It’s been another long week this week. The number of COVID-19 cases and deaths continues to be both astonishing and heartbreaking, and we understand these figures are only going to rise. While social distancing practices seem poised to help, we understand there is a delay between rigorous distancing practices and shrinking case numbers. And so we do our best and hope for the best, working to ensure that independent sustainable farmers have the information, resources and support they need.
We’ve reached out to all of our AGW farmers and have spoken to most (if you haven’t connected and want to please get in touch). The results are mixed, with some farms doing well through online sales or delivery and others really struggling. Most are nervous about future. Many are making swift changes to marketing and business, and we’re helping wherever possible (please see our farmer resource page here).
We came to understand on Tuesday that despite promises in the CARES act, farms are being left out of critical support. Is this because our food system has become so opaque, so disconnected, that our farms were actually forgotten? While we don’t usually do policy, we jumped into this fight when we realized the near absence of people looking out for independent producers. While virtually every other small business has the ability to take out a $10,000 forgivable loan, farms are specifically excluded. They are left waiting with animals to feed and crops to plant, an economy in deep distress and very little hope for a turnaround. A Greener World will keep demanding action to give farmers the same consideration as other businesses (please sign our petition here if you haven’t), but we also encourage our farms to plan for a variety of scenarios.
Financial Support: While the policy fight above continues, there is other assistance for anyone in need. See below for information about available loans and grants:
New Video Series: We’ve been checking in with some of our friends on how they’re navigating the new world of COVID-19—including some great tips on online sales. We talk with Baldwin Beef, Central Grazing Company and Williamsburg Packing. Stay tuned for more as we check in with Master Blend Family Farms next (follow us on social media to see it first).
We are trying to get relevant information to you as quickly as possible, and hope this is helpful. Let us know how we can continue to support in these new and challenging times. Many of you have passed along resources that we’ve shared further—we can learn a lot from each other as we work together to navigate the road ahead.
With my best wishes for you and yours,