Business closures because of the COVID-19 public health emergency have created serious challenges for farmers as well as consumers. Normal market distribution channels have not been available.
The regular transfer of abundant foods produced by farmers in Florida and across the nation has been disrupted.
“Logistics and distribution are the challenges,” said Jessica Ryals, Collier County sustainable food systems Extension agent. “We have got to do a better job at getting these products in front of people.”
Private business and government must work collaboratively to develop solutions. “Government can provide the framework and the policy to support agriculture,” she noted.
Meanwhile, farmers are continuing to grow nutrition for everyone. They will adapt to the changing conditions.
“I think it is really important that the people of Florida understand that agricultural producers are essential,” Ryals said. “These folks are still in the field, they are still producing and they are still making food while we are dealing with an international crisis – which is really an amazing thing to think about.”