On this Covid-19 Response page we’ve created a list of resources, outlining some actions you can take to support local communities both at the grassroots and at a policy level during this time of crisis. We’ve also compiled some examples of community solidarity being put into action during the pandemic.
The coronavirus outbreak is sending shockwaves through people’s lives. While some are fortunate enough to stay safe at home, many others are torn between the conflicting demands of economic necessity and personal health. Still others have become unemployed. In many places, small and local businesses have borne the brunt of the impact. And of course, as the world’s health systems have become overwhelmed, many loved ones have been lost.
Meanwhile, our social lives have largely moved online – a poor substitute for the real thing. In times of turmoil, what we most long for are handshakes and hugs, not video chats. As we each navigate this new reality, it’s important to keep the big picture in mind.
Core features of the global economy — from habitat destruction to factory farming to hyper-urbanization — have heightened the risk of outbreaks like Covid-19. And economic globalization, long touted as an unstoppable force, is now revealed to be highly fragile: long supply chains that stretch halfway across the world do not hold up well to this kind of strain. There is already talk of abandoned crop fields and serious labor shortages.
To chart a path forward and to ensure that we are prepared to weather future shocks in an age of climate chaos, we need to think carefully about our social and economic systems. We need to recognize that the real economy is the living earth, and begin sowing the seeds of more ecological economies that treat people like members of a community, not numbers on a page. In short:
We Need to Localize Like
We’ve Never Localized Before!
That means providing support to small businesses and community groups that are currently under so much stress. Since food is at the center of the entire economy, let’s begin by making sure that small, local farms remain lifelines in this time of need. Even when the current crisis is behind us, we’ll benefit from stronger local food economies – from being linked to diversified farms that provide healthy, nutrient-dense foods without poisoning the environment, eliminating jobs, or erasing biodiversity.
Resources to Support Small Farmers and
Local Food Systems during COVID-19
‘How to Fix a Food Sytem That’s not Designed to Feed People’ by Debbie Weingarten, Huffpost
La Via Campesina: #StayHomeButNotSilent– In times of pandemic, peasants are united to feed the people
COVID-19 and the Crisis in Food Systems: Symptoms, Causes, and Potential Solutions: Communiqué by International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems
Open Food Network: https://www.openfoodnetwork.org/food-enterprises-and-covid-19/
Australian Farmers Market Association Directory
Carriageworks Farmers Market Online Directory (Sydney area)
Local Food Connect (Melbourne)
Your Food Collective (Sydney and Newcastle area)
Covid-19: Latest Information and Updates, by European Coordination Via Campesina
ECOLISE: Community responses to COVID-19
Vikalp Sangam: In response to Corona Times
Corona Emergency – Organic Food Sales
Gurgaon Organic Farmers Market Online
Coatl Mercado Bioregional
La Cosecha Oaxaca
Mercado el 100 (Mexico City):
Mercado de las Cosas Verdes ‘Tianquiskilitl’
Red de Economías Populares y Autogestivas del Sur – Chiapas
Tianguis Agroecológico y Artesanal ‘Comida Sana y Cercana’
Tianguis Alternativo de Puebla:
Staying Connected and Supporting Our Fibershed Amid Coronavirus
What Can Consumers Do During the COVID-19 Crisis to Support Family Farms & Our Local Food System?
Selling Direct &Online During the COVID-19 Crisis (Community Alliance with Family Farms)
Supporting Alternative Sales Options for Direct to Market Farmers
Cooperative Gardens Commission – How to Increase Food Production in Your Community
https://coopgardenstest.wordpress.com/. Sign-up form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeHI-iao5LZBYlR1Ow280_tihjOBHXdAtG_L6sbi7mYaJX3aw/viewform
COVID-19 and the Slow Food Community
Slow Food Live Online Food Sessions
Slow Food Mutual Aid Database
Resource Guide for Institutional Food Systems and COVID-19 (Northeast USA)
COVID-19 Stimulus Package for the Food System
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Statement on COVID-19 and its Impacts on the Farm and Food System
Mitigating Immediate Harmful Impacts of COVID-19 on Farms and Ranches Selling through Local and Regional Food Markets
A Closer Look at Farmer Relief in Senate Pandemic Aid Package
URGENT – Ensure COVID-19 Aid Gets to Farmers and Food Systems Today!
As Coronavirus Ravages Businesses, Small Farms and Independent Restaurants Rally for Economic Relief
Food Workers are on the Frontlines of Coronavirus. They Need Our Support.
