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Purdue Extension: Expert Resources for COVID-19
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Food Supply Chain and COVID-19

April 17, 2020
Lack of food

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way our daily lives are functioning. Routine tasks, such as going to the grocery store to purchase food not only involves practicing social distancing and other guidelines, but also asking ourselves questions like: is this store open during these hours? Is the product I am looking for going to be available or is it something that is being disrupted somewhere along the supply chain?

Most experts agree that at the moment, the U.S. has plenty of food to go around. Many of the limitations so far have been attributed to unique consumer behavior (see toilet paper) and delays and unpredictability with supply chains, mainly due to disruptions in shipping. This situation is constantly evolving however, and serious supply disruptions are not out of the question if a given industry is hit hard by the virus, such as the meat packing plant that closed this week in South Dakota. While news stories such as these are not comforting to hear, I am confident that the agriculture industry will respond and if we all are patient and work together, food supply disruptions should be minimal.

The U.S. food system is a very complicated system that involves a number of industries and a large part of the world. One thing some consumers are doing more so now than ever, is getting to know their local food producers in an attempt to cut out all of the middle men and potential disruptions. A few years ago, my counterpart in Tippecanoe County, Karen Mitchell, developed a Local Foods Guide for this region. This publication highlights some of the local foods producers in this area and provides their contact information and products they have available. This guide is available by clicking on this link, or simply by searching “Purdue Local Foods Guide” in a search engine: https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/CES/3-221.PDF The list of local farms in this document is plentiful, but is not necessarily comprehensive, so I would encourage you to look around social media and other sites for further options. Another source might be farmers who are active with the Monticello Farmer’s Market, a list of which can be found here: http://monticelloinfarmersmarket.weebly.com/

Perhaps you might even be interested in growing or expanding your own garden this year in an effort to become more self-sufficient. If this is the case, I would highly encourage you to take a look at some of the information and resources available on Purdue’s Home Horticulture website: https://www.purdue.edu/hla/sites/yardandgarden/ 

as well as their growing Diversified Farm and Food Systems website: https://www.purdue.edu/dffs/ As always, please reach out to me if you have any questions. Our office is currently closed to the public, so e-mail is preferred at: awestfal@purdue.edu

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