The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted society in unexpected ways and exposed the frailties of some systems – among them, corporate farming. As the coronavirus spread, large food manufacturing plants were forced to shut down, and for the first time many consumers faced empty grocery store shelves, causing them to think more critically about the sources of their food.
As a result, some small farms have seen a boost in clientele. CSAs (community supported agriculture), farmers markets, and local produce have widened their appeal this season as trips to the grocery store have become less convenient and more complicated.
“Since the pandemic has started, our business has improved quite a bit. It’s really welcome. I just wish that I could produce more,” says Skip Clark, owner of Ketonen Clark Farm in Rutland, Massachusetts.
On the surface, the surge in demand is a much-needed stimulus for small farmers who are often struggling to make ends meet. On a deeper level, it shows how consumers are willing to rethink their habits, a behavioral shift that could last even after the pandemic ends.