Before COVID-19, farmer Alex Ball had anticipated it would be another decade before Metro Detroit farmers adopted online ordering systems en masse. But that changed when the pandemic hit.
“It was funny,” says Ball, owner of Belleville-based Old City Acres. “Overnight, every farmer developed a way to sell their product online. I’m excited now because I see a lot of growth in small farmers.”
The pandemic has provided an unexpected jolt of energy for numerous Metro Detroit farmers to expand their businesses and begin delivering local food directly to their customers. Ball introduced an online ordering system and a CSA in 2018. His CSA membership grew from 15 members in 2018 to 25 members in 2019 – and then to 50 in 2020, forcing him to build new infrastructure to handle the added demand.
“My business skyrocketed in the one-month period where people decided they wanted to buy local food again,” Ball laughs.
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