CHICAGO (CBS)– Farm to table, in a new way.
Dozens of Midwest farmers are getting food to customers during the pandemic by way of a micro-warehouse in Evanston.
CBS 2 took a look at how the new grocery concept works at Village Farmstand on Dempster Street.
“We’re a permanent retail location that acts as a virtual farmers market,” Matt Wechsler, owner and documentary filmmaker, said.
This is a solution to a pandemic problem for farmers who’ve been sourcing Chicago’s top restaurants and chefs for almost two decades.
Farmers have been severely impacted by the pandemic.
“The farmer that we work most closely with, he went from sourcing 30 restaurants in March to sourcing three the next week,” Wechsler said.
According to the USDA, farmers on average make about 23 cents on the food-at-home dollar.
Village Farmstand is now able to pay farmers nearly three times that.
“The farmers have had the best five weeks that they’ve ever had,” Wechsler said. “They’re actually doing 30% more business this year than they did last year.”
This is because they now have a retail location to sell their supply. You can order online and pick up curbside Thursday through Sunday. You can also just stop by.
“It’s pretty expansive, all the way from flowers and corn mills to fruits and vegetables,” Marty Travis, of Spence Farm, said.
All sourced from farms using regenerative practices, like zero pesticides and no GMO crops.
“By supporting what we’re doing, us as farmers, those dollars get to stay in our community,” Travis said.
All the farmers are within 150 miles of Chicagoland.