No organization could have possibly prepared for the COVID-19 epidemic in a way that they would experience no losses. With shelves laid barren at local grocery stores, seeking refuge in community supported agriculture is the most accessible, ethical, and sustainable way to source groceries right now...
Since the coronavirus outbreak, Whole Foods has been a warzone for people seeking groceries. Every day, wealthy and ignorant shoppers flock to Whole Foods to stock up on "essentials." However, when individuals consider 50 bags of frozen mango slices, 100 rolls of toilet paper, 50 pounds of ground beef, 20 bottles of wine, and enough MCT oil to drown an elephant "essential," we, as a society, experience major grocery shortages.
That is what's going on right now.
Since the restaurant industry shuttered last month, farmers and produce suppliers have been forced to dial back production and trash entire harvests. Stores aren't buying from them, and the restaurants they formerly supplied to are closed until further notice.
As a society that has become obsessed with food quality (mostly through mainstream media as a method to upsell factory-farmed goods), it seems like we've lost track of what good, healthy, sustainable food really looks like.
Enter, community-supported agriculture.
A CSA is a direct-trade partnership with a local farmer (or many different farmers) without having to purchase their goods from a market or grocery store. CSA's help stimulate local economies, and they bring whole, organic, sustainable foods to places that wouldn't otherwise have access to them.
In order to organize a CSA partnership, you must pay a sum of cash upfront as an investment. Essentially, you're purchasing equity in your local farming economy. This lump sum provides a safety net for the already hurting independent farming industry, and with your cash investment, you will receive farm-fresh produce, meat, dairy, and handmade goods back.
If you truly care about supporting independent farmers and you want to see your local restaurant economy return strong after the shelter in place orders are lifted, please consider pursuing a CSA partnership.
Here are some resources that can help you get started on finding local farmers to support:
https://www.localharvest.org - this is a farmer-managed database to locate CSA's and farmer's markets near you.
https://www.ams.usda.gov/local-food-directories/csas - this is the USDA's official directory of CSA's for every state.
https://localrootsnyc.com/ - if you're in the NYC area, this subscription service links you directly to farmers depending on your needs. You can purchase one comprehensive CSA through numerous farms that functions like a mutual fund.