Small communities such as Warren County could face impacts from the coronavirus that larger communities may not face in such a great extent. People on limited budgets might find it difficult to ensure that their families have healthy foods, and small farmers may face greater challenges in selling their crops.
Warrenton nonprofit Working Landscapes wants to do something about that by purchasing food from local producers to donate to families in need. The donated food is going to Loaves & Fishes Ministries food pantry in Warrenton. The first delivery came in on Friday as Five Oaks Beef in Oakville provided ground beef.
“The idea is to help people in the community who need food to get through the coronavirus and the economic hardships this has caused for families, and assist farmers who still have crops and need markets for those crops,” Gabriel Cumming, Working Landscapes’ co-founder and associate director, said.
For Cumming, the idea of purchasing food from farmers and then making it available to the community through the food pantry is part of fulfilling Working Landscapes’ mission of food system resiliency.
“Working Landscapes is working to develop a more resilient food system for the region to increase our ability to get through the ups and downs that will come, together,” he said.
Cumming described a resilient food system as one that will survive a crisis now and in the future.
“Long-term, we want to build ways to feed ourselves and the region,” he said.
Actions such as partnering with local producers are laying the foundation for this goal to be achieved.
Area farmers are responding. In addition to Five Oaks Beef, Loaves & Fishes has received deliveries of kale, collard greens and cabbage from Bender Farms in Norlina, and eggs from Seven Seasons Farm in Granville County and G&D Produce of Norlina.
Denise Swanner, co-founder of Loaves & Fishes Ministries, said that having the food is especially helpful to meet an increased demand because children are not in school.
“Now, with the state of emergency, children are at home,” she said. “(The food) helps parents with extra meals and extra snacks.”
Working Landscapes is accepting donations to its Local Food Access Fund to support ongoing efforts to purchase food grown by area farmers in order to make it available to local families. Working Landscapes will coordinate donations of farm products to needy families, in partnership with Loaves & Fishes Ministries food pantry or other collaborating organizations. To make a contribution, visit the website, workinglandscapesnc.org.