Will our small farms survive the pandemic?
Published: August 8, 2020
Category: COVID-19 Pandemic Impacts, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter
Before COVID-19, the locavore, farm-to-table movement was thriving. But without restaurant markets, forced into retail sales, many small farmers are in trouble. A survey by Blue Hill Farms’ chef Dan Barber discovered that one-third of 500 farmers were in danger of closing.
“COVID has exposed [the] weakness of [the short, direct food chain],” he said. “You can’t shake the hand of a farmer anymore because you’ll get a virus.”
Chef Rob Mendoza, of Paris’ Le Saint-Sébastien restaurant, says French farmers are surviving better than American; restaurants are able to reopen, and the government provided farmer assistance. “The way that we choose who survives right now, is who we give our money to, who we support,” says Mendoza, who’s buying direct from his farmers and fishermen.
Barber’s Kitchen Farming Project invites cooks to create 12×15 foot gardens supplying restaurant fare, as a “reminder of what’s being lost.” He envisions a new food processing system, necessitating a cadre of harvesters and butchers.
Signs of change are visible—explosion of plant-based meats, a possible legislative phase-out of factory farms, more families growing/producing their own food.
“The way we eat has a fundamental impact on our health,” said Mark Kastel of OrganicEye, pointing to the U.S.’s cheap food and most expensive healthcare.
The pandemic may last, but if U.S. small farms close, consumers will be forced to support Big Ag again. Without them, the quality food won’t be available when we come out on the other side.
Source: Organic Authority
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