Dartmouth, MA — With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc in the restaurant and hospitality industry, Dartmouth farmers have found ways to adapt. Local farmers traditionally sell wholesale to retailers, directly to restaurants, at farmers’ markets and through CSAs. With restaurants closed for dining and farmers’ markets — if open — limiting customer numbers for social distancing, many farmers all over town have had to change the way they operate.
At Round the Bend Farm, Executive Director Desa Van Laarhoven said they are actually growing more produce as part of the farm’s “Manifest Love” project. The project, which began in March, is a collaboration between Round the Bend and New Bedford non-profits YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts, Youth Opportunities Unlimited, and NorthStar Learning Centers to get food to those who need it. Van Laarhoven said they started the project to provide food shares free of cost to more than 100 local families directly connected to these organizations. Round the Bend is currently in its fifth week of the program, and has served more than 20 families per week. Originally slated to start in June, the project schedule was moved up so that they could start providing healthy foods such as kale and peanut butter as soon as possible to those who need it. The farm has also put in place a new ten-page protocol for its staff to follow to ensure the safety of all its products. “We knew this pandemic wasn’t going to last just a couple weeks,” Van Laarhoven said. “This will be for quite some time.”
YWCA Southeastern MA is grateful to our friends at Round the Bend Farm for selecting us to receive food shares to distribute to our residents and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic! Click here to read more about Round The Bend Farm’s exciting and innovative Manifest Love project!