On a typical day at a grocery or convenience store, few shoppers consider the backstory of each product placed in the cart. While branded words like “organic” and “cage-free” may signify an ethical choice and fresh meat and produce a healthy one, there are still a multitude of unknown factors, especially at large grocery chains that feel far-removed from the 2 million farms strewn across the United States.
National Ag Week is a chance to recognize the farmers behind the products we buy. Farmers comprise less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, and a single farm feeds 166 people on average.1 Agriculture is responsible for nearly everything we consume and use on a daily basis, yet only in times of crisis such as the current COVID-19 pandemic does the impact of agriculture truly resonate. In fact, estimates prior to the pandemic showed Americans throw away approximately 25 percent of the food they bring home each month.1 Whether this percentage increases or decreases amid a crisis depends on the person or family and their location, as some have taken to stockpiling while others search for groceries in populous cities ravaged by fear.
So what is the best way to celebrate National Ag Week amid such a troubling time? Here at Farmulated CBD, our suggestions are simple, and all embody the nature of valuing ourselves, others, and the products we took for granted less than a month ago.
- Buy local. Local farms depend on your purchases now more than ever, especially small and mid-size farms. Opt to explore local markets instead of your typical large grocery chains, and don’t forget about farms offering products beyond food (ahem, your favorite CBD products).
- Consider your neighbor. The 80-year-old woman down the street needs food just as much as you do, but it may be dangerous for her to risk exposure at the grocery store. Volunteer to help someone in need get her weekly groceries.
- Practice gratefulness. Be kind to all, but say a special “thank you” to the farmers working tirelessly to bring products to your shelves. Remember, those in jobs considered essential may be feeling especially overwhelmed during this time, and your positivity and support matter.
- Limit waste. Plan your meals with careful consideration for what you actually need. Now is not the time to carelessly dispose of rotting produce or let leftovers go uneaten. Make a plan for weekly meals and try to stick with it.
- Spread awareness. Don’t blame the farmers, truck drivers, or stock clerks for barren shelves, as they are doing everything in their power to maintain supplies. Remember, the shortages are typically a result of excessive bulk buying. Encourage those close to you to be patient and buy only what they need.
This National Ag Week may feel a little different than years past, but it is still a time to celebrate the hardworking farmers in our communities and across the nation. Choosing a career in agriculture is a decision to uphold the core values of farming: ethical practices, safety, sustainability, and respecting people you don’t know as much as you would your own family. During this time, we challenge you to think like a farmer and do the same.
Happy National Ag Week!
- Fast Facts About Agriculture & Food. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.fb.org/newsroom/fast-facts