If not, please contact CAFF here. 

But while many markets remain open, there are some important guidelines and best practices you should know about before heading to market.

CORONAVIRUS & CA FARMERS MARKETS

As the full affects of Covid-19 continue unfolding, we at CAFF are watching closely to find out how this pandemic will impact California family farmers as well as farmers markets. However, one thing is clear: now more than ever, farmers markets are an essential public service that must remain open to keep providing locally-grown food, health and resilience to our communities. 

What to know about Farmers Markets now:​

With several cities and counties across California declaring “shelter-in-place” orders, residents are being asked to stay in their homes and limit all but essential business operations. Thanks to recent advocacy, farmers markets have been deemed “essential” (alongside grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.) in places such as San Francisco and Los Angeles. Check the orders from your local government to determine whether markets in your neighborhood have likewise been correctly categorized as “essential” and if not, please contact CAFF here. 

Counties declaring Farmers Markets as “essential” businesses, as of 3/17/20:

  • San Francisco
  • Alameda
  • Contra Costa
  • San Francisco
  • San Mateo
  • Santa Clara
  • Monterrey
  • Marin
  • Sonoma

Farmers Market Best Practices:

As a best practice during Covid-19 Limit the number of customers at any given time as necessary to reduce outdoor/indoor crowding and lines to meet social distancing guidance. Images: caff.org

  • Space booths accordingly to increase social distancing among patrons in line and walking about the market.

  • Ensure that social distancing of six feet per person for non-family members is maintained and make clear that family members can participate in activities together, stand in line together, etc.

  • Limit the number of customers at any given time as necessary to reduce outdoor/indoor crowding and lines to meet social distancing guidance.

  • Eliminate events/marketing that target individuals that CDPH has identified as higher risk of serious illness for COVID-19.

  • Encourage activities such as pre-bagging to expedite purchasing.

  • Suspend sampling activities.
  • Increase frequency of cleaning of tables, payment devices, and other surfaces.

  • Eliminate non-essential/non-related services, such as bands or other entertainment.

SOURCE: California Department of Food & Agriculture, Office of Public Affairs. Posted March 16, 2020.

The full guidance is available here.

https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/COVID-19/Coronavirus%20Disease%202019%20and%20Food%20Beverage%20Other%20Services%20-%20AOL.pdf

 


INFORMATION AND RESOURCES FOR FARMERS

SMALL BUSINESS IMPACT & ASSISTANCE

As food businesses shutter and cafeterias sit empty, many small businesses face economic hardship while employees lose much-needed work. The U.S. Small Business Administration is now offering low-interest federal disaster loans to CA small businesses suffering substantial economic injury. Meanwhile, California is also offering aid to affected workers, such as emergency unemployment.

BUSINESS AID: English / Español

WORKER AID: English / Español

Farm and business owners, please review  THIS GUIDANCE  from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention on keeping your farm and crew safe.

BUYER / SELLER SUPPORT FROM CAFF

Are you in need of support to help sell, buy, or otherwise distribute local food in California as a result of impacts caused by COVID-19? For those who've lost vital sales accounts or are struggling to meet demand, please fill out our online form and someone from CAFF will try to help make connections. SING UP FOR SUPPORT

ON-FARM FOOD SAFETY DURING COVID-19

What does the COVID-19 virus mean for on-farm food safety? Check out the newest blog post from CAFF's Food Safety specialist, providing some tangible information to help answer your questions about the risks of this pandemic at the farm level.Read more: 

SELLING ONLINE & CSA DURING COVID-19

Despite the chaos, right now there is a huge surge of interest in online ordering, home delivery and CSAs featuring healthy, local food. If you're curious about new models to help you better connect you with customers, especially if you've lost traditional sales accounts because of the crisis, check out these tips, resources and tools that we at CAFF have compiled to broaden your reach while keeping our local communities safe, fed and healthy.Read more

 

 

 

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