Novel methods for an interesting time: Exploring U.S. local food systems’ impacts and initiatives to respond to COVID*

Dawn Thilmany, Lilian Brislen, Hailey Edmondson, Mackenzie Gill, Becca B.R. Jablonski, Jairus Rossi, Tim Woods, Samantha Schaffstall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health and social distancing mandates caused unprecedented shifts and disruptions for local and regional food systems (LRFS). The pandemic also brought new and heightened attention to the structure and resiliency of US food systems, and LRFS appeared to be positioned to significantly increase the scope and scale of their market reach as a result. Researchers from three universities collaborated with staff from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service to recruit leaders from sixteen key coalitions within the U.S. LRFS sector to frame an adaptive, community-driven set of applied research activities to understand important themes, learn from effective responses and gain insights into how local and regional supply chains may change post-pandemic. In this paper, we summarise urgent and emergent strategies and innovations from LRFS captured in a fall 2020 consumer survey, with additional insights on how the survey was framed and interpreted, considering synthesis of collaborative discussions and project team interactions. We conclude the article with a set of research, policy and technical assistance priorities that were identified and validated by this LRFS network.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)848-877
Number of pages30
JournalAustralian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Australasian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society Inc.


  • COVID-19
  • consumer demand
  • direct-to-consumer markets
  • e-commerce
  • food policy
  • local and regional food systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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