A report by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, Ohio Farmers Market Network, Ohio Food Policy Network, and Produce Perks Midwest
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit early in 2020, it created an unprecedented crisis for Ohio and the nation. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine acted quickly to protect public health and mandated a temporary stay-at-home order. While necessary, this action has negatively impacted the state’s economy and food system.
While economists, politicians, and corporations have for years extolled the virtues and efficiency of a centralized global food supply chain, the pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities of this approach as grocery store shelves went bare, fields of food were plowed back into the soil, and families went hungry.
Although COVID-19 paralyzed our country and broke many links in the national supply chain, our diverse local food system has persevered and helped meet the unprecedented demand from Ohio customers wanting safe and secure food.
To date, our local and regional food system has risen to the challenge with minimal assistance or support from the state or federal government. While this response has been remarkable, it is not sustainable, nor is it equitably serving all Ohioans. Our leaders have a unique opportunity to turn a short-term disaster response into a long-term platform for transformation that contributes to a resilient and economically strong and secure local and regional food system.
This new report, Opportunity in a Time of Crisis: Recommendations for Building a More Resilient Ohio Food System, identifies missing links and opportunities in our local and regional food system and community food access, along with eight policy recommendations Ohio’s decision-makers can implement in the short-term to invest in the long-term capacity of Ohio’s farmers and farmers markets and build food security for vulnerable families.