Local Food Systems Response to COVID


Our team of researchers conducted a national survey of over 5,000 households in the fall of 2020. The survey provides important insights into how the pandemic changed the way that U.S. households made food choices and if some of the changes may be sustained post pandemic for their household. This Food Consumer Insights series provides information about what we learned to help guide businesses along local and regional supply chains.

Latest December 2020: Neighbor Loaves

Focusing on collecting and disseminating easily digestible ideas, best practices, and readily adoptable approaches to COVID adaptation, these 1-2 page briefs are designed to be easily shared by LRFS stakeholders to support timely innovation.

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

January 25, 2021

1-2:30pm EST

Innovations in State Policy and Implications for Local and Regional Food Sectors

NASDA Foundation (National Association of State Departments of Agriculture) and Farm to Institution New England

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. 

January 25, 2021 – 1-2:30pm EST – Innovations in State Policy and Implications for Local and Regional Food Sectors

February 15, 2021 – 1-2:30pm EST – Formal and Informal Cooperative Development to Support Local and Regional Food Systems

March 15, 2021 – 1-2:30pm EST – Online Platforms: Pivots and Planning for the Future

April 19, 2021– 1-2:30pm EST – Integrating National Consumer Survey Results into Future Planning

May 17, 2021 – 1-2:30pm 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

Regional small grain value chains link local farmers, regional mills, and artisan bakers to consumers looking to support local food systems. Through the rise in popularity of artisan baking and craft brewing, the sector has enjoyed significant growth in….
Disruption to food systems, uncertainty, and food access inequities in Indian Country have been exacerbated by COVID-19. How can Tribes cultivate food sovereignty, build healthy and traditional foodways, and facilitate agricultural production? The IFAI team outlines policy-based pathways in….
Students at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy launched the Friedman Food Systems COVID-19 Connector (“Connector”), a service learning program utilizing an online platform to match organizations seeking technical assistance in their responses to COVID-19 to….

Our Partner Networks

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