Community Support Initiative by Ag Organizations
For several months now, the COVID-19 pandemic has been impacting people's health, life, and habits around the world. Closed borders, lockdowns and social distancing are putting many industries at risk. The agriculture industry in Imperial Valley is certainly concerned about this. It was just a couple of months ago that, in this land of abundance, we experienced food shortages at the local stores. This was not a supply issue, but a demand and distribution issue. The good news is that the distribution logistic issue has been eased, and the supply of food for the majority of items is now readily available.
Agriculture is an essential service and we continue to grow and harvest the crops on our routine cycle—onions, sweet corn, and melons. Our cattle industry continues to buy locally produced crops to feed our over 300,000 head of cattle. Our forage farmers continue to farm their fields year around. Despite difficult market situations for all of our farms and ranches, we continue to feed the nation and world through this difficult time.
As we continue to work to feed you, we wish to recognize and support other essential services. Imperial County Farm Bureau, Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association, and Imperial Valley Water showed their appreciation for these frontline workers by providing lunch on Wednesday, April 22nd to the caring nurses and physicians at the emergency rooms and intensive care units at Pioneers Memorial Hospital and El Centro Regional Medical Center as well as the Urgent Care at the Pioneers Memorial Heffernan facility in Calexico. The food was ordered from and delivered by two locally owned restaurants, Inferno in Brawley and Junior’s in El Centro. With the current restrictions, our local restaurants need our support and we were pleased to provide it in this way.
Our second effort was completed the next week with the delivery of meal preparation packages to thirteen fire stations throughout Imperial Valley. Our eight local feedlot operators have generously donated local beef to be prepared in the fire station. Included in the package was locally grown sweet corn from Five Crowns, and onions from Badlands, Lawrence Cox Ranches and Horizon Farms as well as locally grown and produced olive oil from Don Barioni. IID Director Bruce Kuhn supplied the popular “Bruno’s Seasoning” to complete the package. We thank our always generous farmers and ranchers for these donations. Our firefighters include paramedics who, like nurses and physicians, are on the front lines during this pandemic.
The third effort was the purchase of bottle water for the Imperial Valley Food Bank to help supplement their efforts. We have also encouraged the ag community to support the Imperial Valley Food Bank in that separate fund raising activity.
It is times like this that the community should work together to help each other. These efforts are just a small token of appreciation to show our gratitude for the service of the nurses, physicians, firefighters, paramedics, and restaurant owners and staff who continue to serve us during this time. We continue to pray for our community and the nation as we all get through this hard time together.