Stocking Up on Locally Grown Food with Dr. Kynda Curtis | Day 92

“Dr. Kynda Curtis is a Professor and Extension Agriculture and Food Marketing Specialist in the Department of Applied Economics at Utah State University. Her research interests include international agriculture/food marketing, consumer demand for specialty foods, and behavioral economics. Dr. Curtis assists small-scale growers in developing new markets for their products and assessing the feasibility of new products and value-added processes. Dr. Curtis has received several awards including Extension group program awards from the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) and the Western Agricultural Economics Association (WAEA) and the AAEA Presidential Recognition Award.” Bio from Food and Agricultural Tourism, by Susan L. Slocum and Kynda R. Curtis

When we hear the term “buy local,” many of us immediately think of the cute mom and pop restaurant downtown; but buying local can extend far beyond this. During COVID-19, farmers across the U.S. have been scrambling to make ends meet as the restrictions throughout society come and go. To swiftly adapt, many of these farms have begun to redefine themselves and are looking to find a market in the everyday consumer.

In this episode of Instead, Wyatt sits down with USU researcher Kynda Curtis. Together, the two take a closer look at the ripple effect COVID-19 is having on local farms and discuss what it really means to “buy local.”

COVID shut down barber shops, movie theaters, and gyms. But what else did it affect? Schools and restaurants. With places serving food being closed, and workers getting sick, farmers were left with access supplies of products like milk or meat. Animals that were ready to be processed found themselves hanging out with no place to go. So what occurred? Cows still had to be milked, and therefore milk had to be dumped. Animals still had to be slaughtered on meat farms and still had no place to go after processing.

Although farmers are seeing a decrease in large bulk demand of these products, they are fortunately starting to see an increased demand for products by the average-daily consumer.  Kynda mentions the shift starting to happen with people switching to more local goods during this outbreak. In response to these changes, some local farmers have taken to social media to expand their online presence. Many begun to take online orders or create websites for their products. One of the large shifts is the increase in community supported agriculture (CSA). A CSA is a food system connecting producers and consumers more closely by allowing the consumer to subscribe to the harvest of a certain farm or group of farms.

Wyatt and Kynda also talk about Utahsown.org and the key role it plays in bridging local farms to the everyday consumer in the state of Utah. Looking for meat? produce? Honey? or anything in between? If you are interested in buying food straight from the source and supporting locally, check out the link below to find out what farm is selling them in your neighborhood.

Utah’s Own
https://www.utahsown.org

Utah CSA Directory
http://csautah.org/find-a-csa

Dr. Kynda Curtis’s Blog
https://www.utahsown.org

USU Resources for people experiencing food insecurity
https://extension.usu.edu/news_sections/general_news/usu-students-provide-food-to-aid-area-pantries

Written by Ari Romo