Farmer's Fridge gives relief to coronavirus quarantined by selling healthy food

How the coronavirus is impacting farmers

FOX Business’ Grady Trimble discusses the impact of coronavirus on farmers and supply chains.

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Healthy food vending machines are sprouting up in hospitals and apartment buildings throughout the country to fuel healthcare workers and residents during the ongoing coronavirus quarantine.

Chicago-based Farmer’s Fridge, which sells salads and fresh foods in refrigerated vending machines, is expanding production with mini-fridges stocked in hospitals throughout the United States to fuel healthcare staffers working on the frontlines of COVID-19.

CEO Luke Saunders is working with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, a food bank, to donate meals the company doesn’t sell, and he is offering discounts to healthcare workers.

“Demand has massively shifted. Everyone who was buying food at their office building or their company space is obviously home now," Saunders told FOX Business. "Now, we’re catering more to essential workers and people at home.”

A Farmers Fridge was recently installed Jersey City residential building Soho Lofts making it easier for residents to access fresh food. (Courtesy of Farmer’s Fridge). 

Most of Farmer's Fridge locations that are still open are in hospitals, and the company has discounted meals by 25 percent for everyone still at work of Saunders said.


Farmer’s Fridge, which has the capacity to serve millions of meals a year through its more than 250 kiosks, also launched a food delivery program in Chicago, New York, New Jersey and Indianapolis. It's meals cost between $6 to $7 on average for deliveries of up to $50. And luxury residential buildings have enlisted the fridges as healthy amenities for residents who stuck inside during the quarantine and cannot leave their building.

Meals include about 25 salads, like a cauliflower buffalo salad, an Asian chopped salad and chipotle chicken salad wraps and overnight oats.  Thirty-percent of the food used for Farmer’s Fridge meals comes directly from local farms and bread is bought from nearby bakeries.


Like Farmer's Fridge, a number of farmers throughout the country have started  to deliver food to their neighbors because of services like Amazon, Instacart and grocery stores have supply shortages. A couple who own a farm in Oklahoma started making deliveries of lettuce and other greens to people's front porch, according to Reuters.

The coronavirus global health crisis could cost regional food suppliers and local farmers more than $600 million in lost sales from March to May, according to researchers from Colorado State University and the University of Missouri, which could result in up to $1.15 billion in losses, according to the research.

A number of food purveyors are ramping up their operational efforts to help people in need amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Rethink Food, a New York-based nonprofit that repurposes unused food from grocery stores and restaurants is providing $40,000 grants to restaurants across New York City through its “restaurant response program.” The funding will provide around 1,000 meals per day for people who are in need of affordable food. There’s a $5 suggested donation and the money will go back into the program.

And celebrate chef Jose Andres’s converted his restaurants in D.C. and New York into a community kitchen to churn out take out meals sold on discounts or for free of charge to community members in need.


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