The local as a site of food security resilience in the times of pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has already significantly impacted on the UK’s food system. This project, led by Dr Anna Krzywoszynska, looks a what can be learned from this, to bolster the food systems resilience.

Woman wearing a mask in a supermarket and gloves. She is picking up an apple.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the need for a resilient UK food system to the forefront. A key element of resilience is functional diversity – the more pathways there are to meet the same goal, the more resilient a system is. Local food producers, direct sales organisations, and other local food system actors can provide such functional diversity. At the same time, these actors themselves are being unequally impacted by the pandemic and its social and economic effects. Moreover, as a result of the pandemic the very nature of what constitutes the local food system is changing.

This project engages with this dynamic landscape to investigate the role the local food sector can play in providing greater food security resilience during this time of crisis and beyond. By collaborating with key actors in the local food sector, we will co-develop a methodology to gather and communicate data about the impacts of and responses to the pandemic amongst local food actors. The project examines key aspects of food system resilience, including robustness (by capturing how different local and short food chains have responded to the immediate COVID-19 food system shock), and adaptability (gathering information on how local producers, short supply chains, and co-ordinators are adapting business models and enabling cross-scale linkages). The project also creates a structured space for long-term planning and adaptation for the sector, thus enabling the local food sector and policymakers to better respond to the impacts of the pandemic, and to maximise this sectors’ contribution to the UK’s food security.

This project is being delivered by Dr Anna Krzywoszynska, Stephen Jones, and Damian Maye (Countryside and Community Research Institute at the University of Gloucestershire).

Duration: 2020-2021


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