INDIANAPOLIS — With large gatherings, including farmers' markets, forced to cancel due to the coronavirus, finding trusted sources for fresh produce is challenging.
As if times weren't trying enough, grocery store shelves can be found bare because of panic-shoppers, and if the produce is still available, many questions are still pondered:
"How long were these vegetables sitting in the warehouse?"
"How many people have come into contact with the fruit?"
"Can I trust this?"
And so many more questions.
Victoria Beaty, executive director of Growing Places Indy, says all fresh and local foods are essential to our lives — and should be protected at all costs.
"COVID-19's arrival in Indiana has created an unprecedented disruption to local farmers and food producers who depend on production cycles," Beaty said.
Since 2008 the Indy Winter Farmers Market has provided a venue for all of Indiana's family farms and food producers to sell products, allowing the Indianapolis community to access fresh food at all times.
With farmers' markets shut down, not only do people have to search harder for trusted food sources, but local small farmers don't have places to sell.
"The closing of the market was a difficult decision and will greatly impact our farmers and the community," Beaty said.
Although many of the farmers and makers don't have a market to sell at, they are still finding creative ways to get their sustainability-minded products in the hands of those who need it.
Beaty and her GPI team created a list of local farmers and producers you can still buy from in the midst of the pandemic. Most are offering curbside, pickups from the farm itself, or even delivery.
In encouraging people to buy local, while also growing and producing on their own, people can order and pick-up straight from the following farms:
Mad Farmers Collective
- This farm is located south of downtown Indianapolis and offers a variety of veggies like kale, salad mix, and more. You can buy directly from the farm by visiting www.madfarmerscollective.com [madfarmerscollective.com].
- The Mad Farmers Collective is a group of five farmers, growing on 1.5 acres in Downtown Indy. They use only organic practices, offer the freshest and most nutritious produce possible.
Full Hand Farm
- Full Hand Farm is a family-owned first-generation family farm in Madison County. Offering a variety of veggies like kale, salad mix, carrots, cabbage, and so much more. You can place orders by visiting its website at https://fullhandfarm.square.site [fullhandfarm.square.site], and it's available for pick up each Saturday in Broad Ripple. See website for exact details.
Growing Places Indy
- Growing Places Indy is a local nonprofit that operates four urban farm lots with a mission to cultivate wellness through urban agriculture. We won't have produce to sell until the first of May. It will be available at our summer farm stand (located at our farm )and our website for pickup. We will also offer community-supported agriculture boxes (or CSA) from June to August. Since the health crisis, people are more interested than ever to start their own gardens. We have plant starts to sell via our website at https://www.growingplacesindy.org/plant-sale [growingplacesindy.org] to help people start their own gardens.
GPI also launched a "Produce with Purpose Fund" that is inteded to directly help minimize the financial fallout for Central Indiana's local farmers and food producers caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Now more than ever, it is vital that we do all we can to support local farmers and access to fresh, local foods," Beaty said. "Please consider supporting our fund so we can help secure the future of local, fresh foods within Indianapolis."
Any questions you have about food safety during the COVID-19 pandemic can be answered on the FDA's website.