Impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on local food distribution in Québec, Canada: Challenges and opportunities

Authors: Kerstin Schreiber*, Department of Geography, McGill University, Bernard Soubry, Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Graham K MacDonald, Department of Geography, McGill University
Topics: Food Systems, Sustainability Science, Canada
Keywords: local food system, resilience, Covid-19, adaptive capacity, food supply
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 31
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Coinciding with growing interest in local food across the Global North, the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the vulnerability of food systems to disturbances. Advocates have been promoting local food systems as more resilient and capable to adapt thanks to their embeddedness in local economic and ecological networks. As part of our case study on farmers participating in local food supply chains in Québec, we identify the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on food production, distribution, and marketing in the province. Our primary concern are the challenges and opportunities farmers continue to face, and how their embeddedness in local food economies fosters or limits their resilience to the pandemic. We investigate this question using a mixed methods approach. In March 2021, we sent an online questionnaire to 1,000 farmers in Québec identified through four websites that list local producers in Québec offering direct marketing. 130 farmers completed and submitted the questionnaire. We conducted 16 virtual, semi-structured, qualitative follow-up interviews with farmers who submitted the questionnaire to gain a better understanding of adaptation strategies, and the specific challenges and opportunities for their production and marketing system due to the pandemic. We will present the preliminary results of our study in this session.

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