WHERE DOES THE EXTRA FOOD GO?
As America fights off the coronavirus in many states, you may have noticed that restaurants are closed for dining in. Many people are resorting to take-out during this time, but despite this effort, many eateries are selling less food – and needing less produce from local farms. Additionally, people are trying to do less grocery shopping to distance themselves from others, resorting to purchases of shelf-stable food. But what happens to this extra produce when the restaurant or grocery store doesn’t need it? There are a variety of systems being set up to ensure that as little of this food as possible goes to waste. One of the most popular options is donating produce to food banks. The Santa Fe New Mexican describes the Farm to Foodbank initiative. As the article details, this program “provides farmers monetary assistance and supplies needed to continue production this season in exchange for fresh, organic produce that can be donated to food pantries and depots across the state. Ultimately, the idea, organizers say, is to offset damage done to food growers and distributors at a time when their services are needed most.” This option has several perks, the main ones being that farmers receive financial assistance while hungry New Mexicans can benefit from their bounty. Other systems to use food that restaurants and stores aren’t using right now are community supported agriculture, or CSAs. In a CSA, consumers sign up to receive parcels of food from producers. Some farms are setting these up as a way to earn something during this challenging time. Listen to agriculture leaders in your community and identify ways you can support them. Their livelihood might seriously be compromised at the moment, but with our help, those who keep us healthy and fed can feel supported.