Local Food Supply Chain Dynamics and Resilience during COVID-19

Dawn Thilmany, Elizabeth Canales, Sarah A. Low, Kathryn Boys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Local and regional food systems (LRFS) innovated during COVID-19 to respond to market demand and policy changes. Given their unique characteristics, we identify drivers that explain why local responses to COVID-19 vary when compared with the national dialogue on food supply chain disruptions. We suggest LFRS enterprises are nimble and connected to supply chain partners, allowing them to innovate quickly with a targeted approach. Considering the shorter supply chains and smaller operations typical of LRFS, we assert the current regulatory environment's fairness and relevance may be scrutinized. In conclusion, we articulate an updated research and technical assistance agenda for LRFS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-104
Number of pages19
JournalApplied Economic Perspectives and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors want to acknowledge the excellent research assistance provided by Erin van Fleet, Maria Kuhns, and Austin Sanders. We thank Jeff O'Hara, an anonymous reviewer and Craig Gundersen for comments on an earlier draft. The authors also wish to acknowledge the funding and support they received from the Colorado, Missouri, North Carolina, and Mississippi Ag Experiment Stations and Colorado State University, Mississippi State University, North Carolina State University, and University of Missouri Extension Services, with long‐term support from USDA NIFA through the Specialty Crops and Food Systems (S1088) and Enhancing Rural Economic Opportunities (NE1749) regional research committees to which we belong.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Agricultural & Applied Economics Association


  • COVID-19
  • Food policy
  • Q13
  • Q18
  • R12
  • direct-to-consumer markets
  • e-commerce
  • local and regional food systems


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