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Message from Andrew Gunther, AGW Executive Director
We’ve been in touch with our team and farmers, and wanted to also share with our wider community how we are addressing the challenges that arise from COVID-19. We have suspended travel since March 5 and will be reviewing this decision regularly. As an organization we are respectful of our team members and many stakeholders’ varying health risks, and recognize it would be reckless to travel at a time when we are not certain of the location or spread of the virus. We have asked our team in Oregon to work remotely wherever possible. It is impossible to tell today what next week will bring, but be assured that as a team we are actively monitoring the situation, and continually assessing its impact and our response.
Safety is a number one priority and we’d like to take a moment to remember the simple things we can do to protect ourselves and our families. There are some great resources here and I strongly recommend reading and sharing.
Trusting we are all doing our best to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities, it would be remiss of me not to talk a little about the potential wider consequences of COVID-19 on sustainable farming. It is rightly decreasing the number of people going out and traveling; it is driving consumers to purchase as much as possible from one store. We understand restaurants and food suppliers are under pressure financially and that a global slowdown may occur. Directly there is the potential for farmers’ markets to be impacted and for orders from restaurants and food vendors to be severely restricted or indeed canceled. This is an area that causes grave concern to all of us, as most of our farmers supply markets that are already feeling pressure.
As we at A Greener World prepare for the challenges that lay ahead, we are also thinking about how we can support impacted farmers. Our marketing and outreach team will be working to help consumers understand their role in farms’ sustainability; while our labels continue to show consumers the foods they buy are produced the highest welfare standards of any farming system. However the reality is that the impact of COVID-19 may well be devastating on some of A Greener World’s farmers, and with that in mind we will be as flexible as we can with our farmers—in auditing schedules, planned events and every way possible. We are also working to ensure consumers are aware of the many options for online shopping and delivery from AGW producers, to help meet their needs and ease the economic impact to certified farms and businesses. Please see our collected resources for farmers and consumers here.
Thank you for everything you do for A Greener World and your communities; it is a difficult situation we find ourselves in when individual actions can impact others so deeply, and also a reminder of our interdependence. I have complete confidence we will get to where we need to be. As always, our doors are open (metaphorically)—please reach out if we can help in any way.
A Greener World