Community Supported Agriculture: Find a Local CSA
Support Local Businesses:
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Artisan Grain Collaborative launched a program to highlight the importance of regional food systems and to support area farmers, millers, bakers, and eaters: Neighbor Loaves
Small farms are finding new ways to stay in business as the pandemic shuts down farmers markets and restaurants. ‘Coronavirus Could Usher In A New Era Of Local, Sustainable Eating’ by Olivia Paschal Huffpost USA
Institute for Local Self-Reliance: https://ilsr.org/covid-19-how-you-can-help-save-our-locally-owned-businesses/
Farmers Markets Respond to COVID-19 — Best Practices, Examples, and Resources (Farmers Market Coalition)
Farmers Markets Respond to COVID-19 — Daily Updates and Announcements
The Fight to Keep Farmers’ Markets Open During Coronavirus
‘Farmers Markets Rally to Create Virtual Hubs for Hard-Hit Local Growers. Here’s a Roundup’ (Chicago)
Curbside Farmers Market Pickup and Local Food Home Delivery (San Francisco)
Seattle Farmers Market – Food delivery and pickup (Seattle)
Onchenda Open Global Food Cooperative (Utah)
National Young Farmers Coalition Statement on COVID-19 and its impacts on young farmers
National Young Farmers Coalition COVID-19 Resources Library
Six Ways You Can Support Farmers during Covid-19
Defending and Securing our Food Supply (Helping: Smaller Farmers and Food Growers, Smaller Fishers, Food Markets, Bakeries, and Communities Growing food)https://www.sustainweb.org/coronavirus/securing_our_food_supply/
Five ways to support our farmers in the time of COVID-19
Coronavirus Food Alert: Sustain: The Alliance for Better Food and Farming
COVID Mutual Support Produce Directory – Organic Growers Alliance, Landworkers Alliance and Community Supported Agriculture
How to support local food and drink businesses during the Coronavirus crisis
Landworkers’ Alliance Coronavirus Support Page
Bristol Food Union
Landworkers’ Alliance calls for measures to increase UK food resilience in light of Coronavirus outbreak
Landworkers’ Alliance calls for emergency “Land Army” package to protect our Local Food Supply
COVID-19 Resources for CSAs
London Farmers Markets
How can we help our fishing fleet through coronavirus? https://www.sustainweb.org/blogs/mar20_fishing_coronavirus/
Real Bread Campaign – Map
Community and Solidarity Examples
On Bali, Indonesia, the collapse of the tourist economy has led many people to turn to return to villages and develop livelihoods in the food economy, which is inherently more stable. Collective farms are emerging, and, as one farmer puts it ‘even though the tourism sector has collapsed, Balinese are not going to starve’. Read more: here.
In Mexico City, the disruption of global supply chains has served to bolster local indigenous farmers, who are bringing back the ancient Aztec tradition of growing food in chinampas, or “floating gardens”. These farmers are protecting cultural heritage, enhancing ecosystems and providing fresh, local food to residents. Now, they are seeing sales increase by 100 to 120 percent. Read more here.
In the Navajo nation, farmer Tyrone Thompson is helping people return to their agricultural roots by teaching and encouraging them to farm. According to one researcher; ‘There has been a surge in interest. Seeds were hard to come by. They flew off the shelves just as fast as toilet paper did’. Read more here.
World Central Kitchen is repurposing chef Jose Andres’ restaurant kitchens as soup kitchens, and building a movement to support other restaurants across the USA in doing the same. Check out their country-wide map of free meals from governments, nonprofits, and restaurants. One of Andres’ restaurants, Beefsteak Veggies, is also packaging up wholesale produce and staple goods for retail sale, in an effort to preserve supply chains with local farmers, and to alleviate crowding and shortages in larger grocery stores.
The city council of Victoria, British Columbia has expanded its urban food production program by temporarily reassigning some parks department staff to grow 50,000 to 75,000 seedlings to give to residents in May and June.
The Chicago Farmer’s Market Collective is helping its vendors develop pickup, delivery, and CSA options for customers who are unable to go to the markets in person.
In an article titled “Farmers are among the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic”, a melon farmer in a village near Chennai, India reports that due to the lockdowns, he is now able to sell all of his produce directly to his neighbors, rather than to a chain of middlemen.
In the city of Cagayan de Oro, in the Philippines, activist group The Greenthumbers has successfully advocated with the local Archbishop to ask both clergy and worshippers to set up and communal gardens, and to call on those who have land to open their lots for planting vegetables and native alternatives to rice.
In Rome, Italy, a cooperative formed by formerly-exploited African migrants is working tirelessly to fill the increased demand for deliveries of fresh produce and yogurt for people on lockdown. The Guardian shares their story.
Volunteers with Feedback Global, which organizes gleaning groups across England, are recovering unpicked vegetables from fields around Kent, gathering unused food from closed cafes, restaurants, and wholesalers, and cooking it into meals for the community.
Hundreds of Mutual Aid Networks across the world are mobilizing volunteers to deliver essential items to and regularly check in on the elderly and others at high risk of serious complications from COVID-19.
