The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the launch of a hub designed to assist local and regional food producers as USDA and its partners develop, share and assess resources on local and regional food system responses to COVID-19. The Local Food System Response to COVID Resource Hub was created through USDA’s cooperative agreement with the University of Kentucky, Colorado State University and Pennsylvania State University. Local and regional farms and facilities tend to be more vulnerable to market disruptions as they are operated by smaller, new/beginning, historically underserved or low resourced producers and business owners.
This searchable database contains insights and educational material from 16 partner organizations to help local and regional food producers and businesses adapt their market strategies in the current environment.
The 16 partner organizations represent a diverse array of market channels, from direct-to-consumer to restaurants and institutions, and stakeholder groups including representatives for tribal nations and historically underserved communities:
- Center for Environmental Farming Systems
- CSA Innovation Network
- Farm to Institution New England
- Farmers Market Coalition
- The James Beard Foundation
- Local Catch Network
- National Co-op Grocers
- National Farm to School Network
- National Grocers Association Foundation
- North American Farmers Direct Marketing Association
- National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Foundation
- The Network for Incubator & Commissary Kitchens
- Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network
- University of Arkansas - Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative
- The Wallace Center
- Washington State University Bread Lab
Under the agreement, USDA is gathering real-time intelligence on what is happening in local and regional marketplaces to understand obstacles and impediments and successful marketing and production strategies and innovations. In addition to the resource hub, the project outcomes include snapshots of each part of the local food economy, case studies and highlights of innovations in the sector, and research on consumer attitudes towards local foods.
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