American farmers, spurred by the coronavirus' upending of American normality, have begun making home deliveries of fresh food in areas where popular apps like Instacart might not be available, according to a report by Reuters.
The move comes as people are trying to stay inside more often to avoid the highly contagious virus. At popular grocery stores, people fear the virus due to the volumes of shoppers that frequent the stores.
So, home delivery becomes the alternative.
According to Steward, which provides capital and helps farms set up internet platforms, farms have the potential to step up during the virus crisis and show that they can adapt. Many are already doing so. In Oklahoma, Carrie and Joe Chlebanowski, a married farming couple, are making up for the closure of their local farmers market by making porch deliveries of food they grow themselves.
The deliveries include lettuce and other greens, and they have about 16 customers since starting last weekend. They also set up a stand outside their farm for people who want to brave an in-person shopping trip.
Another Oklahoman farmer, Chad Ward, said he has seen a huge upswing in requests for frozen meat during the pandemic. Ward said the whole situation has shown him how people can work with others during times of crisis, explaining the coronavirus has "caused us all to lean in on each other."
Local U.S. food sales from outlets like farms and small stores were numbered at $11.8 billion in 2017, according to the Congressional Research Service.
The virus could have a debilitating effect on small local food distributors, with an estimated cost of $688.7 million in lost revenues, according to researchers from Colorado State University and the University of Missouri. The total economic loss could easily top $1 billion.
Farmers have been focusing on selling food directly to customers as the virus has forced many restaurants to reduce operations or close.
In related news, Instacart is planning to add 300,000 more full-service shoppers nationwide to help support cities during the crisis.