Instead of taking their lettuce to a weekly farmers’ market in Oklahoma, Carrie and Joe Chlebanowski are now delivering their product straight to customers doorsteps... With no face-to-face interaction.
It’s how many farmers in rural areas are adapting their businesses in light of public health concerns due to the coronavirus spread.
Farmer, Carrie Chlebanowski:
(SOUNDBITE) (English) FARMER CARRIE CHLEBANOWSKI SAYING:
"So we primarily sell through the farmer's market, normally… and we have an immune-compromised child now and so we are choosing not to do the farmer's market. Instead, we're doing a full just direct porch delivery service through our online storefront that we've made public to the general public and then we're also doing an on-farm stand here that people can come through. We can control the numbers and they can get fresh veggies straight from the farm.”
And customers want to get those fresh vegetables easily, especially in rural areas where grocery store delivery services like AmazonFresh are not widely available.
Chad Ward - who raises chickens and crops in Oklahoma - says he too has seen a demand for home deliveries as his customers practice social distancing.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) FARMER CHAD WARD SAYING:
"You know, if this thing gets worse before it gets better, we want to be there for our communities and our neighbors with food for them. If the large supply chains break down, we're going to be here.”
But hand-delivering products won’t help the larger supply chains…
According to researchers, the pandemic could cost local and regional food systems, including farmers markets, $688.7 million in lost sales from March to May.