Philadelphia urban farm adapts to provide flowers, plants to customers

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Spring is typically the busiest season for growers as people get gardens going, but as with almost all businesses, growers have found they needed to adapt to survive due to COVID-19.

When the COVID-19 crisis started, workers at Greensgrow Farms, in Philadelphia's Kensington section, had to find a way for the farm to get flowers and plants to customers.

"When this crisis broke out, I was like we don't have the opportunity to just let our product sit here and then sell it in July instead," said executive director, Meg Debrito. "We either need to decide to continue selling to the public or we will shutter completely, and likely not be able to function throughout the rest of the year."

It was the only way the non-profit could survive and continue the community education they offer.

They set up an online ordering site called "Plants at a Distance." The set-up gives customers a way to pick up flowers and plants while staying socially distanced.
Customers place orders and pay online, then they're given a pick-up window with 48 hours.

When customers arrive, they find their order already placed on a metal shelf, and they can walk away with their flowers, herbs and plants without coming into contact with anyone.

"They have about 11 feet of space around them, and they're the only one allowed in that corral at any particular time," said Debrito. "They are able to select their entire order off a metal cart that has been sterilized and use another metal cart, that's also been sterilized, to take it to their cars. So they don't have to have any direct contact with my employees."

Debrito also mentioned the company doesn't have any monetary exchange or register exchange on site, further protecting her employees and customers from potential contact.

The rules vary for different growers and gardening retailers. Greensgrow is able to operate because it is a working farm, It is worth checking with your favorite grower to see if they're offering an option to pick up items.
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