Farm to Family/The FarmBus’ role as local food providers is critical, and is likely to become more so during the next few months. Promoting access to local and quality produce is what we do best. In this time of re-localization, and as more Americans are quarantined or practice the recommended social distancing, supply chains will get under stress, people will still need food, and you all are helping fulfill that need. We believe local food is more important than ever with the global threat currently facing our country especially in light of current shortages many of us are experiencing with key items in grocery and big box stores. We are working closely with our farmers and will to continue to provide you with the quality and convenience of local food.
As many of you know, I studied Disaster Science/ Emergency Management at the University of Richmond 2007-09. The key course I took was called “Hazards and Threats of the Future.” We had to pick a topic (mine was famine and severe hunger in the US and western developed countries) and do a 20 year forecast. From all the info I gathered, I predicted a deliberate pandemic to control the world’s growing/over population. I read lots of material on Thomas Malthus and his Malthusian catastrophe mode – it’s worth a look if this kind of stuff interest you. This was the catalyst that led me to start a new business – Farm to Family and the Farmbus. I wanted to create a sustainable food model in case our food supply chain was disrupted or halted all together. Whether a pandemic is deliberate or not, I felt it of the utmost importance to focus on local food supply chains and food security.
We ask you to remain patient, fluid and agile as the landscape is changing very quickly. Our produce and fruit farmers are continuing to plant spring crops, the weather is perfect for strawberries and the bees are busy. Our meat and dairy farmers are occupied with stewarding newborn animals and the herds are enjoying outdoor grazing and sunshine. Luckily local food is not dependent on complex over stressed delivery chains.
After speaking with all our farmers and vendors we are not anticipating any disruptions, it’s business as usual, but as we know, things are very different today than earlier in the week. We are keeping a close eye on the rest of the world as well as what is happening in the US. Our farmers practice, and are certified Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP) by the USDA. These are voluntary audits that verify that fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled, and stored as safely as possible to minimize risks of microbial food safety hazards. GAP & GHP audits verify adherence to the recommendations made in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (pdf) and industry recognized food safety practices. Our dairy and meat farmers are subject to USDA testing, inspection and sanitation practices and our vendors are certified thru VDAC and adhere to those regulations. We and all of our farmers are keeping your health our priority by practicing additional sanitation action.
We recommend that you wash down any fruits and vegetables – here is an easy DIY solution to use – and practice good sanitation with any other foods and containers you may be receiving from us.
As of now we are going forward with next week’s shares, and if there are any changes/modifications. we will let you know. We recommend social distancing like you would anywhere else in public at our group pickups.
At this time we are not anticipating delays to our March 31st start. We are in contact with Eastern Market and our drop sites. If you want to switch over to home delivery, let Suzi know. We will continue to do our best to get your food to you in a timely manner. If you have questions, concerns or would like to brainstorm with Mark, please email or call him directly at 804-397-7337. We would encourage more than ever share our services with friends/family, strangers, neighbors and co-workers!
We will get thru this together. If we need to modify things or any sudden changes come about we will let you know as quickly as possible and again we ask for your patience as we navigate this together.
Mark, Suzi and our Farm to Family team