April 24, 2020

Unwavering Yields During COVID-19

Author: Meredith Thomas, Lead Account Manager at Babylon Micro-Farms Inc.

The food supply chain’s failure to keep up with major stockpiling during the COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique time to pause and consider our dependence on the conventional food supply chain. There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has halted “business as usual” in the U.S. over the past several weeks.  While the crisis has already created major shifts in our economy, healthcare system, and even our own day-to-day lives, it has also forced us to pause and reflect upon how we get the goods we need to survive.  Particularly, this crisis has made many of us think hard about how we get food. It has clearly generated anxiety around food supply, since about 28% of us in the U.S. are stockpiling groceries and other goods in anticipation of, and in response to the pandemic. My fellow shoppers and I have found ourselves walking down completely empty grocery stores, mouths agape at all those empty shelves.

In the standard supply chain in America, produce and other food items are usually passed through multiple middlemen on their way from the farm to the consumer. These middlemen include: first-line handlers, packaging warehouses, large scale buyers, and retail food stores. This lengthy supply chain has a lot of drawbacks, such as massive fossil fuel expenditure in transport and loss of nutritional value in our produce.

Sustainable Supply Chain

As an account manager for Babylon, I have continued to help our clients get seeds and other materials they need to grow during this crisis. I am now, more than ever, proud to help our clients grow their own hyper-local, ultra-fresh produce on-site. I am reminded how special it is for them to be able to provide their own produce in these uncertain times. As they can all year round, our clients can rely on a consistent supply of produce from their Micr0-Farms. Plus, growing with Babylon cuts their produce supply chain down to a fraction of the conventional supply chain. Our clients know where their seeds come from and how they are grown–efficiently and safely, without pesticides or herbicides. Moreover, once their produce has finished growing, it only has to travel to the kitchen, or even better, directly on to someone’s plate. Growing with Babylon means there is 99.9% less transportation, 71% fewer carbon emissions, 95% less food waste, and 99% less plastic waste associated with their produce. Plus, it’s higher in nutrients since it doesn’t have to travel across the country before consumption. I think our clients’ ability to create food within their own businesses under their own supervision is empowering, especially in a time like this.

Whenever I feel myself start to worry about the COVID-19 pandemic, I am somewhat reassured that the businesses growing with Babylon, many of which are senior living facilities, are still producing their own food on-site. It gives me hope.