Coronavirus News: Program selling boxes of food supports farmers during pandemic

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A program to sell boxes of food straight from local farms has been a lifeline to farmers, workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic and people negatively impacted by the crisis.

"resourcED" was thought up by Dan Barber, the chef and owner of the farm-to-table restaurants Blue Hill in Greenwich Village and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Westchester County.

"The restaurant closed, there's walk-ins filled with produce and we don't want to throw it away," Barber said.

So instead, Dan Barber packaged that food along with some produce from his fields and sold it all.

"Then we heard from farmers and it was a game changer," Barber said. "These farmers needed us to be a source of income and we were very important to a lot of them."

Including the owner of Alewife Farm.

"Via the Union Square Market we sell to a lot of restaurants in and around New York City," Dennis said. "Since the pandemic that has dropped dramatically."

There are even donation boxes to help feed families with food insecurities, all helping to keep the supply chain going.

The boxes range in price from $45 to $170 and even as restaurants reopen, the demand for them has grown exponentially, with pick up points now throughout New York.

"Does this change the way we buy food going forward? I feel we're at a moment to decide the answer. This is the inflection point," Barber said.

The fact that these boxes are so popular - perhaps reflects that more people are embracing cooking at home and cooking with fresh, local ingredients.

"We're trying to create these experiences at home that add to a meal," Barber said. "You kind of choose your own adventures and put that together for a family meal at home."

And along that path to pleasure, a little food for thought.

"Food touches everything; environment, culture, nutrition, justice. The way to think about food for the future is through all those prisms because they're all related," Barber said.

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