Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development <p>The&nbsp;<strong><em>Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development</em><em>&nbsp;</em>(JAFSCD),</strong> ISSN 2152-0801, is an <strong>open access, international, peer-reviewed</strong> <strong>journal</strong> focused on the practice and applied research interests of agriculture and food systems development professionals. JAFSCD emphasizes best practices and tools related to the planning, community economic development, and ecological protection of local and regional agriculture and food systems, and works to bridge the interests of practitioners and academics. Articles are published online as they are approved, and are gathered into quarterly issues for indexing purposes. JAFSCD is an open access, online-only journal; all readers may download, share, or print any articles as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with the Creative Commons <a title="CC BY 4.0" href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">CC BY 4.0</a> license.</p> Thomas A. Lyson Center for Civic Agriculture and Food Systems, a project of the Center for Transformative Action en-US Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development 2152-0801 <p>The copyright to all content published in JAFSCD belongs to the author(s). It is licensed as <a title="Creative Commons BY 4.0 license" href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">CC BY 4.0</a>. This license determines how you may reprint, copy, distribute, or otherwise share JAFSCD content.</p> The impact of COVID-19 on the food system <p><em>First paragraphs:</em></p> <p>In April 2020, the world was at the beginning of what would become the worst pandemic since the emer­gence of HIV/AIDS. One year later we have lost nearly 3 million souls to COVID-19. Disproportionately impacted have been lower-income families and individuals who provide the backbone of the global food system—farmworkers, processing-plant workers, food-service and restaurant workers, and many others who provide life-sustaining food for all of us.</p> <p>Over the last year, organizations and governments have worked feverishly to maintain food supply chains, and—after some adjustment—alternative food networks throughout the world came to our rescue. We are not out of the woods yet, and new variants of the coronavirus are evolving that appear to be stag­nating our return to normalcy. Yet, with a year of experience under our belt, we now know more about maintaining food supplies during a pandemic, and what we need to do to prepare for the inevitable future crises. Researchers and organizations around the world managed to collect data during the first year of the pandemic, through interviews, surveys, secondary data analysis, and observation, to learn more about impacts and coping strategies. . . .</p> Duncan Hilchey Copyright (c) 2021 The Author 2021-04-13 2021-04-13 10 2 1–5 1–5 Universal free school meals through the Community Eligibility Provision <p>Since 2014, the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school meal funding option has enabled high-poverty schools nationwide to serve universal free breakfast and lunch. Evidence suggests that CEP has benefits for student meal participation, behavior, and academic performance. This qualitative study explores perspectives among food service staff (<em>n</em>=28) in CEP-participating school districts in Maryland on (1) implementation barriers, (2) implementation best practices, and (3)&nbsp;impacts on students, school operations, and the broader food system. Perceived benefits of CEP include increased meal participation, reduced student stigma and financial stress among parents, and improved staff morale. Most participants did not report any change in wasted food or relationships with local or regional farms associated with CEP adoption. Implementation barriers, including concerns regarding CEP’s impact on federal, state, and grant education funding, provide insight into potential policy interventions that may promote uptake. Best practices, including strong communication with parents and creative strategies to boost student meal participation, can be adopted by other districts.</p> Amelie Hecht Roni Neff Tam Kelley Keshia Pollack Porter Copyright (c) 2021 The Authors 2021-04-09 2021-04-09 10 2 529–550 529–550 10.5304/jafscd.2021.102.033 Missouri's specialty crop beginning farmers cultivate resilience during COVID-19 <p>The pandemic placed extraordinary demands on agricultural producers and created unexpected challenges for southern Missouri farmers, and pushed the University of Missouri Extension (MUE) to implement new and innovative approaches to help farmers persevere through the crisis. In surveys and reports, farmers have indicated several changes caused by the pandemic that impact their businesses, such as increase in local food demand, reduction in on-farm labor, and limitations on hosting on-farm visits with customers. The MUE StrikeForce project team, a U.S. Department of Agriculture strategic initiative, continued to serve farmers by developing alternative educational opportunities that incorporated social distancing and other preventative actions, and were of immediate use to farmers in a crisis. Several of the educational approaches, including video conferencing, online teaching, digital recordings, video repositories, social media communications, pick up and drop off locations, and the use of multiple online viewing platforms such as Zoom recordings have proven to be effective in helping farmers sustain their businesses and have substantially increased access to programming across the state. The convenience of accessing education and learning opportunities online also appealed to more participants. Overall, online educational delivery was positively received by producers, demonstrating the efficacy of digital learning when paired with offline resources and support from the StrikeForce project team. After the pandemic ends, MUE will continue to implement these approaches. Nevertheless, the traditional Extension approach of one-on-one consulting and farm visits cannot be completely replaced by online educational programming. The pandemic has highlighted inequities faced by many rural Missouri farmers that lack dependable internet or cell phone network access, and had no access to StrikeForce programming when face-to-face visits were paused.