The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on the world in many ways, bringing unexpected challenges that have taken a significant toll on people all over the world.
The numerous restrictive measures imposed by authorities to help flatten the curve have had their own consequences, causing disruptions in the food supply chain.
Florida farms are confronted with an unusual problem: they have an abundance of produce but no place to sell it.
About 47,000 Florida farms provide food to the world and jobs to communities, and they have been severely impacted by the shutdown of cruise lines, amusement parks, and restaurants.
Due to nationwide quarantines, countless tons of produce were left to rot in their fields last month.
Nikki Fried, the state agriculture commissioner, stated:
“Agriculture is in trouble. Everyone has seen the images of gallons of milk being poured out and fruit and vegetables being plowed under in Florida and across the country because there are no workers and no places to deliver food.”
The Florida Department of Transportation is working to mitigate its negative effects.
The FDACS has created a website that includes options for growers, consumers, and transportation services. Customers can filter by produce type and county, and growers and transporters can submit their services.
The Florida Farm Bureau has similar lists, one for farm stands and one for farms, with names, addresses, and social media handles.
The website also states that their list will be updated on a regular basis with new information, and that “consumers should also check Facebook pages for food availability at local farms and hours of retail operation.” The harvesting and packing processes differ depending on where you are. Please keep in mind that fruits and vegetables are perishable items that require refrigeration.
As a result, you can now buy farm-fresh items like milk, seafood, and Florida-grown vegetables and fruits directly from the farmers.
When bars and restaurants were closed, Honeyside Farms’ sales dried up, as they did for many others.
Tiffany Bailey, the owner, stated that “it was an immediate impact; there wasn’t much warning.”
Nonetheless, in order to help the business survive, she decided to start online sales and delivery:
“We were able to quickly get online sales and funnel about half of our produce through these online sales, and they have been growing ever since.”
However, the farm will only receive about 20% of their normal revenue.
Long and Scott Farms spans 400 acres and specializes in pickled cucumbers. Hank Scott, the farm’s owner, says they have “3 to 4 million pounds of pickled cucumbers that we would normally be trucking to the East Coast and Midwest,” so they are looking forward to the $19 billion promised to farmers by President Trump.
“We will see how the program works. There are many family businesses, like ours, that must remain in operation in order to survive.”
Let us hope that the Florida Farm Bureau and FDACS’s efforts and measures can also benefit these farmers.