Coronavirus PSA: Support Local Food Businesses. Please?

Locally roasted coffee from Catfish Coffee Roasters in Edmonton. I've stocked up!

One of the amazing things about running a site like this is having a truly global audience. While I’m based in Edmonton, Canada, NEAROF has readers around the world, from the U.S. to Brazil and everywhere in between. It’s a delight and an honour to get to share my words with people from around the globe who love food as much as I do. So thank you for visiting, for reading and for commenting on the site. I genuinely appreciate it. 

Right now, the only story that matters in the world is the spread of COVID-19, which has swept across borders and is wreaking havoc everywhere it touches – even in areas that have only just started to see its effects. My home province hasn’t even had 50 cases yet, but the stripped-bare toilet-paper and soup aisles at my local Safeway are a fairly accurate representation of the current state of mind of my fellow Canadians. 

So now that you’re here, and you clearly also care about food, let me make a personal request. As much as I write about a lot of major international food and beverage brands here at NEAROF, right now is the time to go out and support the local food businesses that make your city unique. Your neighbours need you right now, and if you’re able to, please consider shopping at local businesses that need your love and support. Your dollars are an investment in your community, and the people who run small businesses in your city or town need your money more than the giant chains do. 

Starbucks, bless ‘em, can weather the storm. But the tiny independent coffee shop or craft roaster in your community doesn’t have a giant corporate line of credit to fall back on if their revenues plummet. If you love and value local businesses, this is when you need to support them. And trust me, this message is just as valid if you’re reading me in Tennessee or Alberta. 

So while you’re picking up goods in case you have to self-isolate for a couple weeks, pick up a few pounds of beans from your local coffee roaster. Buy some dry pasta from a local specialty shop that isn’t part of a massive chain. Pick up a flat of beer from the microbrewery across town. 

The local mom-and-pop corner store (or bodega or dépanneur, depending where you’re reading this) also sells peanut butter, ramen and milk, and they need the money more than the big-box supermarket. Cash flow means the world when you have staff to pay and no way of knowing what the next few months will bring. 

Long story short, if you care about local businesses and want them to survive and thrive, this is when you need to step up and vote with your dollars. It’s not a hand out; it’s a way of showing your neighbours that you care about what they do, that you value their businesses and you want to see them continue to grow and brighten your town. 

Because without your support, this pandemic has the potential to wipe out a large chunk of the local businesses that bring vibrancy and joy to our communities. Support them now, or watch as the things that make your city unique crumble and fail as a result of a global crisis that has nothing to do with them. 

Stay safe out there,


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