You can now buy directly from a local farmer thanks to this public database
The Farms to Feed Us initiative seeks to connect opposite ends of the supply chain by putting you in touch with a farmer just down the road
The coronavirus has already forced consumers nationwide to connect directly with suppliers. Many of us have shifted our buying habits, relishing in the fact that wine wholesalers will now drop weekly crates at the door and coffee roasters will squeeze bags of beans through the letterbox.
However, there is still a huge shortfall in business for certain producers who once sold primarily to industries like hospitality, which have been decimated by the pandemic. Many of these are smaller, local suppliers who are not used to selling at consumer volumes and who do not have enough public profile to keep sales up.
To try and remedy this, an initiative called Farms to Feed Us has launched a public database to allow consumers to contact farmers, producers and wholesalers directly.
The not-for-profit initiative is supported by Thomasina Miers, of Masterchef and Wahaca fame, and Blanche Vaughan, writer and editor of House & Garden. It is also run and supported by various farmers, journalists, economists and activists.
Photo by Peter Wendt on Unsplash
According to their website, Farms to Feed Us is a "means to channel the current high levels of interest amongst the public to promote purchases from small producers, particularly those who may need to recoup lost sales."
To do this, they are providing a simple online database in the form of a public Google Sheet. Interested businesses just have to supply their contact details and product overviews, and are then filterable by industry and area.
"Many of the producers on the database exclusively supplied restaurants and have had to completely redesign their business to adapt to the changing situation during the crisis," the website continues. "This database is their route to market."
Farms to Feed Us go on to suggest that the current crisis and resulting changes in consumer habits may also benefit society in the long term, by proving that a shorter, more localised food supply chain is wanted and used by many. This, they say, "will provide strong foundations for the future."
The range of products on the database is vast. If you live near Inkberrow in Worcestershire, for example, you could ring up Long Meadow Goats and, unsurprisingly, bag yourself some goat meat. Perhaps you live near Bude in Cornwall, in which case you could call up Castle Beeny Farm, buy some Ostrich eggs and make giant omelettes to rebuild those muscle fibres after your Joe Wicks living room workouts.
The number of suppliers on the database is growing rapidly too. Since starting the database in late March, around a month ago, there have been almost 250 suppliers signing up. And there are new farmers and producers added to the list every few days.
If you'd like to find a local supplier or would like to list your own business, check out the links on their about page.