As COVID-19 continues to make its way through our community, farmers are faced with unique challenges in an unpredictable market. Agricultural organizations agencies are continuing to collect information to assess the impact this virus is having on Maine farms to better inform direct assistance and policy in this changing time. IF YOU HAVE ALREADY TAKEN THIS SURVEY, PLEASE TAKE IT AGAIN. New questions have been added as we track changes over the past few weeks.
MFT and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) are introducing new Maine Farm Emergency Grants to assist farmers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. A recent survey conducted by the Beginning Farmer Resource Network of Maine indicates farmers and food producers are experiencing significant market disruption. This collaborative effort will provide support to farmers who need assistance mitigating the economic impact of COVID-19, and will help them adapt their businesses to be responsive to changing markets. More information here. The application deadline was April 27, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Grants will be awarded during the week of May 4, 2020.
Farmers who are offering ways for customers to purchase local food can add or update their information on this map on the UMaine Extension website: Farm Product & Pick Up Directory
UMaine Cooperative Extension is hosting WEEKLY Zoom calls Fridays at 7 PM for farmers to share thoughts and resources with each other. Click the link for more information and details on how to join via your phone or computer: Join UMaine’s Farmer to Farmer Conversations Extension also a form for farmers to submit questions about COVID-19 here.
For farmers transitioning to an online sales platform, this publication, created by the National Young Farmers Coalition, compares farm-specific software platforms that support direct-to-consumer sales, and highlights related educational resources.
MFT has been working with farmers and partners across the state, Maine’s congressional delegation, and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to ensure that funding is available for the producers in Maine who need it, and that there is support for Maine farmers and food businesses to address market disruptions, labor issues, safety needs, local food access for low-income community members, and all of the other issues that have resulted from this pandemic. Latest Policy updates HERE. Sign up for Policy Action Alerts here.
*We’ll continue to update this post with new resources as they emerge.*