by Kirk Schroder, Ellwood's Food Advocate

Ellwood Thompson's is committed to supporting local farmers in our community. Just look at ET’s extensive list of local farms that ET supports within a 100-mile radius of Richmond.

As The Richmond Times-Dispatch recently reported, the pandemic is presenting many challenges for our local farmers and local farmer market operators. Yet ET continues to work with local farmers and local vendors to make their natural goods and products available at our store.

This commitment was recently expressed by Rick Hood, ET’s Owner, in a recent editorial in The Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Whether we like it or not, the pandemic is forcing us to re-evaluate our values. And from my experience, the best value that creates a better future, beyond pandemics and other environmental threats, is to think and act locally.

Our local farmers take pride in making sure that they are delivering food that is fresh and safe to consume. ET takes pride in helping them by continuing to make significant amounts of shelf space to make local food available to you.

Now is an opportunity to either affirm your support for local farmers or considering going out of your way to consider prioritizing buying local on your shopping list instead of factory farmed food.

The current practices of the industrialized farming industry pose a severe threat to our health by increasing the risk of bacterial and viral disease spread. The bird flu epidemic and the swine flu epidemic were a result of factory farms and the substandard hygiene practices they use. This is because thousands of animals that are genetically identical due to modification are being crammed into warehouses with little room to breathe, let alone social distance, creating a petri dish for disease spread and little genetic variety to stop it. Additionally, antibiotics used throughout the farming industry make existing diseases develop into stronger strains or morph into new diseases.

Buying foods and other products produced locally can help reduce your carbon footprint by cutting emissions from transporting food from wherever it is grown to your grocery store. An article from the New York Times states, “eating only locally grown food for one year would save the greenhouse gas equivalent of driving 1,000 miles” (New York Times). Contrarily, buying from large corporations contributes heavily to global emissions and only supports the money-hungry stockholders at the top. When you buy local, you are uplifting someone in your community and giving the earth a second chance.

If there is ever a time to consider buying food locally, it should be now. Local farmers are struggling just like everyone else as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

If you are able, you should consider buying from local farmers during this time of need.

We are all in this together so supporting your community during these trying times is pertinent to surviving this outbreak.

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