Massachusetts Food System Collaborative
Massachusetts Food System Collaborative

May 31, 2020

The MA Food System and COVID-19

In response to the spread of COVID-19 and the measures being taken to address it, the Collaborative has compiled this list of readings and resources to keep the MA food system community informed and aware of relevant actions and activities. If you know of additional items that should be included, please send them to [email protected]. (Items are followed by the date posted on this page.)

Note that this is NOT meant to be a general resource about the virus or the public response. For that information we recommend the CDC or the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Governor Baker’s ‘stay at home’ order lists farmers, farmers markets, and other farm-related activities as essential (.pdf link), and so allowed to continue. This morning’s executive order also explains that the assembly limit of 10 people does not apply to outdoor functions (.pdf link), which suggests farmers markets are excluded from that restriction.


FOOD SYSTEM: Local Food System Policy Recommendations in Response to COVID-19 (3/20)

FARMS AND FISHERIES: Farm and Fishery Policy Recommendations in Response to COVID-19 (3/30)

FEDERAL FOOD POLICY: MA Food System Collaborative letter to MA Congressional delegation (4/13)

FEDERAL FOOD POLICY: Federal Policies to Support the Food System and Consumers During COVID-19 (CHLPI) (5/21)

LEGISLATURE: MA Bills Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic (InstaTrac) (3/24)

HUNGER: Our Policy Proposals for Combating Hunger Through COVID-19 & Beyond (Project Bread) (4/28)

PUBLIC HEALTH: Emergency Task Force on Coronavirus and Equity (3/20)

STATE POLICY: Updates on state policy actions (3/19)

DELIVERY: Feeding People in their Homes: Opportunities to Bolster Home Food Delivery for Vulnerable Communities (CHLPI)

LEVERAGING FEDERAL RESOURCES: State Actions in Massachusetts to Support Local and Regional Food Systems Producers (CHLPI)

RESTAURANTS: Boston restaurant industry’s letter to Gov. Baker (3/19)

SMALL FARMS: Recommendations from World Farmers (3/27)

FARMERS: Addressing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Impacts and Guidance (MDAR) (3/17)

SCHOOLS: MA Dept of Elementary and Secondary Education (3/13)

COMMUNITIES: Massachusetts Law Reform Institute Issues Recommendations for Helping Low Income Communities During COVID19 Outbreak (3/23)

SNAP: Mass Legal Services bulletins (3/14)

FEDERAL GUIDANCE:Federal guidance on essential critical infrastructure workers, including agriculture (DHS) (3/20)

Massachusetts programs, services, and actions

COVID-19: How & Where to Buy Local (MDAR) (4/3)

City of Cambridge contracting with restaurants to provide meals for homeless (3/23)

Pioneer Valley Workers Center Worker Town Hall Video (3/18)

COVID-19 updates and resources from CISA   (3/14)

Pioneer Valley Workers Center (which organizes farm workers, among others) and Western Mass Area Labor Federation Paid Sick Leave are inviting employers w/less than 14 employees who will still give employees paid sick time during the crisis to sign this solidarity pledge. (3/13)

Resources For Farmers and Food Businesses

Guidance for PYO and ag tourism operations (MDAR) (5/8)

Resources for the Coronavirus Public Health Emergency (UMass Extension) (5/8)

DPH order for farmers markets, farmstands, and CSAs (MDPH) (5/1)

A Closer Look at Legal Experts’ Helpful COVID-19 Resources for Farmers (NSAC) (4/23)

COVID-19 Resource Center (MFBF) (4/16)

Farmers’ Guide to COVID-19 Relief (4/16)

Federal funding programs available to small and mid-size farms in response to COVID-19 (Pace) (4/10)

COVID-19 coverage from Farm Commons (4/10)

Resources for Farmers Affected by COVID-19 (Farm Aid) (3/31)

Running a Food Business in the face of COVID-19 (CommonWealth Kitchen)

Farms and on-farm deliveries (PA) (3/20)

A guide for local producers to navigate the COVID-19 outbreak (Purdue) (3/19)

