During COVID-19, farmers who sell locally-grown and sourced foods in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes must keep the health and safety of the community top of mind.
During this emergency, the Health Unit encourages local farmers’ markets to consider selling goods online. This is the best approach to use at this time. There are a number of e-commerce options to consider, including REKO Canada (a Finnish trade and fair consumption model used locally) and Open Food Network (an online partnership linked to the Farmers’ Markets Ontario).
If you plan to organize a farmers’ market this season, you must first submit a detailed plan to the Health Unit. Public Health Inspectors will review and approve all submissions before any market can open or operate. Proposals must include details on how the market will maintain physical distancing, ensure proper handwashing, and follow appropriate cleaning/protocols.
Criteria for E-Commerce/E-Market Proposals
If your farmers’ market uses online payment options and lets customers drive or walk through to pick-up pre-ordered and prepaid food, you must include the following details in your proposal:
- Confirmation that the landlord/property owner approves of the use for farmers’ market (Note: During COVID-19, many local municipalities are not allowing markets to set up on their property)
- A written plan showing traffic circulation
- A delivery plan based on the number of orders and drive-up customers. Consider staggering pick-up times based on a person’s last name (For example: People with last names starting with A-E can pick up from 9-9:30am, F-J from 9:30-10am, etc.)
- Guidelines on how to ensure customers stay in their vehicles when picking up food
- Plans to ensure customers walking to pick up orders maintain physical distance with vendors and other customers
- Similar plans to ensure vendors/ volunteers maintain physical distancing
- Locations where vendors/volunteers can access handwashing/alcohol-based hand sanitizing facilities
- Written confirmation from vendors that they will not handle food or take part in the market if they are sick. Vendors will self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms
- Types of products and how often they’re used to clean and disinfect surfaces where food orders are placed/organized (For example, after each order use household cleaners or diluted bleach solution of 1-part bleach to 9 parts water)
- Ways that food products will be packaged so they are not loose
- Process to ensure food orders are prepackaged in new, single-use boxes/bags and labelled with customer names or order numbers
- Plans to ensure all refrigerated and frozen products are maintained at proper temperatures
- A pledge to keep a list of vendors and all food products that each sell
- Confirmation from each vendor that the food is obtained from an approved source:
- Meats ONLY come from an approved slaughterhouse and processed at approved facilities
- Dairy products ONLY made from pasteurized milk
- Perishable food requiring refrigeration during transport and distribution is maintained out of the danger zone (refrigerated)
For questions or to submit your farmers’ market proposal, email the Health Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006.
A Public Health Inspector will review the proposal and respond to you. An inspection may also be needed to confirm the market is operating as outlined in the proposal.
- Follow the directions/guidance of food market organizers, especially if picking up food items in a ‘drive-through’ style market setting
- If picking up food items on foot, practise physical distancing by staying two metres (six feet) from other customers and vendors
- Minimize time at the market. Prepare a list for efficient shopping/pick up
- If possible, use alcohol-based sanitizer after pickup at each vendor
- Avoid touching your face
- Wearing a homemade (cloth) mask is optional. Be aware that these masks are not medical devices and are not proven to protect the person wearing them from getting COVID-19.
- After returning home, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds
- As always, wash produce with running water before eating or preparing food. And remember… there is no evidence that food or food packaging can spread COVID-19!