There are a lot of scary stories in the news right now, and it’s tempting to get lost in the negativity. But in trying times – perhaps especially in trying times – we also get the chance to see the best of humanity. It’s truly amazing to see how people come together and help their neighbors and community in creative ways.
We’ve heard inspiring stories of people leaving incredibly generous tips to help servers, celebrities streaming virtual concerts to boost morale and people taking to the web to offer free classes to students at home, to name a few. But these aren’t the only sectors with generosity and creativity shining through during this COVID-19 outbreak – the farming community is doing its part to help out. Here are some stellar examples.
1. North Carolina farmers create an emergency CSA
In Durham, North Carolina, farmer George O’Neal saw an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: get fresh food to the people who want it and connect farmers with customers in their busiest selling season. Even before the city’s farmers market temporarily closed, O’Neal was springing into action. He reached out to other nearby farms to create an emergency CSA, with fresh food available for weekly pickup at a central location. The boxes contain a week’s worth of seasonal veggies for $25, and there are even subsidized options for families who can’t afford it.
See more: What is a CSA?
2. Dairy farmers are finally catching a break
For a commodity that’s been in decline due to health fads and the rise of alternative milks, the COVID-19 outbreak has a bit of a silver lining for dairy farmers: milk sales are up. Eggs and yogurt are also selling like wildfire, too. According to New Mexico dairy farmer Erica DeSmet, “Business has been busy, very busy. What I normally sell in a week, I’ve sold in about a day.” With restaurants closing and more people cooking and eating at home, milk is a staple that dairies across the nation are eager to provide.
3. Arizona farm offers free childcare and meals
Based in Gilbert, Arizona, Mother Nature’s Farm spans 47 acres, ten of which are designated for activities. They are opening their farm to children of families that have been affected by COVID-19 closures, offering space and room to run and play, with adult supervision. This is a godsend for parents who might have otherwise had to leave them at home alone or in more crowded spaces. A local Sonic committed to providing lunches for the children, while others throughout the community donated toys, cleaning supplies and more.
4. California farm delivers CSA boxes right to the door
On the west coast, Oceanside-based farmer Donal Yasukochi of Yasukochi Family Farms was already doing pretty well with his CSA boxes that he delivered to North County customers. Accounting for the increase in demand, Yasukochi started to accept orders from neighboring San Diego county, and the phones have been ringing off the hook – so much so that he had to limit the orders to 500 a day! His 15 employees are out delivering CSA boxes across the county every day, supplying residents of both counties with a healthy amount of fresh produce.
5. Farmers market uses social media to share ideas and resources
The Nashville Farmers Market took to Instagram with a query to all of its followers, asking for homeschool ideas and offering a few of their own. Examples included baking a pie, planting a garden and more. Once enough people have shared their own ideas, Nashville Farmers Market plans to share the best suggestions on its blog, which is sure to be a helpful resource for parents in Tennessee and beyond who are trying to keep their kids entertained – and educated – while they’re out of school.
6. Florida’s drive-through grocery store chain is hopping
With 34 locations throughout Miami, Farm Stores didn’t have to change its business model when coronavirus hit – in fact, they were ahead of the curve. They’ve been a drive-through convenience store since 1957, and they sell their own brand of milk, eggs and ice cream, among other products. A drive-through grocery run is a safer option for the masses right now, so kudos to this business that is continuing to serve the community with this much-needed shopping method.
7. Mississippi’s farmers are still farming
The Mississippi Farm Bureau posted a video of farmers across the state sharing their reasons why they’re still farming. It’s clear from watching these encouraging clips that these farmers are proud of what they do and recognize the great service and value they provide by feeding America. The Mississippi Farm Bureau‘s Instagram post encouraged farmers to send in their own short videos, which will be shared to spread hope and confidence in these uncertain times.
See more: Meet a Mississippi Poultry Farmer
8. College offers virtual tours to prospective ag students
Auburn University’s College of Agriculture recognizes that even though people are staying at home and self-quarantining, there are incoming and prospective students who have decisions to make about which school to attend. Under normal circumstances, these students would be able to take a physical tour of the campus and take a look at the facilities. Even though students can’t travel to campus, Auburn Ag is determined to bring the campus to students – via online virtual tours. Future students will be able to see specific research and teaching units, like the equine unit, to really get a sense of all that the college has to offer.
9. University publishes extensive guide to help farmers navigate COVID-19
These are unprecedented times, and every industry is scrambling to make adjustments. Luckily, Indiana‘s Purdue University put together a very thorough guide for farmers who are facing challenges like the closing of farmers markets, restaurant closures and other market demands. The guide provides ideas and resources to help farmers change their business models as needed, reach their customer base while staying safe and healthy, and continue to generate income. In times like these, it’s wonderful to see the sharing of resources and encouragement. No one is alone, and there are people and organizations that want to help.