The New Normal: Local Farms and Businesses Collaborate

As the global COVID-19 pandemic wears on, farms and businesses are continuing to adapt. One exciting facet of these adaptations are new collaborations between farms, restaurants, and other businesses all working to support themselves–and one another. In southeast Michigan, these new collaborations are taking many forms. 

Tantre Farm, located in Chelsea, Michigan, regularly offers summer and fall CSAs for the community. But this year when the pandemic hit, they came up with the idea of the “Immune Booster” CSA, a collaboration between Tantre and a variety of other local businesses. Along with produce from the farm, the Immune Booster CSA offers things like loaves of bread from Avalon, tempeh and pickles from The Brinery, pre-made soups and salads from Ginger Deli, and cheeses from Zingerman’s. The CSA also often includes produce from other farms besides Tantre. The Immune Booster CSA started as temporary, but due to its success and the ability it offers to support a wide variety of farms and local food businesses, Tantre has kept it going since March, with new offerings each week. 

Other farms have banded together to support one another and expand their offerings to consumers. The Washtenaw Organic Collaborative was born out of the pandemic, and includes three different farms in Washtenaw County: Slow Farm, Brines Farm and Raindance Organic Farm. Along with offering flowers, eggs, and produce from their own three farms, the Collaborative also offers additional produce, meat and baked goods from other local farms and businesses. Each week, customers are able to order what they’re interested in online and then pick it up at one of two locations in the county. The collaboration allows the farm to offer more than what any of them could offer individually and encourages people to buy locally and support local food businesses. 

The Argus Farm Stop Produce Box

Argus Farm Stop, which has two locations in Ann Arbor, is a year-round farmers market where customers can always stop in to get products grown and produced locally. This year, along with continuing to offer farm products in their stores, Argus has started their own CSA program, with weekly shares compiled from a variety of the growers and producers that regularly sell at Argus. It’s just one more way to support farmers during this time and to help people get local products into their homes. And, places like Marrow, in Detroit, which has always been devoted to sourcing locally, has created an online market that sells not only their own meats, but produce and products from local farms and businesses. Now people can not only order their meat from Marrow, but can get additional local groceries delivered through their market as well. 

In a time of such uncertainty for so many, it’s encouraging to see innovative farms and businesses creating new ways to support themselves and one another. What other ways have businesses and farms that you’re familiar with adapted to the new normal? 

Photo credits: Argus Farm Stop (box pictured) and The Brinery ( header image)

Elizabeth Pearce is TLD’s Operations Assistant. She lives in southeast Michigan.