EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to clarify the province’s rules around whether farmers markets can continue to operate.
A group of Edmonton businesses are hoping to keep afloat by bringing their products right to your door.
The “YEG Survival Kit” is filled with locally-made goodies and is available to order online.
It launched after several planned vendor markets were cancelled due to COVID-19 over the weekend, said Colleen Heidecker of Colleen’s Chocolates, as a way to move products that had already been made and would go bad if they weren’t sold.
“Originally it was like, OK, everything that’s perishable, let’s gather all those people, let’s get all that stuff out,” Heidecker said.
“Today we’ll finish delivery on 30 boxes.”
The kit comes as Albertans are being asked to practice social distancing and stay home if sick. On Tuesday, the province declared a state of emergency and added aggressive new rules on social distancing.
One of those rules includes a ban on gatherings of 50 or more. While the province originally said that would apply to local farmers markets, on Friday, March 20, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health said farmers markets are being treated like grocery stores or malls, and can remain open.
However, she stressed the importance of social distance and proper handwashing. Alberta Health also stressed that there may be extenuating circumstances to a specific location that officials are not aware of. All markets are encouraged to work with AHS to assess what is needed.
“For many of us, this is our only source of income,” said Heidecker.
However, she said there’s hope, since the box has been in high demand since it launched. The team is working to coordinate deliveries even if people are under quarantine.
“We’re getting a lot of people that are like , ‘I’m sick, I’m quarantined. Just text me and leave it on the doorstep.'”
When it launched, the YEG Survival Kit team was originally five vendors, but has since grown to 12, and is welcoming any other local makers to reach out if they’d like to take part. It includes a variety of food, including from Not Your Baba’s perogies, El Gringo Foods, The Hungry Hippo Bakery and the Stony Plain Pie Shoppe.
“The response has been amazing. The thing I love about Edmonton is we support local and we support small business.”
Heidecker added that they plan to continue with the kits through the quarantine and most likely afterwards as well.
“We’re going to keep this up. And with the way the response has been, I think it’s here to stay.”
The group offers regular, gluten-free, pork-free, spicy and vegan box options.