The coronavirus pandemic has illuminated the ways industrial agriculture monopolizes our food supply as well as the many ways that the handful of companies dominating the sector exploit contract farmers and essential workers at all levels of the supply chain. A resilient, equitable local and regional food system is more important than ever. The current crisis offers an opportunity to reject what isn’t working and build on what is. During a June 3, 2020, webinar, co-hosted by CPR and Fair Farms, participants heard from Maryland and Virginia farmers and organizers as they explored the many ways that shifting to a more sustainable and diverse local farming system can increase crop production, create a cleaner and healthier environment, and increase economic opportunity for farmers, workers, and communities.
The panel of local farmers and food system experts included Lisa Garfield of Salisbury, Maryland; Stewart Lundy of Accomac, Virginia; and Taffy Gwitira of Baltimore, Maryland. They shared their experiences with transitioning to sustainable, diversified agriculture and explained what still needs to be done to support their efforts, including creating regional processing centers. They also discussed the critical role consumers play in supporting farmers who make the switch — and more generally their local, sustainable farming community. CPR Board Member Laurie Ristino moderated the discussion.