Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
This thesis brings together two studies of local food systems in Vermont and New England. The first study focuses on the experience of Vermont local food businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic by combining two surveys conducted in the first half of 2021: one of foodservice operations that procure food locally and one of Vermont farms that sell directly to consumers. We analyzed descriptive statistics, open responses, and conducted Kruskal-Wallis rank sum tests to assess which factors were related with business’ financial status before and since the pandemic. Pre-pandemic financial status was related with business type, whether the business went on to receive emergency funds, and financial status since the pandemic. The only significant factor for financial status since the pandemic was pre-pandemic financial status. The second study reports on the results of a November 2021 panel of five experts working on Farm to Institution (FTI) and Values-Based Procurement (VBP) programs in New England. We analyzed the panel transcript using a three-stage coding process and identified two central themes: the importance of strong personal relationships for successful FTI organizing and the desire for a structural and informational toolkit to scale FTI and VBP activities up and out. Growing local procurement within institutions and expanding the number of institutions engaged in these activities requires engaging institutional leadership and policymakers; this in turn demands further research on the costs and benefits of these programs for institutions and for society. Across both studies, we identify research and policy opportunities for strengthening Vermont and New England local food systems through the end of the pandemic and beyond.
Number of Pages
Whitehouse, Claire, "Building Relationships and Resilience: Local Food Systems in Vermont and New England During the Covid-19 Pandemic and Beyond" (2022). Graduate College Dissertations and Theses. 1573.