Ways to Support Local Food Systems During COVID-19
We here at Willamette Farm & Food Coalition want to reach out in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak to tell you that we remain committed to facilitating and supporting the development of a secure, sustainable, and inclusive food system in Lane County. We have been hard at work figuring out the role we can play in supporting the local food system. Communities across Oregon have been impacted by this pandemic, which presents serious challenges for vulnerable families, farmers, farmworkers, food business owners, and food service workers.
In the midst of uncertainty, social distancing, and restrictions on our day-to-day lives, WFFC continues to hold farmers at the center of all that we do. Here are some efforts we are taking to ensure that customers can access fresh, healthy, and sustainable food grown in the incredible Willamette valley:
We have loaned out our page on the online platform, Local Food Marketplace, to local community partners.
This software, normally used by WFFC for pre-ordering for Fill Your Pantry, allows customers to place orders online and then come pick them up on site, limiting crowds and allowing customers a quick and easy way to access goods. For the month of April, Food For Lane County is hosting pre-ordering for their Spring Plant Sale. Pre-ordering is open now through April 9th. Check out their inventory and get your spring garden started.
We have surveyed farmers and local food providers to gather information on pick-up, delivery, and CSA models that have been adapted to meet social distancing guidelines.
We have added addendum to the Locally Grown Guide with farms/farmers who are offering low-interaction opportunities to purchase locally grown goods. If you’re a farmer, please fill out this survey to have your information displayed on our website or to update information you’ve already submitted.
Our 2020 Locally Grown Guide has been released on schedule.
We are in close conversations with area farmers markets on how we can best support them in staying open and available to the public.
Looking to help?
Here are four ways you can continue to support secure, sustainable, and inclusive food systems in Lane County in this time of change:
BECOME A MONTHLY RECURRING DONOR TO WFFC. Your generosity of a tax-deductible monthly donation helps us to maintain programs, respond quickly to crises, and ensure the health and prosperity of your Lane County neighbors, including farmers, families, and small business owners. With restrictions on social gatherings, WFFC had to cancel our 2nd Annual Locally Grown Guide Release Party and Fundraiser. In this uncertain time, regular donations can keep programs supported.
ATTEND YOUR LOCAL FARMERS MARKETS AND BUY LOCAL. We are moving into the season of abundance, and many farmers and producers continue to grow nutritious, delicious food for YOU! When you visit the farmers market, maintain social distancing to ensure our local markets can remain open and serving farmers and consumers. In many cases, farmers markets are a safer alternative to enclosed grocery stores for accessing groceries. Review the precautions that Lane County Farmers Market is taking to keep customers and vendors safe and fed.
JOIN A CSA PROGRAM. Now is the perfect time to support farmers by subscribing to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. These programs provide consumers with a regular subscription to fresh produce (often delivered to a drop site near your home). In exchange, customers pay all or part of the cost up front. This extra income at the start of the season helps farmers purchase needed materials to plant and grow food all season long. Having a guaranteed customer base is vital for many farms right now. Many local CSAs have added an online store for consumers to purchase products from nearby farms and growers, as well as new delivery options for high-risk and housebound individuals. Check out the 2020 Locally Grown Guide and our addendum of adaptations for details on CSA programs near you.
CHECK OUT THE 2020 LOCALLY GROWN GUIDE on our site, along with an addendum that lists adapted efforts farmers are taking to deliver farm fresh products straight to you.