Like other organizers, the folks behind the Good Earth Market were forced to cancel their event due to the coronavirus pandemic — a disheartening cancellation for a market that brings in around a thousand people and supports local gardeners, farmers and other producers of goods.
But that didn’t stop the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center (SLWDC), which hosts the event, from trying to connect the community to the area’s local suppliers as the market is going virtual.
“This seems to be a responsible solution to not having it while still offering our community a means to get the product that they would like to get from people producing those things, growing those things, catching those things,” said Jonathan Foret, executive director of SLWDC.
With so many unknowns with the pandemic, Foret said — such as a potential food shortage — they want the virtual market to be a source for locals searching for someone near who has the supplies they need.
“We’ve talked to a few folks, and it may actually turn out to be a necessity,” he added. “I hope that it doesn’t, but it may turn out to be something that offers a little bit of food security to people who may not be able to find certain items.”
One example he gave is if a resident needs eggs, and perhaps their nearby store is out. They could call a phone number next to a farmer listed who sells them, he explained, and then go pick them up while still taking safety measures. “We want people to be responsible and interact with people as least as possible,” Foret continued. “You can go buy your eggs from that person and then do whatever means you do to ensure that your groceries are safe: whether that’s wiping the carton down with a Clorox wipe or however you go about protecting your groceries.”
Farmers, gardeners, fishermen and makers of jellies, jams, soap and other products are encouraged to message the SLWDC Facebook page to join the virtual market.
Foret said they hope to have a majority of the information by this weekend and have the Good Earth Market available online by early next week. It will be found on SLWDC’s website.
“No one is coming to save us. And it’s times like these where we definitely have to rely on each other and rely on each other for resources…and just work as a community to get through this,” Foret said.
“We have learned a lot by going through hurricanes over and over again, and I think that has developed the resiliency of our communities,” he continued. “Through that resiliency, we know that we can lean on each other in times of need. We’re definitely going to be okay.”