</p> Amy Patillo James Millsap Patrick Byers Jamie Gundel Katherine Peregoy Amy Lake Sarah Denkler Eric Meusch David Burton Copyright (c) 2021 The Authors 2021-04-09 2021-04-09 10 2 225–239 225–239 10.5304/jafscd.2021.102.052 Civic agriculture in review <p>“Civic agriculture,” a term first coined by rural sociologist Thomas Lyson, refers to forms of agriculture that occur on a local level, from production to consumption, and are linked to a community’s social and economic development. Sixteen years since its original articulation, the term “civic agriculture” has taken on greater significance in research, political activism, and community organizing. Grown from the roots of civic community theory, civic agriculture functions as a new branch of civic community theory that is ripe for theorization. In revisiting the foundations of the term, this review paper seeks to consolidate current and future research in the field of civic agriculture with a focus on its link to social welfare. This begins by reviewing the foundations of civic community theory and discussing how they influence research related to civic agriculture. As we report in this paper, there remain considerable gaps in understanding of how civic agriculture can be fomented by—or is related to—indicators such as demographics, concentration of power, community cohesion, and civic engagement. Consequently, the assumed links between local food systems and social welfare must continue to be studied to determine correlation and causality. This understanding is particularly important during this time of global pandemic, when the flaws and inequities of global supply chains are exposed and where, in many cases, civic agriculture met the increasing interest in local food. The COVID-19 pandemic has amply demonstrated the fragility and instability of global food supply chains, making the need for local food systems more significant and more relevant to communities across the world.</p> Allison Kaika Alexis Racelis Copyright (c) 2021 The Authors 2021-04-09 2021-04-09 10 2 551–572 551–572 10.5304/jafscd.2021.102.030 Growing a sustainable local grain economy in Arizona <p>Local grain economies are being developed in North America and Europe as alternatives to the global grain economy and its negative externalities. Little is known, however, about their size, structure, and sustainability, in particular as they evolve. This study offers such insights from a case study of the local grain economy in Arizona. The study uses an analytical framework that combines quantitative and qualitative data and a number of analytical methods to construct a multidimensional profile of the local grain economy. The findings indicate steady growth of the local grain economy in Arizona—in production quantities, range of businesses, diversity of products, and local economy benefits over a number of developmental stages. The findings also suggest that challenges of consolidation, transparency, and other growth issues might undermine its sustainability. The insights can inform the further development of the local grain economy in Arizona and other regions. The study also provides a framework that, through comparative research, allows for creating generalized knowledge about local grain economies and alternative food networks.</p> Nigel Forrest Arnim Wiek Copyright (c) 2021 The Authors 2021-04-08 2021-04-08 10 2 507–528 507–528 10.5304/jafscd.2021.102.031 A systems approach to navigating food security during COVID-19 <p>The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a series of concatenating problems in the global production and distribution of food. Trade barriers, seasonal labor shortages, food loss and waste, and food safety concerns combine to engender vulnerabili­ties in food systems. A variety of actors—from academics to policy-makers, community organizers, farmers, and homesteaders—are considering the undertaking of creating more resilient food sys­tems. Conventional approaches include fine-tuning existing value chains, consolidating national food distribution systems and bolstering inventory and storage. This paper highlights three alternative strategies for securing a more resilient food system, namely: (i.) leveraging underutilized, often urban, spaces for food production; (ii.) rethinking food waste as a resource; and (iii.) constructing produc­tion-distribution-waste networks, as opposed to chains. Various food systems actors have pursued these strategies for decades. Yet, we argue that the COVID-19 pandemic forces us to urgently con­sider such novel assemblages of actors, institutions, and technologies as key levers in achieving longer term food system resilience. These strategies are often centered around princi­ples of redistribution and reciprocity, and focus on smaller scales, from individual households to com­munities. We high­light examples that have emerged in the spring-summer of 2020 of household and community efforts to reconstruct a more resilient food system. We also undertake a policy analysis to sketch how government supports can facilitate the emergence of these efforts and mobilization beyond the immediate confines of the pandemic.