It’s a tough time for the world, but an exciting time for local food

In over 15 years working on farms and around farms, I’ve never seen anything like the last few weeks in the local food market. As restaurants close and cities shut down, the local food market is booming.

Our farmer’s sales at Harvie are up almost 200% in the pandemic crisis. If you are in the business of selling local food to consumers, you know how in-demand your products are right now!

It seems like a convergence of factors: people want to be closer to their food producers for perceived safety; they realized that maybe the grocery stores won’t always be full of food; they want to support their immune systems to fight this virus; they are cooking at home a lot more so they want great ingredients to cook with.

It all has resulted in a surge of demand for our food.

To be fair, this is also a difficult time of change. For farms that relied on restaurant or wholesale sales, there is a lot of pain ahead. Some farmers market are shutting down or requiring online pre-orders — many farmers are using Harvie for this. Many farmers are starting to do home delivery, which comes with many challenges — and Harvie is also built for this.

I have put everything on the line — financially, emotionally, and professionally — to build Harvie over the last 5 years. So to have worked on this problem of direct-to-consumer farm sales for years and now to have Harvie be part of the solution, it is gratifying to me. In times like these, it feels good to be useful.

One question I have: how long will this surge of demand last? Once we get beyond the crux of this crisis, will the demand continue? I think to an extent it will continue, but it is important to build systems on your farm that are habit-forming for these new customers, like building a subscription/membership program into your business like Harvie is built on. I think this is really important for long term business sustainability.

I wrote up a press release about the surge in demand which I will paste to the bottom of this email or grab it here:

Please share this story with anyone you know in the media so we can get some press about what is going on in our industry.

I also want to put a huge shout-out to the team here at Harvie that has been working long hours since the beginning of this crisis to on-board new farmers, support new consumer members, set up pop-up farm stand sales, and build new tools into the Harvie platform. They have shown their commitment to this work and I couldn’t do it without them.

I’m interested in your stories. Are you seeing demand spike in your neck of the woods? What factors do you think are contributing to this increase in interest?