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Man. farmers move products online

Man. farmers move products online

Manitobans now have the option to purchase their local goods online

 
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Manitoba producers and farmers markets can sell their goods online thanks to recent funding to Direct Farm Manitoba from the federal and provincial governments.

The funding comes from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership and totals $160,000. While this announcement happened on April 27, this project was in the works for a while, said Phil Veldhuis, president of Direct Farm Manitoba.

“This is something we were actually working on prior to COVID-19, but (the pandemic) certainly accelerated the project,” he said. “The food supply chains were going to start experiencing difficulty and people were looking to connect with local food in a way that is much stronger than anything we've experienced in a long time.”

Some Direct Farm Manitoba members already sold their products online but, with the uncertainty from COVID-19, most members will have to consider this option, said Veldhuis.

So far, two farmers markets and 21 farms have an online system via Direct Farm Manitoba’s website. Consumers may have to pick up products or some operations offer delivery.

Consumers can “search by what kind of product they want. For instance, if you want to find some ribs to barbeque this weekend, you would search for that and then our website would tell you what options are available for you,” said Veldhuis.

Online demand for the products is high, but that situation does come with a problem, said Veldhuis.

“We're certainly finding from the places that have gone online that consumer demand is not a problem. Our actual problem now is going to be making sure we can supply. We need to get more farmers engaged as well,” he said.

Direct Farm Manitoba staff are also using the funding to help develop the pickup and delivery options and COVID-19 safe handling practices.

Since the growing season for produce in Manitoba is just beginning, markets that mostly focus on fresh produce hope to be up and running by the end of June or the beginning of July, said Veldhuis.

“We hope that, by (using this online platform), the markets can stay alive. I think a lot (of people), especially with smaller markets, feel kind of defeated at the moment,” said Veldhuis. “We’re working hard to make sure that (consumers and producers) have some viable options this summer.”

Demaerre/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo


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