The efforts of our farmers and farmer’s markets to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and continue to provide the public with locally-grown food have been amazing. Our goal is to connect as many consumers as possible directly to farmers and agricultural produces in the Southeastern, MA region.
Updated Information from the Governor, 3/18/21
The Baker-Polito Administration released a comprehensive plan to safely reopen the Massachusetts economy, get people back to work, and ease social restrictions while minimizing the health impacts of COVID-19. General recommendations and policies for agriculture in Massachusetts have been provided here by MDAR.
Vaccinations – Agriculture workers are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Massachusetts. This includes “all staff involved in the production, processing, storage, transport, wholesale and retail sale, preparation, and service of food and consumer goods.” Find more information or a vaccination appointment here.
Labor Management – CDC guidance for agricultural employers has been updated as of 2/2/21. They suggest exposure minimization, sanitizing practices, modifications for shared housing, adapted sick/leave policies, contingency plans, and more. OSHA also provides COVID-19 guidance for employers generally.
Pick-Your-Own and Other Agritourism Activities – Guidance for PYO and other agritourism activities has been released as of 7/24/20, and includes rules for capacity, social distancing, sanitization, on-farm transport, and more. Many indoor and outdoor events, including agricultural festivals, are still not allowed.
WHERE TO SELL
Farmers Markets – The CDC provides guidance for farmers market managers and stalls as of 9/17/20, including the set-up of handwashing stations, pick-up options and layout modifications, appropriate signage, sanitization, and more. MDAR has also released information on safely operating farmers markets. A list of currently operating markets is housed here.
Collaborative Marketing Software Platforms – If you are a farmer looking to combine forces with other growers in your local network to organize group ordering, CSA, or food hub coordination to serve your local/regional community and consumers, you may want to review the following food aggregation and delivery software:
Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) – Agricultural businesses with fewer than 500 employees may be eligible for this loan program if they are unable to meet operating costs.
Tax credits and deferrals – Small businesses (including many small farms) may be eligible for tax credits and/or deferrals based on decreased sales, temporary or permanent shut-down, or other circumstances created by COVID-19.
Crop insurance, farm credit, and market manipulation – The USDA regularly updates a list of farmer resources and FAQs related to these financial areas.