Date of Publication

Winter 12-1-2020


Food insecurity is a national issue, one that affected 10.5% of households during some point of the year 2019. Those affected by food insecurity can have their access to food jeopardized due to financial hardship, eating patterns altered to prolong the food available, or various other adjustments including reliance on low-cost food, skipping meals, etc.

The state of Vermont is not immune to food insecurity, with a rate of 11.3% of households in 2018.

The Covid-19 pandemic created an unprecedented shift in daily life, with households having to rapidly adapt to meet newly imposed governmental regulations, including stay at home orders, while maintaining access to food essentials. This changed exacerbated food insecurity in already food-insecure households, while simultaneously creating food insecurity for those previously unaffected. A study focusing on food insecurity in Vermont from March to April 2020 found a 32.3% increase in food insecurity, with 35.5% of food-insecure households being previously food-secure.

This change highlighted not only the growing incidence of food insecurity, but also acknowledged the demographic change seen by newly food insecure households.

While this increase is dramatic and alarming, to our knowledge there is no research looking at the continuation of these trends regarding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on food insecurity in Vermont households. This lack of data indicates a need for continued follow up to best inform governmental agencies on both how Vermont households are being affected, and how regulations during summer & fall 2020 impacted the rise in food insecurity. These data will then provide guidance for future action to combat current and future food insecurity.


Jesse Bridges

United Way of Northwest Vermont

Jan Carney

University of Vermont

Thomas Delaney

University of Vermont


United Way of Northwest Vermont


Access to Health Services, Educational and Community-Based Programs, Food Safety, Preparedness, Public Health Infrastructure

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License

Food Security in the COVID-19 Era