Farmers are able to get groceries for their migrant workers while keeping themselves and their workers safe from COVID-19 through an online store called Help NorFarms.
The service, put together by Wilkinson’s Your Independent Grocer and the Delhi and District Chamber of Commerce, permits farmers to order food that they later pick up at a warehouse separate from any grocery store.
A warehouse on Argyle Avenue in Delhi is being used to hold the food. Farmers are able to book a time to pick up the groceries for their workers.
Matt Wilkinson said he is able to order products from the Loblaw warehouse and have it delivered directly to the warehouse in Delhi. Payments will be processed at Wilkinson’s Independent Grocer using the farmer’s order summary.
Wilkinson’s and the Delhi chamber see the online store option as a big help for farmers.
“Farmers were having a difficult time getting food,” said chamber president Jim Norman.
“They were spending a lot of time out and not having enough time to farm. And farmers were concerned that some of the offshore workers may pick up something in town and bring it back to the farm.
“A lot of people are worried about the workers coming into town, but it’s more the other way around.”
Norman said they are looking to relieve stress for farmers in any way they can.
“This isn’t a small miracle that’s happened over here, this is a large miracle,” said Wilkinson. “But we still need to get a few more missing items in to complete a shopping list.”
The Help NorFarms initiative was created to help keep the migrant workers safe while in Canada. The fewer trips into towns they need to take will help lower the possibility of them catching COVID-19 and bringing it back to the rest of the farm.
“That seems to be the number one concern,” said Wilkinson. “If we start losing farms, then the economy is going to start to crumble.”
The group is looking for volunteers. If interested, contact volunteer coordinator Lisa Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doug Connors, a volunteer with the program, said the volunteers are protected.
“There are a number of safety protocols in place, there is training, there are masks, hand sanitizer,” said Connors. “If someone chooses to volunteer they should not have any concerns about coming here.”
Each shift will require eight volunteers, including three warehouse checkers, two perishable food checkers, one greeter, one safety officer, and one site supervisor.
More information about the service is available at delhichamber.ca/help-norfarms/.