San Diego Shoppers Getting Items Direct from the Local Farms
It has often been said that ‘necessity is the Mother of Invention’, and that is particularly true in the current era of the coronavirus pandemic. Many farmers in the area around San Diego and throughout the county were devastated by losing their contracts to supply foods to Native American casinos and to local schools and restaurants. This has forced them to be more creative, in the hope of keeping their business going and finding a market for their products. One of the ways that the business model has been altered by area farmers is to sell direct to customers, using pick-up and drop-off services to make the exchange.
From the standpoint of consumers, many of them have identified with the plight of the farmers and have offered their support by increasing their purchases of local products, as opposed to shipments from across the country. One special case in San Diego County has seen more than 70 farms banding together to offer a tremendous range of products to local citizenry, either through neighborhood stands or by offering pickup service to customers.
Some farmers in the group have even opted to provide drop-off services, so that eggs, seafood, meat, flowers, olive oil, honey, and other products can be put directly in the hands of consumers. People have responded very well to the buying local premise, and that has given rise to a website listing which identifies many local area wineries, ranches, farms, and nurseries, which offer various products for sale electronically. Consumers are happy with the arrangement, and farmers are ecstatic, given the fact that buying local has literally extended a lifeline to many of their businesses.
Other business models
Some farmers have banded together to provide delivery service to customers, for instance by picking fruits and vegetables daily, and taking them right to the doorstep of purchasers. Some specialty farmers who deal in a single product, for instance avocados, don’t pick the fruits until they’ve been ordered by a customer, so that every one is literally hand-picked and fresh. These can either be picked up or dropped off according to customer preference, with a surprising number of people interested in driving directly to the farm for pickup.
Many people are just thrilled to bypass the restrictions of local lockdown requirements, and take a drive out to a farm for fresh fruits and vegetables. Other groups of farmers have pooled their product resources so they can fulfill more customer requests at a single location, and this has also proven to be extremely popular. Having kindled tremendous interest in buying local products, San Diego area farmers are finding ways of surviving despite the loss of some of their steadiest and best customers.
The future of local farming
Fortunately, these innovative ways of maintaining business are allowing many San Diego area farmers to survive the coronavirus crisis. It has also focused a great deal of attention on the benefits of supporting local farms, and about the best use of area lands. Given the fact that many of these small farms could literally have been swallowed up in the coronavirus pandemic, officials are beginning to recognize that steps must be taken to invest in small farms, and to think differently about them once a recovery stage has been reached.
More and more politicians are becoming aware of the fact that planning for the future of farming in San Diego County must be comprised heavily of support for local farmers. More farms are needed along with more job opportunities, and particular attention must be made to resisting the effects of climate change and to sustaining the local environment, so as to ensure the future of area farming.