A Post-Pandemic World and the Critical Importance of Local Food Supply
While the previous year brought many unforeseen challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying global lockdowns, economic decline, shortages of essential items and an overall new way of living, one thing remained steadfast– the crucial role of American agriculture and the increasing importance of local food supply in ensuring food security. While local food producers, including our members and Florida farmers and cattle ranchers at large, faced many of our own pandemic-related challenges, we worked resiliently to overcome these challenges to ensure food security and provide local communities with essential agricultural goods just as our ancestors did.
Historically, much of our nation’s food supply has come from a combination of global and national sources. However, effects of the pandemic minimized access to such supply and highlighted the challenges of great dependence on a global food system. This led many communities to turn to local ranchers and farmers for goods necessary for survival. Despite labor and supply reductions throughout the pandemic, local farmers and ranchers served as essential workers and worked tirelessly to adhere to our commitment to supply communities with vital goods, such as meat, fruit, vegetables and dairy products.
There’s no denying that the pandemic challenged many of us to rethink much of the way we live and operate. The Florida Cattle Ranchers had to do the same. To play our part in ensuring food security throughout Florida, we developed a third-party distribution program. Through this program, third-party distributors of Florida Cattle Ranchers Beef directly sell our beef to consumers in hopes of minimizing the risk of external factors prohibiting consumer access to farm fresh products, so that members of our communities can always feed themselves and their families. According to a survey administered by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), many others throughout the country also implemented direct distribution programs amidst the pandemic.
So, what can you do? The widespread implementation of direct distributorships indicates a new path forward for our nation’s food supply and emphasizes the criticality of supporting local food producers who, when times are tough, are always there. To share in this new path forward, you can shop local and support your local farmers and ranchers, so that even during the most challenging times, food security will remain. By supporting our local food producers, we generate prosperity across local economies and ensure access to local food supply, which mitigates the threat of a global food supply crisis.