At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, farmers market advocates successfully argued for markets across the country to continue operating as essential businesses. Yet as the pandemic stretches into its third month, many markets face existential budget shortfalls as the public health emergency keeps shoppers home and raises their operating costs.(No paywall)
Cities and states across the country are pushing farmers' markets and grocery stores to enhance their public health measures after officials found some initial attempts at social distancing policies lacking. Yet grocery workers say that in order to effectively prevent the spread of coronavirus and keep themselves healthy, they need more protections and benefits. (No paywall)
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)
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)
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)
An Austin-based payments company whose pending shutdown last summer threatened the ability of thousands of farmers’ markets to accept food stamps has received a $2-million lifeline from Square, the financial technology company, reports Jane Black in FERN’s latest story, published in collaboration with The Washington Post. (No paywall)
Far more than farmer revenue is at stake in the threatened loss of SNAP sales at 40 percent of U.S. farmers markets, said the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition on Monday. "We believe that farmers’ ability to serve low-income families is not just important for their bottom line but also critical to genuinely healthy food systems," said the grassroots alliance in calling for a long-term solution that assures food stamp recipients can use their EBT cards to buy fresh foods at farmers markets.
California offers an example of how to avoid the electronic equipment snarl that threatens SNAP sales at 40 percent of farmers markets across the nation, says The New Food Economy. "Their method? Creating a system partially, if not fully independent of the federal system."
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to ensure farmers markets can continue accepting SNAP benefits through the end of the market season relies on funding from a controversial federal program that rewards states for implementing SNAP with low error rates—and that lawmakers may eliminate in the next farm bill. (No paywall)
Food stamp recipients in New York State will be able to use EBT cards, without interruption, at farmers markets throughout New York for the rest of the market season, announced Gov. Andrew Cuomo.