- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County
The outbreak of COVID-19 has forced many of us to develop entirely new routines around food. We’re cooking more than ever, only ordering takeout or delivery, and being hyper-vigilant with our grocery shopping practices. But the outbreak is also affecting the routine business of local farmers, whose wholesale restaurant orders and farmers markets sales are dangerously shrinking.
With the disruption to these traditional markets, it’s never been more important to support your local farmers. And thanks to recent efforts by the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County, it’s never been easier.
When COVID-19 hit, Tara Kleinhans, the PR and development manager at CCE of Ulster County set to work turning a map originally created by UlsterCorps into a central food resource the Hudson Valley can use to locate farm-fresh food. Now, CCE’s map of Ulster County farms, farmers markets, and food pantries provides a visual guide (and contact information) for over 100 food businesses and organizations in Ulster County.
“As people start to look for other ways of finding food that’s healthy and supporting the local community and economy, they can look at this map,” Kleinhans says. “They can call the farmer directly and say ‘Hey, what do you have right now?’ We haven’t really had that close of communication before.”
Kleinhans says that area farmers are more ready than ever to support our communities. Many producers are taking individual orders from customers and boxing up products for delivery or curbside pickup. “The map is such a great resource for so many farmers who don’t have [an online presence] and this is their window into digital communication.”
Kleinhans is also in the process of reaching out to Cooperative Extension offices in surrounding counties to pool resources and create a new inter-county map for the entire Mid-Hudson Valley that will also include farm-breweries. Stay tuned.
Suggestions for new map locations can be emailed to Kleinhans at email@example.com, and should include the location’s name and address, hours of operation, and what product or services they currently offer.