Covid-19 Response

Covid-19 ResPONSE

As the short and long term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to emerge and evolve, disrupting our daily lives and challenging us to think and act differently, the Food Systems Leadership Network is offering multiple ways for members to connect with peers and experts to ask questions, exchange ideas and resources, and work together to create more equitable and resilient food systems.

Lean into this network as a resource and a source of inspiration to help you make sense out of chaos, find patterns and connections, and discover opportunities for collaborations and partnerships. See below for images of organizations in COVID response from across the country.

  • The Chicago Botanic Garden’s Windy City Harvest VeggieRx program hustled to provide contactless delivery/pick-up of over 5000 bags between March and October!

The FSLN COVID Response Listserv

This national listserv is focused specifically on identifying, amplifying, and replicating the solutions, innovations, and collaborations that are emerging in response to COVID-19. Since launching in March, the listserv has become a dynamic venue for exploring and acting on our best ideas for driving resilience and equity in our communities, and is serving as a platform for organizing around needed resources, policy shifts, collaborations, or other actions. This listserv is the FSLN’s primary channel for COVID-specific communications.

In response to questions, discussions, and themes that have emerged through the listserv, the FSLN partnered with individuals with topical expertise to deliver relevant and timely calls that addressed emerging concerns and issues and offered space for folks to exchange resources and explore opportunities. Access past calls and resources below.
During the early stages of the pandemic, the FSLN team did a bi-weekly distillation of the insights, innovations and needs that came up in discussions into brief reports that we shared back to the group, with funders, and with partners at the USDA.

We hope you’ll join this listserv to share ideas, build solidarity, and further tap into the knowledge within this national community of food systems leaders.

Access Community Wisdom

Biweekly recaps, Call notes, recordings and resources have been curated and shared in one convenient location.

Direct to Consumer Innovations in Response to COVID

How did local food businesses and orgs respond to COVID and keep feeding their communities?

When COVID hit, local food organizations were faced with both a challenge – institutional and retail sales drying up – and an opportunity – a burgeoning market of consumers looking for new, safe ways to buy food. Almost overnight, food hubs and community based nonprofits across the country pivoted from wholesale to direct to consumer markets in order to serve this growing customer base. Many hubs created box programs to ensure that communities had access to high quality food while also paying farmers and food producers a fair price. To be successful in their new modus operandi, food hubs all over the country leveraged their existing partnerships while forging new relationships to help figure out the supply chain adaptations needed to meet their new customers’ requests. On this call, we’ll hear from Katie Nixon and Alicia Ellingsworth from the Kansas City Food Hub, Nare Park from the Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement, and Christine Quane from Eastern Market on how they got creative about meeting new types of demand in response to the pandemic.

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Value Chain Adaptations During COVID-19

How are value chain practitioners adapting their practice in response to COVID-19?

How are value chain practitioners adapting their practice in response to COVID-19? Value Chain Coordination is a critical piece of food system infrastructure and food systems development. VCC is a set of activities that supports the development of food systems by helping to ensure strong sets of relationships and communication channels that make the food system able to grow, respond, and adapt. Wallace Center was joined by Hallie Casey from the Sustainable Food Center in Austin, TX, Molly Riordan from the City of Philadelphia’s Public Health Department and A-dae Briones from the First Nations Development Institute who shared how they are adapting and responding to supply chain disruptions in their communities.

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COVID-19 & Small & Mid-Sized Meat Processors: Exploring the Challenges, Solutions, & a Path Forward

How does the small scale meat supply chain respond to a pandemic?

While COVID-19 has disrupted and exposed the vulnerability of large industrial meat processors, it has also highlighted new and longstanding challenges faced by small and mid-sized processors. Within this context, solutions are emerging that address the challenges in the short term and offer a path forward towards lasting change. Jessica Roosa from This Old Farm, Rebecca Thistlethwaite from Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network, and Kelly Nuckolls from National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition explore the impact that COVID-19 is having on small and medium sized meat processors, how they’re adapting to these challenges, and the changes underway to alleviate pressure and ensure lasting change.

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Using Maps for Food Systems Access and Planning

With COVID-19 disruptions in supply chains, mapping and analyzing food availability and flows can be powerful tools in guiding emergency food response and future food system planning.

With COVID-19 disruptions in supply chains, mapping and analyzing food availability and flows can be powerful tools in guiding emergency food response and future food system planning. On this call, we looked at the way communities have used mapping to collect and share information on food access. The second part of the discussion gives a systems overview of how segments of food supply chains interact at different scales, for different products, and for different end-users. This includes the patterns food distribution followed before COVID-19 and what the patterns might be after the pandemic. We were joined by: Sara Oberle, RDN, Extension Teacher, UNH Cooperative Extension Brooke Kelleher, Program Assistant, UNH Cooperative Extension Michelle Miller, Associate Director of Programs, UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems

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COVD-19 Resource Spreadsheet
This spreadsheet is a compilation of key resources that have been curated from across the country and organized by category. This is an open and working document – please contribute to it!

Have ideas for how we can best support you? Email us at [email protected] 

Local Food Systems Response to COVID Team

The Wallace Center is partnering with the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service along with a team led by the University of Kentucky are conducting a research project to document and disseminate innovations and best practices from local and regional food systems leaders in response to the COVID pandemic. Wallace Center is thrilled to be a partner in this research to share the brilliant resilience and creativity of the value chain businesses and organizations in our community. Learn more about the project and access resources here!

Sign up for The Listserv

Please note, it may take up to 24 hours to access the listserv