The Locavorian Challenge
Global crises, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, highlight the fragility of our local food system. Farmers and consumers are faced with challenges around coordinating food production and distribution. Disruptions in global and local supply chains demand that communities take creative approaches to ensure community food resilience. The ramifications of a pandemic-based disruption to local food systems include: labor shortages as workers fall ill; a shift in consumer preferences toward online purchasing and curbside pickup; reduced traffic and cancellation of farmers’ markets due social distancing; panic planting of “Victory” gardens similar to those seen during World War II; unequal access to healthy foods as Electronic Benefits Transfer and alternative forms of payment are limited via online point of sales tools; and increases in food waste as farmers lose access to traditional distribution channels.
Ensuring both long and short term community food resilience requires urgent research to understand, design, and develop technology mediated systems to coordinate the local production and distribution of fresh produce, meats, and processed foods, within a community.
Here is the recording of the first community call for this project, held virtually on April 15, 2020. To learn more and stay up to date, visit our project website.