How the Food and Agriculture Community is Responding to COVID-19

People and organizations across the world are helping to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on their communities and neighbors near and far.

May 12, 2020

The productivity and sustainability of our agriculture and food systems are constantly threatened by pandemic outbreaks of disease and pests. The Harvest 2050 blog is providing a weekly-updated list of resources and articles that explore the threats to agricultural productivity, food security, livelihoods, and environmental sustainability from diseases and pests that sicken and kill people, livestock, and crops.

The 2020 GAP Report will also explore these themes, as well as describing technologies, practices, and policies that foster productivity growth, while also mitigating the risks of pandemic disease and threats. We will keep this list current, so follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn, where we’ll share as we update this blog. Past resource lists are available here, and linked at the bottom of each blog.

Look for the Helpers

The pandemic and its response continue to take a toll on the world, changing life as we know it. But in these uncertain times, there is always one constant: the helpers.

People and organizations around the world have stepped up to help their neighbors near and far. Though the news is stark, there is hope in the way communities, countries, and the world have banded together to combat the invisible enemy that is the COVID-19 virus.

In the food and agriculture sector, these helpers can be found all over the world. We’ve watched as our partner organizations and host institution, Virginia Tech, have continued to work to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic for producers, farmers, and consumers — and this week we’re spotlighting some of those efforts.

Whether stepping up to produce protective equipment for healthcare workers, supporting producers across the globe, or fighting food insecurity, glimpses into the work of these helpers provides some comfort and levity in the most challenging times.

A photo of a mass distribution site for food in a large parking lot.
Credit: USDA / Lance Cheung


Addressing the Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Women and Girls (ACDI/VOCA)

  • Women and girls are especially vulnerable in times of crisis.  ACDI/VOCA has published a guide to gender and social inclusion strategies for COVID-19 interventions.

Our Commitment during the Coronavirus Pandemic (Bayer)

  • On this Corona Ticker, Bayer recounts step-by-step the ways they are contributing to the fight against COVID-19, including supporting farmers in India, donating funds to the Argentinian response to the virus, producing and donating sanitizers and face shields in Mexico, and many more ways.

Hunger Fellows and Alums Respond to Coronavirus (Congressional Hunger Center)

  • Worldwide economic shutdowns and job losses have thrown millions of people into food insecurity and hunger overnight.  Emerson and Leland Hunger Fellows are responding to the crisis, both at home and around the world.

As COVID-19 threatens global food supply, fresh potato is back on the table for millions (CIP – International Potato Center)

  • Potatoes are the third most important food crop in the world. During the economic crisis caused by the response to COVID, this inexpensive source of nutrition is finding its way to many tables around the world. 

Our Response to COVID-19 (Corteva)

  • Corteva continues to protect the health and safety of their employees while also stepping up to aid in the processing of COVID-19 samples. They’re also working to fight food insecurity by supporting global food security organizations.

COVID-19 (Farm Foundation)

  • Farm Foundation is tracking resources and news articles relevant to agricultural producers adjusting to the COVID-19 crisis.

Covid-19 and food prices: what do we know so far? (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition)

  • GAIN is tracking global food prices, encouraging policymakers to keep the trade of nutritious foods open during the pandemic.

Reaching Farmers and Vulnerable Communities Amid COVID-19 (HarvestPlus)

  • HarvestPlus country teams are finding innovative ways to get farmers the supplies and agronomic information they need to grow nutrient-dense foods that can help keep them healthy.

Food Security Monitor for the Americas (International Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture)

  • IICA is publishing regular updates on how COVID-19 crisis is impacting food security in North and South America.

COVID-19 Update Center (John Deere)

  • In this update page, John Deere shares the ways the company is responding to the COVID-19 crisis, including producing face shields for healthcare workers and remotely monitoring equipment for customers.

Our Giving Is Guided by Our Mission, Especially Through This Crisis (The Mosaic Company)

  • The Mosaic Company announced $1.5 million in donations to help with food, personal protective equipment, and educational materials in five countries.

Conservation in a Time of COVID-19: Notes from the Field (The Nature Conservancy)

  • TNC staff from around the world reflect on how their work is changing due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Smithfield Foods to Donate 40 Million Servings of Protein to Food Banks Nationwide as Part of COVID-19 Response (Smithfield Foods)

  • Smithfield is making its largest donation in the company’s history to provide protein products for millions of food insecure Americans.  

With care and resilience, Tanager is responding to COVID 19 (Tanager; May 5, 2020)

  • While following shelter-in-place mandates, Tanager is working to ensure people’s health and safety in the near term while also mitigating the longer-term economic impact of the pandemic through their well-connected network of staff and producers.

COVID-19 Resources (Virginia Cooperative Extension)

  • Cooperative Extension continues to serve amid the crisis, finding innovative ways to conduct operations and publishing reports on the impact of COVID-19 on U.S. and Virginia farms and agribusinesses.

Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center strives for industry innovations during COVID-19 (VT News; April 30, 2020)

  • “Through the SmartFarm Innovation Network, Virginia Tech is leading the charge to help local communities thrive and spark a new agricultural and natural resources economy. But the industry also needs assistance now, which led to the exploration of a new method of sales for the typically restaurant-focused seafood industry – direct-to-consumer sales.”

Virginia Cooperative Extension expert offers tips for healthy eating at home during COVID-19 (VT News; April 27, 2020)

  • Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Virginia Cooperative Extension has worked tirelessly to educate consumers about nutrition, sharing insights about healthy eating and food options.

UNMC team develops COVID-19 dashboard for Nebraska, expanding soon to include surrounding states (Water for Food Daugherty Global Institute at the University of Nebraska; April 7, 2020)

  • In fall 2019, researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln began working on a project to create social vulnerability maps tracking things such as drought, climate info, and soil health. As the news of COVID-19 grew, the researchers pivoted their project to create a vulnerability map for susceptible populations in Nebraska, and eventually made an informative and detailed dashboard mapping out the number of COVID-19 diagnoses and deaths, as well as counties with more vulnerable populations — which has proven helpful to Nebraska’s public health and emergency response directors.


Past Resource Lists

Posts not found

Partner Case Study: Partner Name