A Greener World
With a surge in unemployment, school nutrition program closures and the massive strain on traditional support networks, demand for food assistance has skyrocketed. At the same time, many farms are increasingly challenged to afford production when there is no customer. Some farms whose products are normally processed further (e.g., milk) have even had to dispose of products due to supply chain disruptions and predatory practices by processors. While $19 billion in relief has been promised to support farmers, this funding is expected to benefit large commodity producers. Commodity groups have collectively demanded more funds than are available and there is no information on how independent farms can participate or a timeline for doing so. Farms have been ineligible to relief offered to other small businesses and many traditional sources of loans and funding are inaccessible.
Recognizing the complementary needs of food banks and farms, A Greener World initiated a peer-to-peer fundraiser whereby its certified farms, ranches and producers can coordinate donations to support food delivery to area nonprofits serving community food needs. A Greener World has existing relationships with thousands of independent farmers across the United States and Canada through its certification programs and food labels: Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW, Salmon Welfare Certified by AGW, Certified Grassfed by AGW and Certified Non-GMO by AGW. While some farms in the program have done well with online sales during social distance necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, others have struggled to recover lost markets. Farms that depended upon sales to restaurants, schools, and other institutional customers saw once-reliable income disappear overnight.
Pigeon River Farm in Clintonville, WI saw egg sales drop 90% in three weeks as their biggest customers closed to customer traffic. The farm had been donating their Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW eggs to Interfaith Food Pantry in Portage County, but despite the pantry’s generous efforts to help defray costs was losing money in the process. With enough donor support, the farm can continue to serve local food insecure neighbors through this crisis, cover costs of production and remain in business to serve future customers. April Joy Farm in Ridgefield, WA is also raising funds to provide eggs to Fruit Valley Family Resource Center, a community school which is also home to a Head Start childcare facility for preschoolers where 87% of the students qualify for the free or reduced lunch program. Donations to this fundraiser will ensure Pigeon River Farms and April Joy Farm are able to continue offering high-quality, nutritious, pasture-raised eggs to community members in need–and that other farmers and food banks have the same opportunity.
AGW Executive Director Andrew Gunther says,