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CLF and the Food Systems Response to Covid-19


The coronavirus crisis is affecting the food system and public health in ways that are evolving and becoming more dramatic every day. The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future is deeply concerned about how the pandemic is affecting food security, food access, food production, food service work and many more aspects of the food system. Through the infectious disease outbreak, we continue to engage with our partners and communities  to pursue our mission of creating a healthy, equitable, and resilient food system. Also, in line with University guidelines, the Center is continuing operations while also taking measures to help protect our staff and community by working remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic. Some of our current efforts include:

  • The Center’s Food Policy Networks project is helping food policy councils (FPCs) across the United States to connect and learn from each other about how FPCs are reducing barriers to food access and supporting food producers and food workers. Through the Food Policy Networks project, food policy council leaders are exploring the processes, challenges, and lessons learned from addressing food system concerns in their cities. Read our Impact story, Food Security in the Time of Covid-19: It’s Not Charity, It’s Justice.
  • The Center has convened a Food System Resilience Community of Practice (COP) with five US cities. The COP supports engagement among the cities as they develop food system pandemic responses, and is aimed at creating tools to support food system resilience. The Johns Hopkins Center for Civic Impact is also a partner on this project, supported by the National Science Foundation. The project builds on our prior work with Baltimore City government to create the Baltimore Food System Resilience Advisory Report in 2017.
  • The Center is kicking off two surveys in partnership with other researchers. Both will provide essential data to support policy and programmatic interventions.
    • One survey seeks to understand consumer food access and food security experiences and needs, including program interactions, across time during the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19). We will send the survey to US and Maryland consumers, and a version is already in the field in Vermont. We are interested in partnerships with those in other states as well.
    • The second survey aims to understand the experiences and perceptions of food system workers in the private sector and separately, of workers/volunteers in the community food response to Covid-19. The project aims to inform understanding of Covid-related experiences and perceptions of exposures, risks, implementation of protective actions, sufficiency of supports, and factors affecting decision-making.
  • The Center has an ongoing project to understand determinants of food system resilience. We are continuing data collection, and also collecting additional real-time indicators to provide deeper insights based on the current pandemic situation. This will include the development of a dataset with economic, social, and environmental impacts to the food system.
  • The Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center can be accessed here:

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Image: Mike Milli 2020