How one Kansas man developed a digital farmers market on Facebook

The coronavirus hammered agricultural supply chains, leaving shoppers without their usual groceries and farmers without a way to sell their products. In Kansas, one man stepped up to solve this problem with a digital farmers market where local farmers sell everything from beef and eggs to asparagus and rhubarb.

Rick McNary started a Facebook group called Shop Kansas Farms to connect farmers and ranchers in Kansas directly to the buyers. The page has grown incredibly fast, rising to 134,000 members.

“People who have begun to fear where they will get their food from during the pandemic now have easy access to information regarding the locality of farms in their communities,” McNary says.

Even after grocery stores return to normalcy, he feels confident that people will continue using the Facebook group to buy and sell produce. The group encourages farmers to tell their personal stories along with listing items.

“There are 130,000 stories that have happened [on the page] as people are getting on,” McNary says. “We have people saying, ‘I read this post every morning because it’s so inspirational.’ There are stories now attached to the food, and those are personal stories.

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