Tools for Finding Best Alabama Foods (During Crisis)

Two longstanding agricultural nonprofits are making special efforts to connect communities with locally grown food resources during the ongoing virus crisis.

The newest resource was just rolled out in a refreshed design by the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network, an online directory that will lead you to locally food growers near where you live.

Go to the ASAN Directory of Local farms/Markets — COVID 19.

The map-based digital directory, which allows you to search by county, was updated and upgraded in response to increased demand caused by the virus crisis.

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The instructions in the intro tab direct growers and market owners to instructions on how to be added to the directory.

ASAN also give you links to other online resources that are being developed by its members, including these two.

Agroshare, compiled by ASAN member Frannie Koe features a map, a food finder for local farms, articles, and other resources.

Alabama Virtual Farmers Market Facebook group was set up by Allen Carroll of Fungi Farm.

Sweet Grown Alabama, a project of the Alabama state Farmers Market Authority is also busy getting its message out to consumers to take advantage of its online directory of farmers markets. The website also has information on roadside stands, U-Pick operations and community supported agriculture groups.

“We want individual consumers to know there are still options for buying from local farms while following all the CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommendations for stopping the spread of COVID-19,” said Ellie Watson, director of Sweet Grown Alabama.

Sweet Grown Alabama advises its members on the best practices for welcoming customers to their farms. “We encourage farm visitors to be proactive as well. Call the farm to schedule a visit or place an order, bring hand sanitizer and, if you have to get out of your car, keep the suggested six-foot distance between you and another person,” Watson says.

COROA-era webinars addressing the business side for growers coming up on the regularly updated Events department of the ASAN website currently include:

  • April 2, Farm to Freezer: The Logistics of Online Sales & Shipping Meat. Hosted by Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network (NMPAN), featuring three experienced panelists who sell their meats online & ship direct to consumers. Topics include: setting up an online store, different web platforms, accepting payments, updating inventory, meat selection, subscriptions versus ala-carte orders, boxes, insulation, dry ice, maintaining cold chain, shipping carriers, costs, & legalities of selling meat across state lines (Rebecca will cover that one).
  • April 6, the Farmers Market Coalition hosts a webinar on physical redesign of markets for COVID-19.

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