by Anea Ferrario, Elena Newman, and Alex Seemar
Brown University, Engaged Scholars Program
Despite COVID-19 bringing the U.S. economy to a screeching halt, Blackbird Farm has seen an increase in sales since the outbreak of the pandemic. Ann Marie, owner of Blackbird Farm, excitedly said that the sales the farm lost due to restaurant closures have been replaced — and actually increased — by sales to local individuals and families.
Ann Marie says she feels the recent pandemic has brought more attention to overall individual health, and that people are more aware of the food they are putting into their bodies. In addition to purchasing local and organic foods, Ann Marie believes there will be an increase in home gardens and individuals aspiring to grow their own produce or raise their own livestock.
Blackbird Farm has sold their products through Farm Fresh RI’s Market Mobile distribution service and farmers markets for over 10 years and deems the relationship beneficial for all parties involved. Although the regulations for COVID-19 have forced some local farmers markets to close, Blackbird is still working closely with Market Mobile. While they are not able to provide the same quantity of meat for residential customers on Market Mobile as they have in the past for wholesale buyers, they are still contributing as much meat as they can.
Ann Marie stresses the importance of knowing where your food comes from and knowing your local farmers, and emphasizes the health benefits associated with eating fresh locally grown foods.
Finally, Ann Marie complimented Rhode Island on its agricultural practices both before and during COVID-19, giving the state an “A++” for supporting local farms and ensuring they are not pressured to sacrifice quality for higher yields.
Ann Marie is hopeful the pandemic is controlled as soon as possible, however, in the meantime Blackbird Farm will continue to produce their high-quality products and sell them locally.