California's Regional Agri-Food Systems: Resilience and Adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic

Authors: Jennie Durant*, University of California, Berkeley, Ryan Galt*, University of California, Davis, Gwyneth Manser*, University of California, Davis, Sasha Pesci, University of California, Davis, Lauren Asprooth*, University of California, Davis, Natalia Pinzon*, University of California, Davis, Maywa Montenegro, Human Ecology, UC Davis
Topics: Food Systems, Regional Geography
Keywords: Pandemic, Covid-19, crises, regional food systems, resiliency
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 31
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing unprecedented impacts on the food system, and the way that food producers respond now will have long-term impacts on the ways that food is produced, processed, distributed, and consumed. The resiliency of regional food systems makes them well-poised to respond to many of the resulting challenges of the pandemic. Focusing on three regions in central and northern California, we implemented a survey to assess: how locally-oriented food producers experienced the pandemic, how they adjusted their operations in light of the disturbances caused by the pandemic, and which resources and relationships helped them successfully respond to these changes during the time period of March-August 2020. We also examined the structural, political, economic, and socio-cultural conditions that enabled and challenged producers' ability to successfully respond to these rapid changes.

Our presentation will discuss results relating to how the pandemic has shifted food production and marketing practices, which resources and relationships helped regional producers be more successful in responding to the challenges of the pandemic, and how federal and state relief program funding was distributed among farmers along the lines of social difference (race, gender, age) and farm size. Obtaining real-time data on producer experiences and responses, as well as assistance programs, will be important to identify particular strategies and resources to inform how producers, government agencies, and organizations respond to the ongoing pandemic, as well as future crises.

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