Building Farm Resilience During COVID-19 (Cornell) (3/19)

Running a Food Business in the face of COVID-19 Resource Guide (CommonWealth Kitchen) (3/18)

COVID-19 Resources for Farmers and Food Businesses (3/18)

COVID-19 FAQ for u-pick farms .pdf (NC State) (3/17)

Novel Coronavirus Prevention & Control for Farms (Cornell) (3/17)

Building Farm Resilience in this Crisis (Cornell) (3/14)

Considerations for Fruit and Vegetable Growers Related to Coronavirus & COVID-19  (UVM) (3/14)

Funding For Farmers and Food Businesses

Mass Food Trust Program (MFTP)  

PVGrows Investment Fund

Farmer Relief Fund (AFT)

CISA Emergency Farm Fund (CISA)

For Farmers Markets

COVID-19 guidance for Massachusetts Farmers Markets (3/16)

Farmers Markets Respond to COVID19 (FMC) (3/14)

COVID-19 FAQ for farmers markets .pdf (NC State) (3/17)

COMMUNITY GARDENS: COVID-19 Guidelines for safe community gardening

National Work

Mitigating Immediate Harmful Impacts of COVID-19 on Farms and Ranches selling through Local and Regional Food Markets (3/31)

Invest in food workers, farmers and local communities first: Our response to Congress’ COVID-19 aid package (HEAL) (3/31)

COVID-19 Economic Impact on Local Food Markets (NSAC) (3/23)

NSAC Statement on COVID-19 and its Impacts on the Farm and Food System (3/19)

The Wallace Center has set up a Google listserv for food system leaders to discuss the outbreak and food system responses. (3/14)

The Food Research and Action Center has a list of actions federal legislators can take to help address food insecurity as well as updates on various official guidance as it is released.   (3/13)

Mass Legal Services has a list of federal bills that have been introduced to expand federal nutrition benefits as well as updates from DTA on changes to their operations. (3/13)

Thoughtful readings

How to Crisis-Proof Our Food System (Politico) (5/15)

The Sickness in Our Food Supply (NYRB) (5/15)

How COVID-19 Affects Farmers and the Food Supply Chain (Tufts) (4/29)

Why farmers are dumping milk down the drain and letting produce rot in fields (The Conversation) (4/23)

Food Systems Disruptions: Turning a Threat into an Opportunity for Local Food Systems (JAFSCD) (4/23)

Ecological Resilience of Food Systems in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis (JAFSCD) (4/23)

Food Shortages? Nope, Too Much Food In The Wrong Places (NPR) (4/15)

Farm To Table: The Coronavirus And America’s Food Supply Chain (NPR) (4/15)

Bold action needed to battle coronavirus in communities of color (Globe) (4/13)

Dumped Milk, Smashed Eggs, Plowed Vegetables: Food Waste of the Pandemic (NYT) (4/13)

Amid Difficult COVID-19 News from Around the World, There’s Hope in the Food System (Food Tank) (4/8)

The Deeper Source of Grocery Panic (4/3)

The Effects of COVID-19 Will Ripple through Food Systems (4/1)

COVID-19 is pushing our food system to its limits (4/1)

Off Their Plate started in Boston as a way to feed healthcare workers. Now it’s going national. (3/31)

Pandemic Exposes Plight of Food Workers Who Have Long Fought for Justice (UCS) (3/31)

Three Ways the Coronavirus Crisis Is Also a Food Crisis (UCS) (3/31)

Will the Coronavirus Make Restaurants Like Mine Extinct? (NYT) (3/26)

For millions of low-income seniors, coronavirus is a food-security issue (Atlantic) (3/24)

José Andrés: We Have a Food Crisis Unfolding Out of Sight (NYT) (3/24)

Food system workers are particularly hard hit by layoffs (Vox) (3/24)

SNAP Could Feed an Economic Recovery During and After the Pandemic (Civil Eats) (3/23)

Op-ed: Food Workers are on the Frontlines of Coronavirus. They Need Our Support. (Civil Eats) (3/20)

Family Farms and Farmers Markets Are Essential (FMC) (3/19)

