In recent years, the Buy Local movement has gained considerable popularity in the U.S. with most major grocery chains offering shoppers a selection of locally sourced fresh produce.
Farmers’ markets are a part of that movement, and their role in the food supply chain is taking on added importance right now as consumers find bare shelves at their local chains.
In Southern California, certain farmers’ markets are continuing to operate uninterrupted, and in some cases the vendors are going out of their way to meet demand.
The Coachella Valley Certified Farmers’ Markets (CVCFM), which operates three markets throughout the week in and around Palm Springs, Calif., is an “essential service” that is permitted to remain open to the public.
According to the latest news from CVCFM, “We have created a list of modifications to our normal operations that incorporate health and safety recommendations from the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the California Department of Public Health.”
Some of the modifications include more spacing between vendors’ booths and tables to facilitate social distancing; hand-washing or hand sanitizing stations at booths; and a temporary ban on entertainment in order to discourage people from lingering.
Some vendors are even arranging for direct-to-customer delivery or customer pick-up, if possible.
The modifications by the CVCFM “look out for the health and safety of our customers and participants” and also provide “a critical source of income for our farmers and artisan food makers.”
In Los Angeles, however, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a suspension of farmers’ markets on March 30. Markets that want to continue operating are now required to submit a plan to ensure social distancing measures.
SCSparrow will update information as it changes.