Who needs Instacart? Rural farmers expand food deliveries during coronavirus outbreakRecord ID: 1465749
- Title: Who needs Instacart? Rural farmers expand food deliveries during coronavirus outbreak
- Date: 25th March 2020
- Summary: ALEX, OKLAHOMA, UNITED STATES (MARCH 22, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF FARMER CARRIE CHLEBANOWSKI HARVESTING SPINACH (SOUNDBITE) (English) FARMER CARRIE CHLEBANOWSKI SAYING: "So we primarily sell through the farmer's market, normally and we have an immune-compromised child now and so we are choosing not to do the farmer's market. Instead, we're doing a full just direct porch delivery service through our online storefront that we've made public to the general public and then we're also doing an on-farm stand here that people can come through. We can control the numbers and they can get fresh veggies straight from the farm." CHLEBANOWSKI CARRYING SPINACH IN BOX INTO BARN VARIOUS OF CHLEBANOWSKI WASHING LETTUCE VARIOUS OF CHLEBANOWSKI PACKING AND LABELING LETTUCE FOR DELIVERY TO CUSTOMERS MOORE, OKLAHOMA, UNITED STATES (MARCH 22, 2020) (REUTERS) JOE CHLEBANOWSKI DELIVERING PRODUCE TO DOORSTEP OF CUSTOMER PRODUCE INSIDE CHLEBANOWSKI'S VEHICLE VARIOUS OF CHLEBANOWSKI MAKING DELIVERIES PAWNEE, OKLAHOMA, UNITED STATES (MARCH 22, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF FARMER CHAD WARD FEEDING CHICKENS VARIOUS OF CHICKENS (SOUNDBITE) (English) FARMER CHAD WARD SAYING: "You know, if this thing gets worse before it gets better, we want to be there for our communities and our neighbors with food for them. If the large supply chains break down, we're going to be here. And so that's the biggest thing we're trying to shift is we're moving more of our animals and our ground out of the bigger food system and into stuff we can do directly to people." ANIMALS AT FARM WARD DRIVING TRACTOR
- Keywords: COVID-19 coronavirus delivery farmers produce social distancing
- Reuters ID: LVA001C6JTKJR
- Location: ALEX, MOORE AND PAWNEE, OKLAHOMA, UNITED STATES
- City: ALEX, MOORE AND PAWNEE, OKLAHOMA, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Duration: 00:02:56
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: Farmers in rural America are expanding delivery services to meet rising demand from consumers seeking to isolate themselves during the coronavirus pandemic and frustrated by empty grocery-store shelves.
Food suppliers are being forced to adapt as the outbreak has shut restaurants, bars and schools and is sending shoppers looking for reliable sources of goods from meat to vegetables.
Many want to steer clear of grocery stores that have been picked over by shoppers, unnerved by the contagious respiratory virus.
Rural farmers said they have supplies and are seeing an uptick in demand for home deliveries in areas where grocery delivery services such as Instacart and Amazon.com's AmazonFresh are not widely available.
In Alex, Oklahoma, married farmers Carrie and Joe Chlebanowski began making "porch deliveries" on Sunday (March 22), after suspending sales at a weekly farmers market in Oklahoma City over health concerns. They delivered lettuce and other greens to about 16 customers and have also opened a stand at their farm.
"We have an immune-compromised child now and so we are choosing not to do the farmers market. Instead, we're doing a full just direct porch delivery service through our online storefront," Carrie Chlebanowski said.
More farmers are focusing on direct-to-consumer sales amid declining demand from local restaurants. The nation's biggest meat processors like Tyson Foods Inc have also scrambled to shift their supplies to grocery stores.
The pandemic could cost local and regional food systems, including farmers markets, $688.7 million in sales from March to May, according to researchers from Colorado State University and the University of Missouri. That could lead to a total economic loss of up to $1.3 billion, they said.
The Congressional Research Service estimated local food sales at $11.8 billion in 2017, with nearly 8% of U.S. farms and ranches participating.
Chad Ward, who raises chickens and crops near Pawnee, Oklahoma, said he has seen an explosion in demand for deliveries of eggs and produce. He is still making trips to the Oklahoma City farmers market, though home deliveries allow consumers to practice "social distancing."
"If this thing gets worse before it gets better, we want to be there for our communities and our neighbors with food for them. If the large supply chains break down, we're going to be here," Ward said.
(Production: Nick Oxford/Jane Ross)
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