TOPEKA, Kan. – The Facebook group, Shop Kansas Farms was created in late April, now a month later, it’s connecting more than 132,000 people.
People and businesses post food for sale like meats, cheeses, honey, eggs, and vegetables from around the state.
“They supply us with so much, we need to support them,” Roxy Sawter, a baker in Topeka, said about farmers.
Sawter owns Miss Roxy’s Bakery in Topeka. She makes breads and pastries from Kansas wheat. She normally sells her products at farmers markets, but now she’s getting orders from Facebook.
“It really opened up my customer base, I’ve been shipping all over the last couple of weeks, all over Kansas, and a lot of local people that didn’t know that I existed,” Sawter said.
The group began when Rick McNary, the creator of the page, found out there were meat shortages in grocery stores due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I thought, how can I connect my friends with the folks that are growing this beef, and how do I make that connection, so I started the Shop Kansas Farms,” McNary said.
Then thousands of people started interacting.
“People started looking for answers to that solution, they started really looking for hope, if the big supply chains can’t provide that food for us, where else are we going to do it, so finding hope in people that are farmers,” McNary said.
The group is helping people support small businesses and farmers during the tough times.
“I don’t think that people realize how many local businesses are out there,” Sawter said. “It’s easy to just stop at Walmart, or Hy-Vee, or Dillons, but when there’s so much around them that they could get that’s fresh, that’s not coming in frozen or made in such a large quantity in a factory, you’ve got someone who cares about what they’re doing, and it just means a lot.”