The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected people worldwide, disrupting food access and security. To understand how food systems and security are impacted during this pandemic, an online survey was launched in Vermont from March 29th - April 12th, 2020 (less than a week after the Governor’s Stay Home/Stay Safe order). A total of 3,219 Vermonters responded, and nearly half provided written comments in response to open-ended questions about worries or general remarks. This brief summarizes survey findings and respondent comments relevant to the local food system, specifically local farms and direct-to-consumer sales, home food production, foraging, hunting, and fishing. Other aspects of the local food system, such as processing and distribution are not covered. Key findings include: 1. 69% of respondents purchased some food directly from farmers in the year prior to the pandemic, but only 15% did in the early weeks of the pandemic (though these represent different timeframes). 2. Respondents described economic, health, and safety benefits of local food production, and expressed worries about local farm viability during and after the pandemic. 3. 53% of respondents produced, foraged, hunted, or canned some of their own food in the year prior to the pandemic and 31% were engaged in these activities in the first month of the pandemic; more reported plans to grow some of their own food if they could access supplies. 4. People who purchased from local farms and/or engaged in home production were more likely to be food secure.
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Belarmino, Emily H.; Bertmann, Farryl; Wentworth, Thomas; Biehl, Erin; Neff, Roni; and Niles, Meredith T., "The Impact of COVID-19 on the Local Food System: Early findings from Vermont" (2020). College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Faculty Publications. 23.