HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched a hub designed to assist local and regional food producers as the USDA and its partners develop, share and assess resources on local and regional food system responses to COVID-19.
The hub, which is accessible at: https://localfoodeconomics.com, through a cooperative initiative with the University of Kentucky, Colorado State University, and Pennsylvania State University. Local and regional farms and facilities tend to be more vulnerable to market disruptions as they are operated by smaller, new/beginning, historically underserved or low resourced producers and business owners, according to the USDA.
The new searchable hub contains insights and educational material from 16 partner organizations to help local and regional food producers and businesses adapt their market strategies in the current pandemic environment. The 16-partner organizations represent a diverse array of market channels, from direct-to-consumer to restaurants and institutions, as well as stakeholder groups including representatives for tribal nations and historically underserved communities.
Under the agreement, the USDA is gathering real-time intelligence on what is happening in local and regional marketplaces to understand obstacles and impediments and successful marketing and production strategies and innovations. In addition to the resource hubs, the project outcomes include snapshots of each part of the local food economy, case studies and highlights of innovations in the section, and research on consumer attitudes towards local foods.