It is interesting how the COVID-19 situation has amplified so many people’s awareness of what is important. We are learning to localize more than ever, making sure that we are stocked up on all kinds of essentials, not just toilet paper, and appreciating the importance of our local businesses.
One priority will always be clear. We love our farmers.
So how do we keep our farmers farming in a time when so many aspects of the economy and world have changed? There are two important things to keep in mind.
First of all, farmers are people. In the time of COVID-19 it is extremely important to not cough, wheeze, sneeze or breathe on them. I know that sounds silly, but our hard-working farmers can’t afford to get sick. And we need them growing our food.
Second of all, our farmers run individual private businesses. We can’t afford to have anyone cough, wheeze, sneeze or breathe on customers or other vendors. The Homer Farmers Market needs to maintain a reputation of health and safety as this COVID-19 situation wears on.
Because of these two reasons, the Market requires that people ages three and older wear face masks and asks that people don’t eat at the Market. As a private business itself, the Market has chosen to make sure that it has a reputation of being extremely cautious in the face of so many unknown COVID-19 issues.
Who would have thought that the key to strengthening our local food system and local economy would be the act of wearing a mask?
As America struggles with the new COVID-19 realities, it is becoming clear that some people would rather not wear a mask. You can still support the local food system by simply growing your own and sharing food amongst your circles of connection.
But wearing a mask at businesses says, “I am wearing this to protect you.” You could add on there, “Even though I hate it.” Regardless, it shows your appreciation for the people around you.
The overwhelming support from our local shoppers who appreciate the safe atmosphere of the Market inspires everyone. Working together, we will keep our farmers farming.
The Market is open on Wednesdays from 2 to 5 p.m. too as well as Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. down on Ocean Drive.
Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.