Local Food Systems Response to COVID

Building Better Beyond

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.

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.

Latest Additions

  • Webinar May 17, 2021
    Next Steps to Support the Local Food System During Pandemic Recovery: USDA’s Perspective
  • Innovation Brief May 2021
    Reclaiming Innovation in Indigenous Food Systems: Navigating COVID-19 disruptions and enacting post-colonial foodways
  • Case Study
    Using Budgets To Help Farmers Markets Adapt To COVID-19’S Disruptive Impacts
  • Innovation Brief April 2021
    PreK & K-12 Schools as Access Points for Local Food
  • Consumer Food Insights
    COVID-19 Food Channel Expenditure Shares: Trends Across Time and Consumer Perceptions
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.


Latest Webinar May 17, 2021

1-2:30pm EST

Next Steps to Support the Local Food System During Pandemic Recovery: USDA’s Perspective

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. 

May 17, 2021 – 1-2:30pm EST – Next Steps to Support the Local Food System During Pandemic Recovery: USDA’s Perspective

Social distancing mandates and economic disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic led to unprecedented changes in where, how, and what food U.S. consumers purchased and acquired.

A Fall 2020 national survey of 5,000 households and this project’s Consumer Food Insights series provide insights of how consumers are differently interacting with the food system.

This Webinar’s discussion will combine survey findings with perspectives from industry leaders to better inform businesses along local and regional supply chains about important drivers and suggest to partners and technical assistance providers where there may be new opportunities to support this sector.

Speakers: Dar Wolnik, Farmers Market Coalition and Jimmy Wright, Wright Food Solutions (National Grocers Association) and Andy Ollove, The Fresh Approach

Project Reps: Dawn Thilmany (CSU), Sarah Rocker (Penn State NERCRD), Hailey Edmondson (CSU), Mackenzie Gill (CSU), Jairus Rossi (UK)

(Webinars will be recorded and posted on our website)

Latest Resources

In 2020, FMC piloted an annual report to highlight farmers market adaptations and trends in the era of COVID-19. These types of reports can be used to demonstrate a market’s flexibility and highlight its successes stemming from market innovations….
Tribal nations collaborate through coordinating entities, such as the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative (IFAI) to develop policy-based innovations while supporting new programming and sharing best practices. Important areas of work during COVID-19 include targeted efforts to expand livestock….

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