Coping with Covid-19:
Good (and Local) Food Can Provide Comfort
Sustainable Fairfield Task Force Offers Tips
On Eating Well, Responsibly & Safely Through the Crisis
Fairfield CT, April 5, 2020 -- With Covid-19 generating anxiety, few features of daily life today offer more comfort than a meal of fresh, healthful, tasty food, especially if you can share it with loved ones. It can be disturbing to see bare shelves in local food stores, but overall the nation’s food supply system is stable, says the US Food and Drug Administration. And even in these uncertain days, you can access good food in ways that will help our local economy and environment, as well as both protect and nurture your health.
From the Sustainable Fairfield Task Force (SFTF), here are some ideas – including, most importantly, a suggestion on how we can help meet the food needs of our neighbors:
Fight Food Insecurity in Fairfield
Economic disruption worsens food insecurity and, for too many people, the current disruption’s impact has been devastating. In Fairfield, the volunteer-run and -operated Operation Hope Food Pantry, 636 Old Post Rd., is assisting families in meeting their basic food needs and also connecting them with other resources to help sustain their food supply. Find information on how to help here.
Support Local Growers
The crisis has underscored the appeal and value of food from secure, local sources. Local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs allow consumers to buy a weekly share of a local or regional farmer’s fresh, seasonal produce directly from the farmer ahead of the growing season, helping the grower generate income and plan ahead as well as guaranteeing the buyer part of the harvest throughout the season. Below are some Fairfield-area programs; note, Covid-19 related issues might change usual delivery or pickup procedures:
· The Fairfield/Southport CSA is managed by Trinity Church/Southport and partners with Stoneledge Farm in New York’s Catskills Mountains. Visit here to purchase shares for the 2020 summer season (24 weekly deliveries, June-November).
· Gazy Brothers Farm, a 4th-generation, family-run farm in Oxford, Conn., offers spring, summer and fall shares, for pickup at the Greenfield Hill Farmers Market (when open) or delivery for an additional fee. The sign-up deadlines for spring and summer have passed, but fall shares are still available; visit here to purchase.
The Westport Farmers’ Market is offering an online market with a one-day-only pickup – Thursday, April 9 – offering products from a variety of local sources. Details for the market, including how to order and pick up products, are here. Note, you must designate a pickup time in advance and time slots are limited; orders must be placed and paid for by Tuesday, April 7, at 4 pm.
Sport Hill Farm in Easton, which grows a wide selection of non-GMO, sustainable produce, offers shoppers the opportunity to set up a “Market Money” line of credit for use at the farm’s store, 596 Sport Hill Road. The SFTF provides a list of other local farm stands and farmer’s markets here; check back often for any Covid-19 related changes in openings, hours and procedures.
Support Local Restaurants
Throughout the current shutdown, you can help sustain Fairfield’s economy by patronizing the many local restaurants that are offering takeout and delivery in lieu of table service. The Town maintains a list here. And when you’re perusing local menus, remember that reducing our meat consumption makes good environmental sense – so don’t forget to check out all the appealing non-meat options.
Look for Locally Produced Food While Shopping Safe
The Town has posted current hours and Covid-19 related pickup/delivery options for Fairfield food retailers here. Many of Fairfield’s food retailers offer locally sourced food choices; the SFTF provides a list here. And you can find a healthcare provider’s instructional video on how to shop and bring food back into your home safely here as well as other food-related guidance here from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Buy in Bulk, Responsibly
We all need to avoid hoarding, to help maintain supplies of critical items for everyone, but it’s possible to buy many food items in bulk responsibly and with concern for the environment. In downtown Fairfield, BD Provisions, 1215 Post Road, offers a broad selection of fresh, bulk foods sold by the pound in sustainable containers, including nuts and snacks, coffee and teas, dried fruit, oatmeal and oats, cereals, pasta, rice and other grains, beans (everyone’s new favorite food), and much more. Curbside pickup is available.
Grow Your Own
Once warmer weather really kicks in, establishing a backyard garden (if you have the space) with fruits and vegetables in the mix will be a great way to capture the appealing health and nutrition benefits of fresh food -- and also a safe way to enjoy the outdoors after a long stretch of home confinement. The SFTF offers some guidance on growing food at home here. In Fairfield, Ganim’s Garden Center, 320 King’s Highway Cutoff, currently offers curbside pickup and home delivery of gardening supplies.
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Note: The Sustainable Fairfield Task Force (SFTF) provides support for Town practices and projects that can help Fairfield manage its growth to safeguard the health of its environment, ensure the reliability and economical use of its natural resources, and preserve the quality of life of its residents – today and for the future. For more information, please visit https://www.fairfieldct.org/sftf