- Covid-19 Mutual Aid (UK)
- Mutual Aid USA
- Mutual Aid Hub
- COVID-19 Mutual Aid Directory (USA)
- Mutual Aid Offers and Goods – Common Good (USA)
- Viral Kindness (Australia)
MN CovidSitters, started by a medical student in Minnesota, USA, has paired more than 350 student volunteers with healthcare workers to help them with childcare, grocery shopping, and whatever else they and their families need – and is inspiring other medical schools to do the same.
IDEP Foundation is helping families in Bali, Indonesia who were reliant on income from tourism by distributing buckets with a month’s supply of cleaning and hygiene products, staple foods, organic vegetable seeds, and educational materials about COVID-19.
People in cities all over the USA have started virtual tip jars – simple spreadsheets with names and electronic payment options – to help laid-off restaurant staff.
The New Economy Coalition has put together a list of COVID-19 emergency funding sources to help workers across sectors whose livelihoods have been destabilized by the economic changes.
In Washington, DC, the Adams Morgan Business Improvement District has started a #restaurantbonds campaign to encourage people to invest their money in local businesses via gift cards rather than in corporate stocks and bonds.
Members of the Barcelona Street Vendors’ Union in Spain, no longer able to work due to stay-at-home restrictions, have joined forces with a local clothing company to sew masks for healthcare workers. Proceeds from the masks go to a food bank serving – and highlighting the presence of – the often-invisible African migrant communities that comprise a majority of the union.
Several distilleries, including Spirit of York in Ontario, Canada has begun producing hand sanitizer locally and distributing it to their communities.
The new international network Open Source Medical Supplies publicizes designs of safe personal protective equipment (PPE) that can be manufactured by local communities. Within two weeks of its inception, 95+ local chapters, from Ireland to Indonesia, were at work sourcing open-source designs for PPE and medical devices, translating documents, and working out the logistics of manufacturing supplies locally.
In University Heights, Ohio, residents created a daily Time Out Together event, where they all go outside (maintaining a safe distance) at 6:30pm each day to say hello and feel a sense of togetherness.
In solidarity with their 80-year-old neighbor, a community in Madrid left a cake on her porch and sang “Happy Birthday” to her in unison from their windows. Watch the heartwarming video here.
Articles on COVID-19
‘We Will Survive the Coronavirus. We Need to Make Sure We Survive Ourselves.‘
by Ashish Kothari
‘Solutions to the Pandemic Are Hiding in Plain Sight‘
by Ashley Colby
‘Degrowth, Coronavirus and Self Isolation’
by Brian Davey
by Charles Eisenstein
‘For whom the bell tolls: a Small Farm Future COVID-19 special’
by Chris Smaje
‘What happens after Covid-19?’
by Colin Tudge
‘Why Coronavirus Is Humanity’s Wake-Up Call’
by David Korten
‘A degrowth perspective on the coronavirus crisis’
Degrowth.info editorial team
‘Make no mistake: Agriculture alone has the potential to reboot the economy’
by Devinder Sharma
‘Here and ready: the value of peasant agriculture in the context of COVID-19’
by European Coordination Via Campesina
‘What if Local and Diverse Is Better Than Networked and Global?‘
by Helena Norberg-Hodge
‘Organising Amidst COVID-19: Sharing Stories of Struggles‘
‘The Only Treatment for Coronavirus Is Solidarity’
by Jedediah Britton-Purdy
‘Spoiled Milk, Rotten Vegetables and a Very Broken Food System‘
by Jennifer Clapp
‘The Deeper Source of Grocery Panic‘
by Judith D. Schwartz
‘The Moment for Food Sovereignty is Now‘
by Katie Brimm
‘Why Now, More than Ever, We Need a Food System based on Food Sovereignty‘
by Landworkers Alliance
‘#StayHomeButNotSilent – In times of pandemic, peasants are united to feed the people!’
by La Via Campesina
‘The birth of Covid-19 mutual aid’
by Marianne Brooker
‘Call to Action for the US Transition Movement’
by Marissa Mommaerts
‘No return to normal: for a post-pandemic liberation’
by Max Haven
‘The Sickness in Our Food Supply‘
by Michael Pollan
‘A Dozen Asks for Your Governor‘
by Michael Shuman
‘Comparative Resilience: 8 Principles for Post-COVID Reconstruction‘
by Michael Shuman
‘The coronavirus pandemic and future food security’
by Patrick Holden
‘Solidarity in a Time of Social Distancing’
by Randall Amster
‘A virus, humanity, and the earth‘
by Vandana Shiva
‘Coronavirus and the Death of ‘Connectivity’
by Walden Bello
‘Four ways COVID-19 will change food systems and food security’
by Wayne Roberts
‘Stepping Up: As government leaders bungle the coronavirus response, there’s hope in mutual aid’
by Whitney Curry Whimbish