CAMP HILL, PA — As backyard gardeners and professional landscapers head into the height of the spring growing season, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is calling on Gov. Tom Wolf to allow independent garden centers to allow curbside or parking lot pick up options currently used by restaurants.
Independent garden centers typically do most of their sales in the lead up to Mother’s Day and spring planting season. Continued business closures because of COVID-19 is threatening the economic viability of garden centers.
Numerous agriculture businesses, including those with a retail component, have been considered “life-sustaining” and have adopted the appropriate social distancing and sanitation standards. However, garden centers are one of the few agriculture businesses that have not been allowed to open.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau believes that most garden centers can adopt a curbside or parking lot delivery method that restaurants are currently following to serve customers. The demand for garden products has not lessened during this crisis.
“Being able to grow your own food is both comforting and necessary and affords the public some control over their food needs. Gardens are life-sustaining and is an activity that people can enjoy at times when their regular lives are disrupted. Planting a garden gives people hope and a sense of security,” said Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Rick Ebert.
Larger retail establishments that have attached garden centers have been sent communications from state government asking them to suspend sales of garden products. However, it is tough to ascertain whether that request is being adhered to—potentially putting family-owned garden centers at a competitive disadvantage.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau believes the most pragmatic solution is to allow family-owned garden centers to offer curbside or parking lot delivery. We are calling on Gov. Tom Wolf to give garden centers this flexibility so they can open during the most critical time of their growing season.
“Spring is the busiest time for these independent, family-owned businesses. Not allowing these garden centers to open is devastating for these businesses and for the farmers that supply them with garden plants,” added Ebert.
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