Breaking Beans Radio Show #34: Farming During A Pandemic

Aired: May 6, 2020

We’re all in this together. Governor Beshear reminds us of this every evening at 5. Non-profit organizations like FoodChain in Lexington have banded together to help keep folks fed. Mutual aid Facebook groups have been popping up to help people connect. People are making more things with their hands and seeking knowledge of bakers, chefs, and teachers to meet the needs of their families. Farmers and farmers market managers are adding more work to their already busy lives to ensure the production and sale of the food we all need happens safely.

Shane Fields of Sweet Bee Gardens in Greenup County is feeling positive about the situation, though, and reminded me of the other pandemics humans have faced throughout history. Even though the two farmer’s markets he’s a part of don’t open until June, he and his parents created an on-farm mini-market to get people goods like bread that have been more difficult to find as of late.


Tiffany Bellfield of Ballew Estates is busy making medicinal teas, connecting with new and expecting mothers that she doulas, and touching base with community leaders through her position with CFA all while continuing to homeschool her daughter. She’s itching to move forward on community support initiatives and having to reallocate her energy to better serve folks during this time.

Many counties in eastern Kentucky have also been fasting floods and power outages. Woody Hartlove of Hartlove Farm in Harlan Co. faced both right now and is bravely facing these hard times through the support of his wife and his own personal drive to provide the local food his community needs.

All three of this week’s producers mostly sell at their local markets. Farmers that mainly sell to restaurants, schools, and universities may be facing other challenges. CFA member Bree Pearsall is quoted in an article that speaks more on this. We’re all facing interrupted lives because of COVID-19. We aren’t all facing the same challenges, but we are all necessary to make it through.

Resources Mentioned in this Episode

From Shane Field’s interview

Sweet Bee Gardens website


Sweet Bee Gardens Facebook


Greenup County Farmers Market


Boyd Co. Farmers Market


From Tiffany Bellfield Interview

Ballew Estates Facebook


Black Soil


CFA COVID-19 Resources Page




From Woody Hartlove Interview

Hartlove Farm Website


Hartlove Farm Facebook


Grow Appalachia Website