Lessons From COVID-19: Positioning Regional Food Supply Chains for Future Pandemics, Natural Disasters and Human-Made Crises

This project is supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), grant no. 2020-68006-33037, from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.


Lessons from COVID-19: Positioning Regional Food Supply Chains for Future Pandemics, Natural Disasters and Human-made Crises is one of 15 research initiatives nationwide to receive funding through a new AFRI program targeting rapid response solutions to the pandemic through applied research, education and extension activities. Dr. Hikaru Peterson from the Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, is leading the multi-region, multi-institution research and outreach project to assess the impact of COVID-19 on food and agricultural systems and to develop strategies for coping with future crises.

Throughout the two-year project (September 2020 - August 2022), the project team plans to accomplish the following:

  • Assess the impact of the COVID-19 on farm and food supply chain operations by surveying farmers, processors, wholesalers, retailer grocers, and restaurant owners in three study regions and consumers across the country;
  • Examine the capacity of regional food systems to support their population needs;
  • Brainstorm solutions collaboratively through focus groups and one-on-one interviews; 
  • Develop resources and strategies for current and future disruptions with supply chain stakeholders and experts; and 
  • Offer training programs for university Cooperative Extension personnel and others to strengthen support and understanding for local and regional supply chain participants at times of disruptions. 

To learn more, watch our first project webinar, sign up for future webinars or contact project managers Dr. Hikaru Peterson and Gigi DiGiacomo.


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