What Restaurants Need Right Now to Actually Survive (Eater) (3/19)

Coronavirus: US food banks see volunteers disappear and supplies evaporate (Independent) (3/19)

The Fight to Keep Farmers’ Markets Open During Coronavirus (Civil Eats) (3/19)

COVID-19 Threatens Food Supply Chain As Farms Worry About Workers Falling Ill (NPR) (3/18)

Support for Local and Regional Food Systems in COVID-19 Response .pdf (CHLPI) (3/17)

Donating Excess Food During the COVID-19 National Emergency .pdf (CHLPI) (3/17)

Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation Blog  (CHLPI) (3/17)

Local Producers, Farmers Markets Play Important Role in Feeding Population During Coronavirus Crisis (ecoRI) (3/17)

Food System Concerns in the Time of COVID-19 (CHLPI) (3/17)

Restaurants Can’t Survive COVID-19 Without a Bail Out (Eater) (3/17)

America’s Restaurants Will Need a Miracle (Atlantic) (3/17)

What the Coronavirus in China Shows Us About Food System Resilience (CLF) (3/17)

Small Farms Also Struggle as Restaurants Shut Down Due to Coronavirus (Civil Eats) (3/17)

As coronavirus spreads, farmers fear market closures and lost income (The Fern) (3/16)

‘There Is Plenty of Food in the Country’ (NYT) (3/16)

Another collection of good articles (3/16)

Food workers are on the front line of the current public health crisis (FCWA) (3/15)

The NAACP has released a resource to guide officials responsible for addressing health, economic, and other impacts, in remediating some of the issues that are disproportionately affecting communities of color. (NAACP) (3/14)

COVID-19 will increase the proportion of U.S. households that are food insecure  (The Hill)  (3/13)

COVID-19 crisis exposes weaknesses in our food supply chain (The Fern)  (3/13)

School meals are critical for 31 million children (Civil Eats)  (3/13)

Best practices on assisting food insecure seniors during a pandemic (Civil Eats has many articles about how to respond – community level, federal coverage, what schools are doing, etc.)  (3/13)

Support for organizations

Harvard Pilgrim Community-Based Organization Response to COVID-19 Grant Program (3/24)

Harvard Pilgrim Grant Program for Agencies Serving Older Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic (3/24)

No Kid Hungry is offering small grants to community organizations working to feed children during the crisis (3/19)

The New England Grassroots Environment Fund has launched a small grant program for grassroots organizations “responding to local needs and building resilience in their community in response to the COVID19 pandemic and associated events.” (3/18)

The Boston Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund: 

Great Lowell Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund

Other COVID-19 funding resources

Support for small businesses

MEMA Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program (3/16)

Support for individuals

PUBLIC RESOURCES: COVID-19 Public Resources map (MEMA) (4/22)

BENEFITS: DTA COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (3/31)

BENEFITS: COVID-19, DTA benefits, and food security: Massachusetts Information (MLRI) (3/25)

FARMER MARKETS: Massachusetts farmers markets closure status (3/16)

MEALS: Boston Map of meal sites for youth and teens (3/16) 

EMERGENCY FOOD: Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline: 800-645-8333 (8-7 M-F, 10-2 Sat, 160 languages)  (3/13)

SNAP: SNAP eligibility for college students affected by campus closures and classes. (MLRI)  (3/13)

SNAP: Food Assistance/SNAP Benefits and COVID-19 (MLRI)  (3/23)

WORKERS: Daily webinar for those applying for unemployment (3/23)

STATE SERVICES: Massachusetts 2-1-1 (3/14)

HEALTH INSURANCE: has The Massachusetts Health Connector  (3/13)

LOCAL ASSISTANCE: Mutual aid networks(3/13)

STATE HOTLINE: Information about sick time laws: 617-727-3465  (3/13)

STATE HOTLINE: Help with insurance claims or medical bills: 888-830-6277  (3/13)

STATE HOTLINE: Report price gouging or defective products: 617-727-8400 (3/13)


Return to full list of news entries.

Massachusetts Food System Collaborative