</p> Alesandros Glaros Chloe Alexander Jodi Koberinski Steffanie Scott Stephen Quilley Zhenzhong Si Copyright (c) 2021 The Authors 2021-04-08 2021-04-08 10 2 211–223 211–223 10.5304/jafscd.2021.102.051 Assessing sense of community at farmers markets <p>Farmers markets are valuable for reducing food insecurity and delivering healthy food options to populations living with low incomes. However, farmers markets have developed a reputation for being exclusive shopping spaces devoted to affluent, white shoppers. Sense of community (SOC), or a person’s feelings of belonging at farmers markets, could be an important, under-addressed asset or barrier to farmers markets patronage for people living with low incomes. To document and describe how SOC influences customer engagement with farmers markets, we conducted a systematic review of published, peer-reviewed literature following PRISMA guidelines. Systematic review protocol involved three stages: identifying peer-reviewed articles using key search terms, screening abstracts and articles for inclusion and exclusion, and analyzing articles for SOC at farmers markets. Of the 24 articles included in the systematic review, 10 addressed SOC in farmers markets shoppers living with low incomes, 6 addressed SOC in farmers markets shoppers living with middle to high incomes, and 8 did not indicate the shoppers’ income level. SOC served as both a barrier and facilitator to farmers markets patronage for all income levels. However, farmers markets shoppers who received federal food assistance reported a feeling of exclusion discouraging them from shopping at farmers markets. These negative experiences were more prominent among Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) living with low incomes. SOC appears to be an important factor in determining who shops at farmers markets and the frequency with which they visit. Farmers markets managers should consider how to strengthen SOC to improve engagement with people living with low incomes, and more specifically, BIPOC living with low incomes.</p> Jennifer Russomanno Jennifer M. Jabson Tree Jabson Tree Copyright (c) 2021 The Authors 2021-04-06 2021-04-06 10 2 489–506 489–506 10.5304/jafscd.2021.102.032 COVID-19 and school food <p>This paper is an exploration of the impact of the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic on emer­gency food supply to school-aged children in Ontario, Canada. Using surveys in the framework of a bounded qualitative case study, we investigate how Student Nutrition Program (SNP) support staff have responded to the changed circumstances of the pandemic. Results indicate that program support staff were able to shift the SNP’s focus from universal access in-school nutrition programs to targeted food security initiatives for families. This shift was possible due to the complex web of relationships within which SNPs in Ontario oper­ate. Additional data and findings are discussed in the article, relating to the prepandemic operation of SNPs, how programs have been affected, and the concerns of SNP support staff about future issues as the programs restart in the new school year under pandemic conditions.</p> Indra Noyes Nicola Lyle Copyright (c) 2021 The Authors 2021-04-06 2021-04-06 10 2 197–210 197–210 10.5304/jafscd.2021.102.049 Cass Clay Food Partners: A networked response to COVID-19 <p>The Cass Clay Food Partners is a network of professionals, stakeholders, and residents serving Cass County, North Dakota, and Clay County, Minnesota, in creating a healthier, more just local food system. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cass Clay Food Partners quickly implemented a multipronged response that leveraged three critical assets of our network: (1) our unique structure, (2) our nuanced understanding of the social ties across overlapping networks, and (3) our ability to quickly pivot our work to address community needs. In this paper, we describe how our network re­sponded to both the challenges and opportunities presented to our food system by the COVID-19 crisis. We also provide tools and recommendations for other food policy and food network practitioners.</p> Noelle Harden Bob Bertsch Kayla Carlson Megan Myrdal Irena Bobicic Abby Gold Kim Lipetzky Tim Hiller Copyright (c) 2021 The Authors 2021-04-02 2021-04-02 10 2 181–196 181–196 10.5304/jafscd.2021.102.050 SNAP participants' purchasing patterns at a food co-op during the COVID-19 pandemic <p>The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the food system, increasing barriers to food access and exac­erbating food insecurity across the U.S. The Vir­ginia state government initiated a stay-at-home order to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Prior to the pandemic, the Virginia Fresh Match (VFM) Nutrition Incentive Network partnered with food retail outlets to provide Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants point-of-purchase incentives (e.g., Double Up Food Bucks, SNAP Match), which function as matching discounts on fresh fruits and vegetables (F/V). These can enable participants to increase their purchasing power and potentially reduce food insecurity. In response to COVID-19, VFM removed the limit on incentive discounts (previ­ously $10<a href="#_ftn1" name="_ftnref1">[1]</a>) to further incentivize the purchase of fresh F/V by SNAP participants. This study sought to characterize the purchasing patterns of SNAP participants at a food co-operative (co-op) partnered with VFM before and during the Virginia stay-at-home order. A total of 654 transactions at the co-op were included. Independent t-tests were utilized to determine differences before and during the order. The results indicated a significant in­crease in the mean incentive discount received dur­ing the order (pre-shutdown=$3.95, inter-shut­down=$5.01, <em>p=</em>0.035); however, simultaneously there was a decrease in the mean number of fresh F/V purchased (pre-shutdown=3.08, inter-shut­down=2.39, <em>p=</em>0.015). Although F/V purchases decreased, the presence of unlimited point-of-pur­chase incentives at the food co-op may have helped prevent a greater decline in fresh F/V pur­chases and helped increase access to fresh F/V in this population during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref1" name="_ftn1">[1]</a> All currency in this paper is US$.</p> Molly Parker Valisa Hedrick Sam Hedges Elizabeth Borst Meredith Ledlie Johnson Maureen Best Sarah Misyak Copyright (c) 2021 The Authors 2021-04-01 2021-04-01 10 2 147–156 147–156 10.5304/jafscd.2021.102.043