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Local Food Supply Chain Dynamics and Resilience During COVID-19

AAEA President and members release new research in AEPP

Parts of the country are on their 2nd  wave of shutdowns due to COVID-19. Food buying is changing and we are seeing the online buying escalate again. Policy, is finding that the new administration is likely to explore new supports to local and regional foods.

In the new article “Local Food Supply Chain Dynamics and Resilince During COVID-19” released in the Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, AAEA president, Dawn Thilmany from Colorado State University, Sarah Low from the University of Missouri, Elizabeth Canales from Mississippi State University and Kathryn Boys from North Carolina State University find out how the pandemic uniquely affect those in the farm and food industry who focus on more localized sales.

Thilmany states, “In response to consumers, local producers moved to online sales as quickly (if not more so) than traditional retailers.”

“In the supply chain, disruptions raised the visibility of why we might want to rebuild and reinforce local and regional food supply chains and infrastructure” says Thilmany.

She continues “For policy, newly relaxed regulations (due to COVID) may lead to reconsideration of whether current regulations are still relevant (and allow for the flexibility that may be needed in the food sector).”

Canales adds, “COVID-19 presented an opportunity for local and regional food and agricultural businesses to expand their market reach through e-commerce as consumers were suddenly rushing to buy online. Adopting e-commerce is not always easy for small businesses or farms, but many of these operations responded nimbly to this sudden market need. Our research suggests that online sales for this sector increased by about 360%. This pandemic may actually create an inflection point in the adoption of e-commerce and online marketing among local and regional food operations.”

If you are interested in setting up an interview, please contact Allison Ware in the AAEA Business Office.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 60 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices and the online open access publication series Applied Economics Teaching Resources. To learn more, visit

Contact: Allison Ware
Senior Communications Manager
(414) 918-3190