How Sang Lee Farms Is Feeding Communities In the course of the Pandemic

One lingering impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is that it’s impacted just about each hyperlink of the meals provide chain. American households are experiencing higher rates of food insecurity throughout the nation, whereas producers are being tasked with getting their items to markets, eating places, and grocery buyers in new, artistic ways in which adjust to social-distancing pointers. Among the many farmers determining tips on how to maintain feeding native communities throughout this public well being crises are Lucy Senesac, William Lee, and Fred Lee, who function Sang Lee Farms in an space of Lengthy Island known as Peconic, New York.

“We needed to shift protocols in our retail area for 2 months to do preorders, however had been capable of reopen when it was heat sufficient to promote exterior,” Senesac says. “Farmers’ markets additionally shifted, so we needed to workers greater than normal so no prospects dealt with produce—and we’ve seen extra client curiosity in securing meals nearer to the supply and their properties.”

Fortuitously, the farm had already pivoted its operation (which began promoting natural Asian produce within the 1940s, first in New York Metropolis’s Chinatown, then up and down the East Coast, from Montreal, Canada to Florida) to focus extra on retail. “In 2004, we discontinued all wholesale distribution and tailored to direct client gross sales via our farm stand, group supported agriculture (CSA) farm shares in 2006, and farmers’ markets in 2007,” says Fred Lee.

At present they see their function locally as “simply offering the healthiest meals we all know tips on how to develop,” says Senesac. “And we continue to learn tips on how to develop to essentially the most households that we are able to.” As of late, that’s meant stocking their farm stand with pre-made meals like vegetable soups and dinner packs. “We chop up child bok choy, scallions, and carrots, and have like a stir fry sauce that we make right here,” she provides. “So that you simply purchase it and it’s already chopped.”

Something that doesn’t get offered is donated to native charities and meals pantries. “We work with Community Action Southold Town (CAST) and Island Harvest,” Senesac says. “CAST is extra of a neighborhood, North Fork group that we donate our leftover CSA shares to, and so they feed individuals locally. We additionally donate each week to Maureen’s Haven, a neighborhood church that cooks a meal each Thursday for people who find themselves homeless.”

This summer time, Senesac plans to supply one other type of group service: “A farm camp that I began six or seven years in the past for younger children to only expose them to the place their meals comes from.” In addition they educate them about sustainable farming strategies, which is one thing Sang Lee Farms is understood for—final yr it received the Agricultural Environmental Administration Leopold Conservation Award for its farming and cultivation practices. (It’s additionally obtained recognition for its irrigation micro-drip system, a system that conserves tons of of hundreds of gallons of water every farming season.)

“We farm organically with farmland stewardship in thoughts,” says Fred Lee. “It issues not only for the crops that we develop seasonally now, however for the longer term generations of oldsters and the setting that shall be right here after we not are.”

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