Farmer adapts to online business and includes other local growers

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Local farmers are struggling as the restaurant industry remains shutdown during the stay at home executive order.

Jeffrey Orkin said Greener Roots Farm has experienced a loss because businesses no longer need his culinary-specific products. But luckily he’s maintained some sales through local grocery stores and individual orders.

Over the last few weeks Orkin said he’s adapted by converting the farm’s website.

“We have a third party web platform that we use for selling to restaurants and we were able to rebuild that site so that consumers can shop on it,” Orkin said.

Orkin said one greenhouse remains vacant because of lost products that were grown specifically for restaurants.

“Like very culinary driven, chef and restaurant-specific stuff that the average consumer would have no clue what to do with. And we tried our best to move it, but there’s some stuff that ended up in our compost pile,” Orkin said. “We probably lost give or take like four or five weeks worth of potential revenue because of product that was already growing and we didn’t have a home for it.”

Orkin said he’s been offering weekly deliveries and pick up locations to those ordering from his website. And he’s been including local growers in the process.

Greener Roots Farm website now offers more than just its own produce. Locally grown and produced items like bread, eggs, hot sauce and nut butters are also available.

“This is a great example of how a local food economy can support this type of thing instead of a reliance on an industrial food system.  There are people here that have food that would like to feed it to you,” Orkin said.

Orkin said as long as those businesses can get their products into his hands by the delivery dates, he’s willing to do the rest.

It’s a business model he hopes to sustain even after restaurants reopen, but Orkin said only time will tell if customers will continue to demand the service.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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