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Pivoting Policy, Programs and Partnerships: Food Policy Councils' Responses to the Crises of 2020 (2021)

By Raychel Santo, Caitlin Misiaszek, Karen Bassarab, Darriel Harris, Anne Palmer

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed fundamental problems and inequities in the United States food system. At the same time, racial disparities in terms of the impact of COVID-19 along with a national reckoning with structural racism have reinvigorated efforts to critically assess and reform practices to foster racial equity. Food policy councils (FPCs) and similar groups have addressed these new and exacerbated challenges by convening strategic partners, matchmaking to connect supplies and needs, taking deliberate action to advance racial and social equity, communicating about available resources, and advocating for policy changes. Using findings from an annual survey of FPCs conducted by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future as part of the Food Policy Networks project, this report captures how FPCs began responding and adapting to emerging food systems challenges during the crises of 2020.