Pitman, PA to Bronx, NY
By Whitney Davis June 12, 2020
This past weekend, The Farmlink Project delivered 21,600 eggs from High Family Farms in Pitman, Pennsylvania, to La Morada Restaurant in the Bronx, New York. Amidst the initial COVID-19 outbreak that has disproportionately affected communities in the Bronx and recent actions in the Black Lives Matter movement, The Farmlink Project helped deliver these eggs to active protestors.
Prior to the pandemic, High Family Farms has historically been in the business of selling liquid eggs within contracts to educational institutions. After COVID-19, Merlin High, head of the family business, had to find an alternate mode of selling his products in the local market. The initial school closures halted his means of distribution, and Merlin was producing 280,000 eggs every week that would have forced him to euthanize a number of his 80,000 chickens if he couldn’t find another revenue source. A friend in the farmer community who was having similar issues in finding ways to repackage, repurpose, and resell their liquified eggs referred Merlin to The Farmlink Project.
Liquified eggs face various barriers of access when it comes to finding new outlets for distribution into the market. Merlin not only had to repackage his eggs from liquid to solid and transfer them from cartons to trays, but he also faced transportation issues. Eggs need to be refrigerated in cold storage, large quantities, and in an appropriate time frame so that they do not go bad.
“One chicken farmer interviewed recently in Washington Monthly, who sells millions of eggs into the liquified egg market, destined for omelets in school cafeterias, lacks the grading equipment and packaging (not to mention the contacts or contracts) to sell his eggs in the retail marketplace” (Pollan 2020).
Merlin utilized The Farmlink Project as a bridge to these various problems; The Farmlink Project was able to bring together multiple teams across our project to connect Merlin to Yajaira at La Morada Restaurant. Meanwhile, Yajaira has been busy feeding at-risk communities in the Bronx.
Located in the South Bronx, La Morada Restaurant is an undocumented family-owned business working to preserve and share their Mexican heritage and cuisine. Under such pretenses, La Morada is unable to receive relief or aid from any government forces during such unprecedented economic and social circumstances. Fighting to feed marginalized communities and families in need, La Morada has kept their doors open for months and has recently been feeding frontline protestors. By delivering Merlin’s 21,600 eggs from Pennsylvania to New York, Merlin prevented a loss in revenue and food waste and Yajaira was able to feed protestors in her area.
On behalf of La Morada Restaurant: “We love sharing culture, art, and community initiatives while actively [participating] in social justice causes”.
By engaging with High Family Farms and La Morada Restaurant, The Farmlink Project is able to stand for something greater than just food: we are the link for small-businesses and the voice for feeding, advocating, and advancing communities of color who have been historically left out. Although our delivery was smaller than those previously seen, The Farmlink Project is actively educating ourselves to find and link those in need.