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.
Bibliographical noteFunding 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.
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- Food policy
- direct-to-consumer markets
- local and regional food systems