Now more than ever, we need our local farmers
We at the Foodshed Alliance are thinking of you and your family during these unprecedented times. Our staff is working remotely and you can reach us by phone or email during business hours. We continue to focus on strengthening sustainable farming, increasing access to local, healthy food, and protecting the environment for all members of our communities.
COVID-19 crisis creates sharp spike in demand for our services
LocalShare: The COVID-19 crisis has caused LocalShare to pivot its focus to respond to the challenges its food pantry partners are facing, specifically food and volunteer shortages.
Because of our strong connections in several health, hunger and agriculture networks, as soon as the pandemic began stressing food pantries, we received calls for help from partners and others because “people need food.” As closures occur, we respond to schools, restaurants, and institutions to collect food they no longer needed. We support the Sussex County Hunger Coalition’s initiative collecting surplus food from supermarkets. We reach out to food distributors that have food they can’t sell to closed institutions and accept their donations. We recruit restaurant chefs to make dinners that can be frozen using donated food ingredients for people in need who have fallen ill. We even get calls from long-haul truckers parked at the Rt. 80 truck stop in Knowlton asking to donate shipments of food they can no longer deliver because businesses are closed.
We have arranged for donated refrigerated storage at Sussex County Community College and a warehouse facility in Franklin, NJ, where we create food boxes/bags with an assortment of food to provide nutrition to households for several days. Social service agencies then distribute these boxes/bags to their clients. All of this is done adhering to strict social distancing and sanitizing protocols, as our top priority is the safety and health of our employees, volunteers, partners and recipients of our services.
Farmers’ Market:The 13th season of the Blairstown Farmers’ Market will open as usual on the first Saturday in June. Farmers’ markets are deemed an “essential service,” and we know the market has always played a critical role in bringing fresh local food to our community and providing our local farms with a vibrant outlet for their goods.
With the market opening six weeks away, we are strategizing new social distancing protocols for the market. Our top priority is that everyone stays safe. We realize the responsibility we have in continuing to offer this critical service in our community, especially since shopping for food has become such a stressful endeavor for so many people.
Food Hub: As we explore launching a pilot food hub program in July that would aggregate food grown by northern New Jersey farmers for distribution to a network of farmers’ markets and distribution points in Newark, we are dealing with the impacts of social distancing requirements and focusing on how to keep everyone safe and healthy. This may require changes in the pilot’s strategy, like incorporating home delivery to minimize how much the food is handled and face-to-face contact.
SAgE: The pandemic hasn’t slowed the momentum of the Sustainable Agriculture Enterprise (SAgE) program where we put sustainable farm businesses on preserved farmland. In addition to the program’s second-year farm in Warren County, three new farm enterprises will break ground this spring in Sussex County.
Loss of Revenue
We are greatly concerned about loss of revenue caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Our annual gala, the biggest fundraiser of the year, was postponed. Several grant funders put applications on “hold” as they re-evaluate priorities in light of the crisis. As much as 25% of our budgeted revenue could be affected.
We need your help. We realize that many are facing financial hardships, but if you are able, please support our work by making a tax-deductible contribution.*
Please support our work in rebuilding our local food system to make our communities more resilient and able to withstand disruptions to the global food supply chain, such as those caused by pandemics. Now more than ever, we need our local farmers.
Matching Grant:Please donate and help us qualify for a GoFundMe $1,000 matching grant! We need to raise at least $1,000 from 10 donors.
*Special Tax Deduction of $300 under CARES Act: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and. Economic Security (CARES) Act allows taxpayers who claim the standard deduction and don’t itemize to deduct $300 in charitable contributions made in 2020. The Foodshed Alliance (EIN 27-2834150) is a 501(c)3 organization; donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.