By Lydia Irons NOFA/Mass Public Relations Coordinator
The world has dramatically shifted in the past month. A tiny virus has changed everything. COVID-19 went from being the butt of social media jokes about the CDC overreacting, to causing multiple states to call for “shelter in place” or, as in our state, “stay at home” orders. This time of quarantine has left all of us reeling and feeling isolated in what feels like just moments. And the food system has taken a particularly hard hit.
Like the way an avalanche begins with a tiny rumble, then overtakes the landscape to leave only what can hunker down and hang on for dear life, this virus has leveled our country’s way of selling and buying food down to barren grocery store shelves and a supply chain stretched to its limit.
But, just how an avalanche fosters landscape diversity and creates new and different habitats in its wake, the COVID-19 crisis has mobilized us at NOFA/Mass to make sure that farmers are able to get their products to the people who want them and that consumers have the resources to find farm fresh food. Our best resource for finding fresh organic food is The Organic Food Guide.
The Organic Food Guide (OFG) is a directory of farms and businesses throughout Massachusetts that raise and/or sell certified organic and sustainably grown products. This website is easy to use; just put in your zip code and a map shows you all of the farms, markets and farm stands within striking distance.
This virtual food hub can help YOU to find farms or markets in your area, or help other people find your farm. As many farms are working on lightning fast pivots for how they provide food to the local community, we are also working to update the listings on the OFG. If you are a farmer that has decided to deliver food, offer contactless pickups, or have changed your prices in light of the coronavirus pandemic, contact us and we will update or add your farm to the guide. (Email firstname.lastname@example.org to have our limited time farm offerings featured on social media page, or email email@example.com for help logging in to your listing on theorganicfoodguide.org to adjust your farm’s free page.)
If you are a consumer, now is the time to really put your money into your local food economy for farmers who may be struggling to make their bottom line.
Not being able to sell to restaurants or other typical channels should not mean that farmers and consumers can’t find each other! The Organic Food Guide has always been an amazing resource for people to use and now, in this time of crisis, it is even more vital to keep all of us connected and supporting our local food economy. Check it out today at theorganicfoodguide.org.
For more resources to help navigate the impacts of COVID-19 on the food and farm sector in Massachusetts, visit our resource page at http://www.testmass.dreamhosters.com/resources/covid19-updates-and-resources