Supporting Farm Retailers through Coronavirus

The nation’s Farm Shops and Farmers Markets are working incredibly hard to adapt on behalf of their customers in these challenging times. All striving to serve fantastic quality, fresh local food in a safe setting. A huge thanks for all your hard work – your efforts to feed the nation are hugely appreciated by us and your customers.

This hub of online resources has been collated to help you during these times. This page will continually be updated with support packs, info sheets and useful articlesplus details of any relevant legislations and government updates. 

Please contact Jenny Rose at with any queries or suggestions.

Government guidance for food businesses on coronavirus

Government guidance tells us that it is very unlikely that you can catch coronavirus from food. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. It is not known to be transmitted by exposure to food or food packaging. 

The FSA has produced guidance for takeaways and food delivery businesses in response to COVID-19. The guidance covers taking an order, hygiene and allergen guidance for food delivery and delivering food orders.

Food Standards Scotland has created a Q&A in relation to COVID-19 and food. This includes steps to take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in food businesses, cleaning of premises and equipment, and employee safety relating to social distancing and PPE.

Upcoming online sessions

We’re committed to supporting you and creating opportunities for you to share your experiences, learn from one-another as well as hearing from industry experts. Please feel free to register for our FREE upcoming online workshops created for farm retailers.

How can we use this opportunity to build our social following and keep new customers?

We don’t know when ‘normality’ will resume, so your business needs to reconsider the way you communicate with your customers. Creating the right kind of messaging, defining a new purpose and focus is key to social media success. The FRA partnered with Susan Hallam MBE to explore:

  • Defining your new social tone of voice
  • Creating the right kinds of content
  • Updating your social media plan
  • Your top 5 social media steps to take for your business to thrive when time get tough

Demand for wholesale fruit and veg

If you’re struggling to get your hands on certain fruit & vegetables, our friends at Total Produce may be able to help.

Demand for wholesale fruit and veg has risen sharply in recent weeks and wholesalers are working around the clock to keep fresh produce supply chains open, just as retailers are doing all they can to keep their shelves stocked. A number of factors are affecting supply; we’re at the end of the Spanish season and heading into the Dutch season, which has meant shortages with some salads & vegetables. Gaps in certain lines can be quite common at this time of year but the recent warm weather here should get things moving along quicker with the UK season.

Things are changing daily and the situation regarding availability is fast moving. Total Produce are working with growers across Europe & beyond, with a network of local Depots based between Glasgow and Southampton, whom they would be happy to signpost you to, if you needed. Please contact Natalie for an informal chat at

“How do I go from being being a pure ‘bricks and mortar’ shop to selling products online?”

Are you unsure which level of online retail is right and realistic for your business?

The EPOS Bureau have developed a helpful information pack exploring the benefits and drawbacks of:

  • Click and collect
  • Online shop
  • Order and collect

They have developed in-house solutions that suit different sizes of businesses, with different staffing levels and varying budgets.

Click and Collect

Click and Collect, Home Deliveries

Where to start? Are you considering setting up a click and collect or call and collect service for your customers? Or operating a home delivery option? The FRA hosted a group discussion with 30 of our members to talk through the positives and pitfalls. Please note, these are suggestions only – this is intended as guidance and support for those considering going down this retail route. The call took place on Tuesday 24th March. Please see:

  • Full presentation from Ian Kelsall of Insight6 who kindly hosted this session – DOWNLOAD
  • Ian’s suggested template for installing a Food to Go system – feel free to use and tweak for your own purposes – DOWNLOAD
  • Brief notes taken during the discussion – DOWNLOAD

Thanks to Ian Kelsall for his time and expertise. Ian would be happy to hear from you if you have any further queries or would like to discuss accessing further support.

Start taking online orders – keep the tills ringing

Are you looking for ways to sell your products online? We’ve partnered FRA Associate Member Payment Sense who will provide our members with a unique offering: a free website and free virtual terminal. Find out more and chat with Tim directly to discuss how this could work for your business.

  • Completely free website to take orders online
  • Free Virtual Terminal for taking payments over the phone and email
  • Get your cash in quicker with Next Day Settlement

Do you need mobile and remote payment options?

