Local Food Systems Response to COVID


The COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health and social distancing mandates caused unprecedented shifts and disruptions for Local and Regional Food Systems (LRFS). Impacts on farm enterprises, value chain stakeholders, market channels, and food system infrastructure are both vast and varied, and require rapid adaptation by all involved. The pandemic has also brought new and heightened attention to our food system, and LRFS may be positioned to significantly increase the scope and scale of their market reach as a result.
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) along with the cooperating research team led by the University of Kentucky seek to enrich existing efforts within LRFS communities of practice who provide essential support to our nation’s local food producers. During this moment of simultaneous disruption and rapid innovation, our project supports LRFS communities of practice by documenting and disseminating innovations and best practices developed on the ground and drawing on LRFS thought leaders to frame research on COVID-related shifts in LRFS markets with the aim of supporting long term resilience.

Upcoming Webinars

December 21st

1-2pm EST

Emergency Food, Charity, and the Local Food System

Center For Environmental Farming Systems, NAFDMA Agritourism Association, Local Catch Network

Join us on the 3rd Monday of each month for a facilitated cross-sectoral discussion on topics including customer retention and engagement, emergency food, cooperative business models, state policies and consumer behavior. 

December 21, 2020 – 1-2pm EST – Emergency Food, Charity, and the Local Food System

January 25, 2021 – 1-2pm EST – Innovations in State Policy and Implications for Local and Regional Food Sectors

February 15, 2021 – 1-2pm EST – Formal and Informal Cooperative Development to Support Local and Regional Food Systems

March 15, 2021 – 1-2pm EST – Online Platforms: Pivots and Planning for the Future

April 19, 2021– 1-2pm EST – Integrating National Consumer Survey Results into Future Planning

May 17, 2021 – 1-2pm EST – Next Steps to Support the Local Food System in Times of Uncertain Consumer Behavior

(Webinars will be recorded and posted on our website)

Latest Resources

There are a lot of different types of tourism “trails,” from vineyards to bird watching hotspots. Oyster Trails are an emerging concept that combine food, agritourism, and shellfish farming. These trails have existed in the United States since at….
Public markets systems in North America are both agile and fragile. When the coronavirus pandemic caused widespread stay-at-home orders and business closures, many markets across the continent stayed open, continuing to safely provide fresh and healthy food to residents….

Our Partner Networks

(Click on logo for partner profile and resources)


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