We’re trying to help and you can too.
Today’s Eat Local Challenge celebrates locally sourced food and the people that produce it, including our Farm to Fork partners. This year, our support of small farmers is all the more important. COVID-19 has severely impacted small farms, including many of our Farm to Fork partners. While federal funding is helping some farmers, it’s not likely to reach them all. A survey by ResourcED revealed in June that nearly one third of self-described small farms may face bankruptcy this year due to a loss in sales because of COVID-19. Globally, small farms produce 70% of the world’s food and are important for supporting biodiversity (via heirloom and non-commercial varieties), which contributes to food system resilience. In the United States, small farms are essential parts of rural economies.
Since 1999, when our Farm to Fork program was founded, Bon Appétit has strived to source at least 20% of our ingredients from within 150 miles of our cafés. While sourcing locally began as a quest for flavor — the taste of seasonal produce is at its delicious peak when just-picked — it rapidly became much more. We want to financially support the livelihoods of farmers, ranchers, and small artisanal food businesses in the communities we serve.
Continuing to buy locally is a crucial step Bon Appétit can take to help keep small farms afloat. We are making a special effort to ensure we continue purchasing directly from our Farm to Fork partners, not just during the Eat Local Challenge, but every day.
You can help, too. Look for nearby farms to buy from directly using searchable online databases like LocalHarvest.org and the USDA’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) directory, which will both show you where the farms are located and which of them offer weekly boxes of locally grown goods. You can also find a farmers’ market in your area using this database or LocalFarmMarkets.org. Together, we can offer vital support for the future of farms in our communities.