FRA partner iZettle can help with card reading machines; online payment links that you can send to your customer by text message, Whatsapp, social media or email; online invoicing; gift cards; and a dedicated support hotline.

Calves Lane Farm & pyo

PYO’s – things to consider during the pandemic

On Thursday 2nd April 2020, a group of 20 PYO members of the Farm Retail Association got together via web call to discuss the potential hurdles they may need to overcome in light of Coronavirus. Please see notes from that call linked below, should any fellow PYO operators find this useful. We intend to catch up again as and when relevant.

Online ticketing options

Limiting visits via an online ticketing system was mentioned as a useful tool.

Rob uses ‘Merlin’ for his Pumpkin Festival and finds is well priced and easy to use. They have provided some helpful PYO specific guidelines HERE.

The FRA also partner with digitickets, which is used by many of our members. To discuss their options you can visit their website or contact

Guild of Fine Food – support resources

The FRA are proud  to work alongside the Guild of Fine Food. They have created an extremely helpful support page with fact sheets, printable signage, and a map of producers, retailers and distributors who either have stock or need supplies.

ACS logo

Template letters stating that your staff are key workers

The ASC have provided template letters which you can downloaded to show that:

  • Your staff member is a key worker and their child must still go to school/needs childcare – DOWNLOAD
  • Your staff member is a key worker and is permitted to travel to work – DOWNLOAD

See their full Coronavirus retailer resource kit here.

John Stanley – online videos

Retail Guru John Stanley has created ‘The Online Gathering‘, a Facebook group where he shares ideas and issues to help each other survive during this period of economic disruption in order to thrive once some form of normality returns to the market place. You can view all of his topical videos via the button below, or subscribe to updates from The EPOS Bureau for content shared directly to your inbox.

Farmers Today

Farmers markets

  • Organisers of farmers markets may find the above click and collect info pack useful, if you are working with stallholders to develop an alternative retail offering for customers. 
  • We also have a Facebook group for you to chat amongst yourselves and share ideas and support about how you are overcoming challenges. All welcome, please request to join here.
  • Kerry Rankine from Growing Communities’ farmers’ market in Stoke Newington, London. kindly shared an update on the measures they are taking – see document here.
  • Listen to the Farmers Markets & Coronavirus piece on Farming Today, 27.3.20.

The impact of Coronavirus on employment law

Kerry and Dan Wilson run Bourne Valley PYO. Kerry has also been qualified as a lawyer for many years, now specialising in employment law. Kerry has been working hard to offer up to the minute advice on the new guidelines and legislative provisions surrounding employment.

Read her report for advice on:

  • What employment law changes have been made?
  • What is ‘furlough leave’?
  • The government’s job retention scheme
  • Deciding which staff go on furlough leave
  • Annual leave and salaries

Home delivery – driver safety

With more and more members turning to home delivery as a means of getting goods to consumers, and putting on this amazing service with days, rather than months of planning, we’ve had some helpful guidance from Adrian, a Driver Risk Management Consultant to ensure you have not forgotten any safety measures or legal requirements.

Need more cars for delivery driving?

FRA members can save 25% on car hire with Enterprise. Enterprise is dedicated to keeping Britain’s Essential Services moving through these difficult times. That’s we’re offering 25% off personal car hire to all Farm Retail Association members.


Deputy users

If you use Deputy, please log into your account and message the chat support asking for COVID relief. Deputy will offer you 50% off for March and 100% off for April with delayed payment to May. This will ensure you are still able to communicate with everyone of your staff without taking users off the account during this uncertain time.

Toilet rolls

We have found a toilet roll supplier who can deliver supplies to your store. At the moment they don’t have capacity to take on large orders, but this may change in due course. Their product is plastic-free, zero-emissions, uk-made, eco friendly.

Malcolm Scott consultants

Andrew Burton, from Malcolm Scott Consultants, an FRA associate member, specialises in  planning and business operational needs. He has been reviewing the affects which the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak may be having on Farm Shops. Andrew has shared his observations from his research, which our FRA members may like to consider in support of their business at this current time.

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