Local Food Producers Adapt Business During The Pandemic

May 19, 2020

Cars line up for the Carbondale's farmers market that is a drive-thru because of the COVID-19 pandemic on April 18, 2020 in Carbondale, Illinois.
Credit Amelia Blakely

Even the way a farmers market operates has changed since the pandemic started as social-distancing practices become more critical for maintaining public health.

In Carbondale, Illinois the farmers market switched to a drive-thru allowing some local producers to sell their goods in a physically-distant manner with masks and gloves. 

Kurt Sweitzer, the President of Carbondale's farmers market, said the turn out has been good so far, considering the pandemic. But he wonders if it will persist if the market has to continue being a drive-thru for longer than just a few months. 

Jen DeLuca who owns Jen's Joe, standing behind the table and masked, attends to cars in the line for Carbondale's farmers market on April 18, 2020 in Carbondale, Illinois. Since the pandemic began, the market became drive-thru to allow local farmers and producers to continue providing for the region.
Credit Amelia Blakely

Additionally, the farmers market can't provide a spot for every local vendor in the region.

Community suppported agricuture and local food hubs have also seen an increase in business since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March. In some cases, like for Angela Reinoehl, demand has increased so much for her product, freshly baked sourdough bread and New York styled bagels, that expanding her micro-bakery has popped up as a potential idea.

But to make that decison, she needs to wait to see what the world will look like in the couple years, she said.

To hear more about how the pandemic is affecting local food producers listen to WSIU's two-part series below.