HEGINS, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – A local farmer has created a Facebook page connecting local food producers with consumers across the commonwealth.
Heidi Flory, a contract grower for commercial broilers and owner of a small calf operation on her farm in Hegins turned to social media to help create a community bond. The Facebook page, PA Farm to Family Table +, has already grown to nearly 3400 members in just a few weeks.
“I started the Facebook page kind of when the pandemic started,” Flory told Eyewitness News. “I was noticing the disconnect between consumers and their food. I always knew there was one, but it came very apparent.”
With the coronavirus pandemic making it difficult to find certain products at the store, Flory wanted to make a non-political page to explain why this may be the case and to show where your food comes from, along with how to get it.
“My primary goals were to educate people on what actually goes through to get to the grocery store and then also connect local farmers with consumers directly, so when they can’t find things in the store, they know they can get it locally, there’s not a shortage.” Flory said.
Meats and dairy aren’t the only things found on to the group’s page. Members can advertise or find products such as soaps, nursery plants, produce and even information on local events. It also reaches far outside of Schuylkill County.
“It’s mostly within Pennsylvania, a lot of it at this point is central and northeast. We are starting to get people in from some of the further counties are sharing the group and getting connected that way.” Flory said.
Flory says the group started with nearly seventy producers on the list. Now, they are continuing to make the page easy to connect with producers within specific counties.
“We are working on a list by county now of producers that hopefully will be able to post and everybody can just go in and find the county they are looking for and then find the products that they want.” Flory said.
A poll with the producers on the Facebook page revealed that a majority of the members saw an increase in business traffic since joining. While it started in part because of the pandemic, Flory told Eyewitness News she intends to keep the group going after the coronavirus.
Flory says she’s using her platform as Dauphin County Elite Miss United Atates Agriculture to continue her facebook group and promote food for thought.