US (MI): What does urban farming look like during COVID-19?

When the COVID-19 crisis began in March, the normalcy of everything was upended. Amid the shutdown of bars and restaurants, as well as the implementation of stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures, the simple task of purchasing produce from a local farm became more complicated. Fisheye Farms in Detroit mainly used to sell to local restaurants and some farmers’ markets as a for-profit business, but, with the onset of the Pandemic in March, they began to shift toward selling more to the general public. Initially setting up a farm stand, Fisheye first utilized Cash App and Venmo for informal purchases but eventually moved all operations to their website.

“Since the restaurants were closed, but we still had produce to sell, we started doing our farm stand. At first, it was very informal, and we just put it out there on our social media, but the turn out was really great. We sold out in 2 hours our first farm stand. But we felt nervous about the crowd it created and not knowing how much produce we needed, so we were able to get our online store running and sell there,” shared Andrew Chae of Fisheye Farms. “In April, we decided that restaurants were not going to be as much income as we needed, so we decided to do a 75 member CSA [Community Supported Agriculture]. We put the CSA up for sale on our website around April 22nd and we are now sold out.”

“We are still selling a little bit to restaurants that are doing carryout and grocery items, but it is not nearly the volume we usually sell,” added Chae. While CSA’s are sold out, Chae expressed that those interested should keep up with their social media pages to see when the next round becomes available. He also added that at the moment, the best thing many people can do right now is to support the many struggling Detroit restaurants. 

Read more at Detroit Is It (John Bozick) 


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