Farmer Updates: Impact of COVID-19 On Local Farms

March 22, 2020

Supporting local, family farms was one of the reasons Local Roots was started in 2011. Create a virtuous cycle where eaters in a city could trust where their food came from while also supporting incredible farmers who are passionate about feeding us good food and taking care of the land responsibly.

COVID-19 has impacted our lives and livelihoods in NYC and the affect has been felt through the countrysides of our region's farmland. Here is a note from Jesse and Matt, the couple that grows the wonderful mushrooms found in our mushroom subscription and vegetarian bundle.

“About 80% of our business was based on wholesale directly to restaurants. With the sudden closure of nearly all of those restaurants, we have lost almost all of those avenues of income.

To complicate the situation further, many of the now shuttered restaurants we sold to were on 15 or 30 day terms, and many of those were already late on their payments. Suffice to say that we are starting at zero. We are unlikely to receive the tens of thousands of dollars that made up our accounts receivable. Its like we burned thousand of pounds of perfect mushrooms.

So we move forward. We have had to lay off all of our 7 employees save one. 😭 We are working 16 hour days every day. Our Beautiful and amazing son has been cooking our meals (he is 11). 

We are bereft, like we lost some one. In a way we did. We have dedicated 8 years to building a sustainable livelihood, and that form that we built disappeared in a weekend. 

In these past few days we have been so inspired by our local community. Its like we are in a great flood, and we are making a raft with our bodies to support each other. It got me thinking that really that is all an economy is- a raft we make of our lives, our work, our bodies, our choices. In this moment we need to choose safety, alertness, and each other. This is a moment to wrap our minds around the concept of community and locality in a whole different way."
- Jesse

This text was followed by another thread between Matt of Primordia Farm and Wen-Jay, Local Roots founder. We were trying to figure out how and if we could keep functioning during this time of crisis due to all the logistical changes we would need to make since most of our pick up locations are at bars and cafes. When our farmers reached out to let us know they depended on us, we quickly made a decision to keep operating.

"❤️❤️❤️ That is excellent freaking news!!. This is the wildest shit ever. 

We’re really grateful for the ability to be able to provide to you and your operation. How nice to have a long enough work relationship experience that I remember delivering to your apartment! 

Thank you for thinking of us.

Best of luck, 

hoping all goes as smoothly as possible for you and yours.

Matt, Primordia Farm

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