Pandemic Spurs Local Food Access Innovation

LINC Foods, a Spokane-based worker and farmer-owned food hub known primarily for its LINC Boxes local food service, responded to the pandemic Stay at Home order this past spring with a new way for the public to buy products from local farmers. The new LINC Marketplace is an online grocery shopping experience where anyone can shop for a wide range of local food offerings. The purchased items are then available for pick up at 5 contact-free locations around the Spokane area. “When COVID started we saw that our farmers that are completely locally supported didn’t have the normal ways to market their products and many of LINC’s normal customers were shut down, so we responded by changing our business model,” says LINC marketing director Michelle Youngblom. 

As of late May the LINC Marketplace had already seen over 1,000 orders of local food from 416 households. According to Youngblom, there are over 200 products available from 40 farms and producers with more to come in June. Grocery items range from local fruit and vegetables, value-added products like salsas and spices, dairy products, eggs, flour, meats, salmon, and bread from the Grain Shed. There is no cost to shop, but users need to first complete a quick online account set up process at “It’s been really amazing to see the support for the farmers and to be able to distribute food to the community in a safe way,” adds Youngblom.

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