As COVID-19 continues to affect our daily routines, the New Roots team from Cultivate KC and Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas has developed a plan for the season that prioritizes the safety of our farmers, staff, and customers. Food safety has always been a priority for our program, and we’re reevaluating all of our practices to ensure it’s our top priority.

Like others, we are following recommendations from the CDC, regarding hygiene practices, and are monitoring updates from both national (USDAFDA) and local food safety experts about additional precautions. According to all 3 of these sources, there is currently no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Everyone needs to eat, and we feel that New Roots for Refugees, and our network of over 20 graduate farmers, can play a crucial role in feeding our community during this time.

Here are measures we’re taking to ensure the safety of our community:

  • We’ve cancelled all classes and in-person meetings; all New Roots staff, both at Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, and Cultivate KC, are working remotely
  • We’ve called all of the farmers in our program and passed on the information we have via interpreters, including sharing our food safety plans, and getting feedback so that we can make decisions collectively about our program.
  • Our greenhouse remains open, but we’ve put extra precautions in place:
    • Farmers will practice social distancing at the farm, staying 6 ft. away from each other at all times
    • All shared surfaces will be cleaned and sanitized after use (doorknobs, faucets, watering cans)
    • Hand washing supplies are available in the greenhouse and farmers will wash their hands often, following CDC directions
    • Staff is providing supplies to farmers on an as-needed basis, communicating via phone/text and leaving supplies out for farmers to access on their own
  • We have spoken with the 4 graduate farmers providing produce for the Spring GreensFarm Share, and decided to postpone delivery for 2 weeks. This will give our staff & farmers time to revisit our food safety procedures and determine any additional precautions to take.
    • As a result of delaying the Spring Greens share, we will also delay both summer seasons one week, so as not to overlap them. Below are the new dates for each session:
      • Spring Greens (April 9-May 14)
      • Early Summer (May 20-July 30)
      • Late Summer (August 12-October 22)
    • We’re evaluating all of our packing and delivery systems and finding ways to minimize risk.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Talk to us! Did you already buy a share and you’re worried about food safety? Were you interested but have more questions now? Would you be willing to pay more for home delivery? Are there 10 or more folks in your neighborhood that want fresh produce? Have other ideas for how we can get produce to you and your community? Visit:
  • Donate fresh, local veggies to your neighbors in need via our “share-a-share” program on Farmigo.
  • Many local farmers’ markets are also exploring options on how to get fresh, local food safely to customers, including delivery and pick-up options. Follow your local market on social media, sign up for their emails, and buy from New Roots farmers when that option becomes available.
  • Catholic Charities is continuing to provide life-saving services (food, shelter, medical) during this crisis, and many of our clients need support now more than ever. Read more and donate here.
  • Cultivate KC is working closely with farmers and other agencies across the city during this crisis to figure out the logistics of maintaining access to healthy local food for low-income families and seniors through Double Up Food Bucks and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Programs. We will update our website and social media as plans are made. If you know of farmers who need information, or low-income families who need access to DUFB and SFMNP, please reach out to Cultivate KC.