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Local farmers band together to beat COVID-19

Local farms and small businesses are working together to stay afloat as COVID-19 continues to threaten their revenue.

EDEN, N.Y. — COVID-19 continues to affect businesses, of all trades and sizes.

From stores, to salons, to restaurants, even local farms. Farms like Crown Hill Farm in Eden.

Owner Missy Singer Dumars has been running her 13 acres of land for four years; successfully selling produce to chefs and restaurants throughout Western New York. But for the past five months, business has been tougher than usual, especially for a small, solo-run farm. 

As true of a farmer as she is today, Missy tells 2 On Your Side, she grew up with a golf course in her backyard. Farming, she says started as a new hobby. Fast forward to today, it's a passion project you would have to "pull her away from."

As a one-woman-show, she has successfully doubled and tripled revenue year after year. But that all changed when the pandemic hit. 

"My curve which was a nice sharp curve going up has now flattened for 2020," she said.

Dreams of hosting events, weddings, farm to table dinners at her property have all been put on hold. Right now, the focus is sustaining her land and her business. 

With the help of fellow farmers, neighbors, and loyal customers and resources like: Community Supported Agriculture, Produce Peddlers, and The Erie County Department of Agriculture and Planning's new program "Erie Grown," Missy is able to stay in business and push her produce to bring in as much money as possible.

Though this isn't how Missy envisioned 2020, she is staying optimistic.

"When you have living beings depending on you everyday to survive and to live for me it makes me get out of bed in the morning, it makes me get out of bed, put clothes on there's not an opportunity to lay around and wallow and be depressed," she said.

In addition to running Crown Hill Farm, Missy stays busy running yet another passion project of hers, a free online series called, "Women In Food." Something she hopes will one grow beyond the screen into something much bigger. 

"I've always had a really strong support network, I'm grateful for that," she said.

Something she encourages other business owners, small and large to seek out, now more than ever. 

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