Hungry for Action: Building Food System Resiliency Amid COVID-19

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The COVID-19 pandemic continues to highlight the importance of the food system: all the activities, resources, and relationships that go into producing, distributing, and consuming food. Images of emptying grocery shelves filled the news as the pandemic began and many people experienced food insecurity for the first time. However, many of the health and economic disparities illuminated by the pandemic are systemic public health issues that were already critical pre-pandemic. During the initial stages of the COVID-19 response, nonprofits, private industry, and policy makers were met with the challenge of protecting the supply chain, supporting the restaurant industry's changing landscape, and addressing food access during isolation, among other challenges.

Using the Inventory’s data, the Hungry for Action report is intended to set the stage for further impact analysis. The Inventory tracked 223 retailers, restaurants, “other industry” (i.e., manufacturers and distributors), and nonprofit organizations’ responses and 69 policies from March 20 - July 15, 2020 and was compiled from publicly available information.

The learnings from the Inventory underscore how the power of partnerships—both new and established—benefited the response effort. We recommend that food system stakeholders looking to craft effective partnerships consider the following recommendations for a more nourishing, sustainable, and equitable food future:

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Updated/Published December 4, 2020