Farmers and food groups innovate to keep operations viable as the coronavirus spreads

As the spread of the coronavirus causes many cities to curtail public gatherings, farmers who sell directly to customers at farmers' markets and through CSAs are coming up with novel solutions at breakneck speed to keep their customers fed and their operations viable. For one farmer, a pool noodle is an essential part of the plan.(No paywall)

In North Carolina, pandemic prompts farmer cooperation

Even before he knew that city officials in Durham, North Carolina, would be suspending the local farmers’ market, George O’Neal was preparing for disruption. Last Saturday, he stood behind a table piled high with mustard greens and kale, holding a clipboard and taking names for what he hopes will become a model of coronavirus-era collaboration.(No paywall)

As coronavirus spreads, farmers fear market closures and lost income

Communities across the country are attempting to delay the spread of the novel coronavirus by canceling large events, closing schools, and banning large gatherings. But farmers who sell directly to consumers, through farmers' markets or other channels, are concerned about how their farms will survive if those outlets temporarily shutter.(No paywall)

Like local food, CSA is an elastic idea

Community supported agriculture (CSA) began as a year-long direct-marketing commitment between farmers and consumers. With local food in high demand, "on-line hubs are using sophisticated distribution technology to snap into the food chain, often using CSA to describe what they deliver," says the New York Times, some of it is neither local nor direct from the farm, such as olive oil or tropical fruit.

A collaborative CSA in Detroit

For growers and consumers, community supported agriculture is an attractive model, says Civil Eats — subscribers get a weekly allotment of fresh produce and farmers have an assured source of income. "But the boxes can be inconsistent" because they depend on what's in season at the farm, writes Chris Hardman.

USDA creates three new directories for local food sales

With 8,268 listings in the National Farmers Markets Directory, USDA is creating three new directories for local food marketing. The new catalogs will cover Community Supported Agriculture projects, food hubs and...