We found acquiring protective supplies, particularly face masks and hand sanitizer, to be a challenge for a variety of groups. Water quality testing, tree plantings, farm and food processing work, forest landowner visits, and eventually small community meetings will all require physical distancing in the coming months and perhaps longer. Organizations are already juggling many new demands during the pandemic, without adding face masks and hand sanitizer to the list.
A few weeks ago, we offered to find masks and sanitizer in bulk for our grant partners. This spawned a partnership with Rural Vermont and NOFA-VT to extend the offer to Vermont’s Farmer’s Market Association and farmstands, and before we knew it, we had over 50 requests for masks and sanitizer. We quickly realized why requests were pouring in: not only are the supplies themselves in short stock, but even empty containers for sanitizer were hard to come by.
Our eventual solution: Sweet Rowen Farmstead donated half-gallon containers left over from the chocolate milk they no longer produce; Farm Connex delivered the containers to Vermont Soy in Hardwick, which then bottled hand sanitizer High Meadows had purchased from Smugglers Notch Distillery. Vermont Teddy Bear donated masks and High Meadows purchased more from Vermont Glove.