The following text was pulled from an email alert sent to Buy Fresh Buy Local farms in the Piedmont region by PEC staffer Matt Coyle.
Dear Buy Fresh Buy Local Partner,
Hi there! My name is Matt Coyle and I am writing to introduce myself as The Piedmont Environmental Council’s new Buy Fresh Buy Local coordinator (my amazing predecessor, Jess Palmer, moved back home to Texas last year).
I know that in all likelihood you are dealing with Covid-19 and the rapidly evolving response. However, I do want to give you a few updates and share some online resources that might be helpful during this difficult time.
Quick Chapter Update
- Our Buy Fresh Buy Local guides were printed last spring as a 2019-2020 publication, so they are still in circulation:
- As a reminder, in 2019 we moved our Buy Fresh Buy Local database into Virginia MarketMaker. So if you’d like to make updates to your online listing, login here. If you run into trouble, let me know! We will be learning the new system together.
- Stay tuned for a new and improved chapter website later this spring/early summer.
Dealing with Covid-19
The current state of emergency is impacting everyone I know in the local food community. And I will be reaching out to partners throughout the state, like Virginia Cooperative Extension, to find out ways PEC’s Buy Fresh Buy Local program can be most helpful at this time.
There are discussions underway with various local philanthropic food funders networks towards the creation of a pool of resources to ensure that high quality local foods are provided to the neediest in our communities, and that the vibrant network of local producers does not unduly suffer through the disruptions the Covid-19 pandemic will create. One of the best ways to ensure that you have access to these plans and opportunities as they develop would be to update and maintain your profile and supporting information.
In addition, I am very interested in hearing how your business is dealing with the current situation. What are your immediate concerns and needs? Have your hours and operations changed? Are you selling e-gift certificates and cards? Offering delivery and pick-up orders? Etc…
Emergency Feeding – Assets and Needs Assessment
This shared spreadsheet, started by food system advocates in the Delmarva region, is intended to keep track of parties in the region who are working to respond to this crisis. Consider adding your name to the list, or sharing it with others who might be interested. It is broken into sections by geography:
- Northern Virginia – For those in Loudoun, Fairfax, Arlington, and Prince William
- Northern Piedmont – This those in Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, Orange and Rappahannock
- Greater Charlottesville – For those in Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson Counties
Other Online Resources:
- Covid-19 Resources For Food & Beverage Businesses and Restaurant Workers
- The Restaurant Workers Community Foundation relief and resources.
- USBG Foundation bartender emergency assistance and resources.
- National Young Farmer Coalition COVID-19 Response Page.
- Various Crisis Hotlines
Policy Ideas and Initiatives:
- Institute for Local Self Reliance (ISLR) Recs to the Federal Govt to Support Small Businesses through the Crisis, and Local and State initiatives.
- National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) Response to COVID-19
- NYC Hospitality Alliance’s 12-point Mitigation and Support Plan.
- Harvard’s Actions for Congress and USDA to Support Local and Regional Food Systems During COVID-19
Online Sales Platforms:
- LocalLine, Harvie, Barn2Door, Local Food Marketplace, Food4All, Open Food Network.
- Local Line released an e-guide, titled, “The Direct Farmer’s Guide to COVID-19” to help farmers quickly set up and effectively use an online storefront.
Please let me know of other resources worth sharing. And if you have ideas about ways that I can be of assistance over the coming weeks and months, please don’t hesitate to call or email and let me know.
Lastly, I just want to say thank you for all that you do every single day to feed our communities. Farmers are the lifeblood of our economy and we are forever grateful.
“Agriculture is the greatest and fundamentally the most important of our industries. The cities are but the branches of the tree of national life, the roots of which go deeply into the land. We all flourish or decline with the farmer.” — Bernard Baruch
The Piedmont Environmental Council