FARE Idaho: farmers helping restaurants helping farmers
Many restaurants are still struggling in the pandemic with customers choosing carry-out and deliver over in-house dining.
It is hard for restaurants to anticipate food volume, and it has taken a toll on farmers too. Now, the two are teaming up to save the industries in Idaho.
Noon hour on “restaurant row” in Boise, nearly deserted, and in the time of COVID that presents more than one problem. Restaurants, farmers, and ranchers all struggling to survive, they have formed a trade group called FARE to help each other out according to organizer Katie Baker.
“FARE is an acronym for food, agriculture, restaurants, and establishments, beverage establishments,” she explains.
By saving restaurants, FARE Idaho hopes to improve the financial lot of the farmers whose products end up in those establishments.
According to Baker, “Right now, our focus is on saving independent restaurants because it ultimately will help our independent farmers. An Idaho farmer that grows beef here in the state of Idaho may sell or have that steak go to a restaurant in New York City, or San Francisco, and if those restaurants are closed it affects our Idaho farmers.”
There were 3,385 small independent restaurants in Idaho before the COVID related restrictions. Restaurants have struggled with many shutting down permanently or barely afloat.
“One of the easiest things we can do is help the business model of the farmer,” restaurant owner Dave Krick states. “We help the business model of the farmer by helping open up markets, local markets in particular are some of the most lucrative for them because they can direct sales, and that’s our primary focus...”
One advantage of selling locally for farmers is that they make direct sales without the middleman. Farmers helping restaurants helping farmers-- a coalition in the time of COVID.