ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - As daily reminders ramp-up to practice healthy habits during the COVID-19 pandemic, those who provide the healthiest food possible must adapt to the changing landscape to stay afloat.
Farmers, food producers and farmers markets across Georgia are motivated now more than ever to increase public access to nutritious, immune-boosting food, but they will need help to plant, harvest, and shift to new models for selling and distributing their produce.
Georgia Organics, Food Well Alliance, Community Farmers Markets, Wholesome Wave Georgia, Global Growers Network, The Common Market Southeast and Atlanta Farmers Coalition have teamed up to create a way for people to support local food and the farmers who grow it.
It’s called “The Farmer Fund COVID-19 Emergency Relief Campaign.”
The participating organizations said seed funds have already begun to flow in from individuals and foundations, including the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, the Zeist Foundation and the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation.
“There’s no safer food than locally-grown food. It is urgently needed during this pandemic, but also for the resilience of our communities moving forward,” said Kim Karris, executive director of Atlanta nonprofit Food Well Alliance, a collaborative network of local food leaders that works to build thriving farms and gardens across metro Atlanta.
“We’ve got to keep growers growing through this crisis. The COVID-19 Farmer Fund brings our local food system leaders together to equip our farmers with resources to continue providing fresh, nutritious food for those who most need it.”
The special COVID-19 Farmer Fund campaign will not only assist farmers, but also farmers markets and other local food entities.
“It is imperative that access points to fresh, local food remain open, even as social distancing increases,” said Community Farmers Markets Executive Director Katie Hayes. “In an effort to further address the health, safety, and security of our community members, vendors, and staff, we’ve debuted ShopCFMATL.org, our online farmers market. Our five farmers market locations serve as weekly pick up spots.”
Other local food leaders are sharing logistical resources.
“We’re offering trucks, drivers and refrigeration,” said Common Market Executive Director Bill Green.
Global Growers Network has offered several walk-in coolers and a delivery van.
“For the past 10 years, we have partnered with more than 300 new American families who grow culturally relevant food for their families and local marketplaces,” said Global Growers Network Executive Director Robin Chanin. “If there’s one thing we’ve learned from this community of ex-refugees, it is how to be resilient in the face of adversity.”
To donate to “The Farmer Fund COVID-19 Emergency Relief Campaign,” click here.