Across the country, major meat processing facilities are being forced to close their doors due to COVID-19 outbreaks – bad news for farmers who rely on them to get their meat to market, and for consumers who expect their grocery store shelves to be stocked.
"When you disrupt the front of the supply chain it ultimately disrupts the back of the supply chain," said USC professor and supply chain expert, Nick Vyas.
We're already seeing those disruptions as the closure of large processing facilities ripples down to consumers. Millions are now finding empty store shelves.
Because of shortages at grocery stores, shoppers are getting creative in order to keep their kitchens stocked.
One option: order groceries from nearby restaurants.
From major chains to local operations, restaurants are pivoting to sell grocery items they're no longer able to use to serve diners.
Another option: shop straight from local farmers in your area.
Farmers who serve their local communities say business is booming, and they're getting creative when it comes to how to get their products into the hands of their customers.
John Morosani of Laurel Ridge Farm in Litchfield, CT, began selling his beef and pork at his farm stand when COVID-19 restrictions shut-down the local farmers market.
"We've had farmers markets where, ya know, you've had three sales for a four-hour market. Here we've actually been very busy the entire time this has been going on. I've gotten a number of orders for whole cows, half cows, our bulk stuff we're basically sold out through June," Morosani told CBN News.
Some other Connecticut farmers teamed up to launch a virtual farmers market.
"Instead of stopping at our farm or a table at our farmers market, they stop at our webpage, order what they want from our farm and then there's a link on my webpage to-go order from the next farm. They'll go about, they pay one delivery fee for getting whatever they want from four to five farms and it's a win-win for everybody I think," said Kate Bogli, owner of Maple View Farm in Granby, CT.
Farms like these use local meat processors rather than the major plants. So far there have been no disruptions, allowing these farmers to work to meet the community demand. They hope the quality of their product keeps customers coming back even after the pandemic eases.
"Wherever someone is watching this, I'm sure you have a local farmer somewhere in your back yard that you might not know about right now, that you can just go see how are they preserving land, how are they tending to their land, how are they treating their animals – these things are just so much more transparent when you're buying directly from a farmer than when you're buying directly from a grocery store," Bogli told CBN News.
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