COVID-19 and Local Foods: Seminar to Review Collaborative Farm Product Distribution Models

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VegetablesThe COVID-19 pandemic has focused public attention on our food supply chain. While some bottlenecks have developed, experts are not predicting a collapse. Nevertheless, consumer concerns about local foods access come at time when the primary local outlet for local fresh food – the farmers market – is under strain from necessary social distancing guidelines. For farmers, losing this critical sales channel can prove devastating, and many are without sufficient rural internet connectivity to develop alternate e-commerce outlets.

Meeting these challenges raises the opportunity for farmers to be working together. Over the past decade, several aggregation and distribution models have developed to meet consumer demand for local foods in outlets apart from traditional farmers markets. With the present challenges of Covid-19, this is good time to take a closer look at these models and hear their development stories and lessons learned over the years.

To that end, N.C. Cooperative Extension’s Local Food Program Team is putting together two webinars, each focused on how local farmers are working together to meet this growing call for local food.

Register online

Topic: Collaborative Farming/Multifarm Direct to Consumer Marketing
Time: Apr 27, 2020, 7 p.m. Eastern Time (US and Canada)
The first webinar, to be held on April 27, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., will highlight collaborative efforts of farmers that are not tied to a food hub. Panelists will include representatives of Vacationer Supported Agriculture, Piedmont Progressive Farmers Group, and Carolina Common Enterprise.
The second webinar, to be held on April 30, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., will highlight food hub efforts to link consumers with local food. Panelists will include representatives of High County Food Hub, TRACTOR, Feast Down East, and Sandhills Farm to Table.
Each webinar will include a brief presentation on collaborative farming by Becky Bowen, J.D., NC State Extension, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Andrew Branan, J.D., NC State Extension. Dr. Chyi Lyi Liang, Cooperative Extension Program at N.C. A&T, will provide a handy resource sheet to all who attend.
Both webinars will be recorded. Registration by agents in the Extension Learning Management System will be available soon.
Hope to see you there.