Making Local Food Accessible during COVID-19


Oregon businesses work together to ensure that all Oregonians have access to food and supplies throughout the outbreak of COVID-19.

OREGON – Oregon businesses are collaborating to ensure that food supply systems are strong and all Oregonians have access to food during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Farmlands Market in Creswell is just one example. The town’s sole grocery store saw double its normal sales by the first weekend in March, said owner Jessica Landstra.

“All of a sudden we are supposed to be the main supplier for a whole town that used to do the bulk of its shopping elsewhere,” she said.

Like other stores, she could hardly keep certain supplies stocked: flour, yeast, frozen foods, toilet paper, and other paper products flew off the shelves. Her typical suppliers couldn’t keep up, so she began looking for other options.

She started sourcing more from local vendors, including honey, meat, bread, and eggs.

“It’s been a group effort. Everyone around us has stepped up,” she said. “We’re a small business. It’s nice to have other businesses that care enough to help.”

Similar stories of businesses coming together to help Oregon weather the crisis are echoed across the state.

  • On the coast, businesses including Werner Meats and Fishpeople Seafood have donated food and bags to the Tillamook School District, which is delivering meals to students’ homes.
  • Moondog’s Farm coordinated with local farmers to establish for online ordering and delivery of farmer’s market goods in the Lane County area. Many other local farms are doing the same.
  • Nicky USA, a major supplier of meat and game to Pacific Northwest restaurants, is selling direct to consumers.
  • For the month of April, Oregon Bottle Drop is matching donations made to the Oregon Food Bank at their bottle drop centers.
  • Tillamook County Creamery Association has donated food to Meals for Seniors and donated ice cream to hospitals in Tillamook and Hermiston.

“It is inspiring to see Oregon’s businesses rally in support of one another and the community,” said Chris Cummings, interim director for Business Oregon. “The support and creativity of Oregon’s businesses are a key reason why our community is transitioning away from crisis mode. And it’s a key reason why Oregonians will in many ways emerge stronger.”  

Earlier this month, Governor Kate Brown announced that Oregon will provide $8 million to the Oregon Food Bank, ensuring that Oregon families can continue to receive food assistance during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Read more in Governor Brown’s April 13 press release.

The Office of Emergency Management reminds Oregonians that food systems are stable, though it remains critical that Oregonians buy only what they need to be 2 Weeks Ready to avoid short-term shortages.

“Fortunately, there is plenty of food to stock grocery stores and food pantries,” said Office of Emergency Management Director Andrew Phelps. “I urge Oregonians to help make sure there’s enough for everyone by purchasing only what’s needed for the next two weeks.”

Shoppers should also continue to practice physical distancing and hand washing guidelines to protect themselves and others.

About Author

Diane Navarrete is a communications specialist with Oregon State Parks.

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