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Resilient, Crisis-Ready Food System (RCR)

  

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed fractures in our global food system. At the beginning, many of our region’s food banks struggled to meet sudden high demand, consumers faced empty grocery shelves, staples were scarce. Many local farmers, distributors, and aggregators quickly pivoted their operations and kept produce and other food flowing through the region, especially to those in need. But farmers are still working with ill-suited infrastructure, skilled labor shortages, erratic weather, and the uncertainty of what the new normal poses for their businesses. Further, the scourge of systemic racism has amplified these issues for farmers and food business owners of color. 

How can we create a regional food system that is more resilient and crisis ready, especially in the face of global food supply disruptions? 

That question is at the heart of the new Resilient, Crisis-Ready (RCR) Project, which seeks to create an open-source, available-to-all “RCR” action plan for addressing these challenges, accessible to policymakers, investors, funders, nonprofits, academics, and others.

“Dump-Lump-Dot-Plot” 

Step 1: The “Dump” – Are you game? Dump your ideas into a big virtual RCR Idea Bucket 
Step 2: The “Lump” - RCR Project organizers lump like ideas together into sub-buckets 
Step 3: The “Dot” – You put virtual “dots” by your priority ideas (stay tuned for dot exercise later this fall) 
Step 4: The “Plot” - RCR project organizers create the action plan, to be released by Jan. 15, 2021, at the Future Harvest annual conference 

Together, we can build a better Chesapeake food system! 


 

Future Harvest Executive Director Dena Leibman moderates a five-farmer panel discussing what changes need to be made in order to build a resilient, crisis-ready food system. 

Panelists:

  • Renard Turner, Vanguard Ranch, Virginia
  • Thelonius Cook, Mighty Thundercloud Edible Forest, Virginia
  • MK Barnett, Open Book Farm, Maryland
  • Emma Jagoz, Moon Valley Farm, Maryland
  • Will Morrow, Whitmore Farm (formerly), Maryland
     

The RCR Project is spearheaded by Future Harvest, the Regional Food Systems Program at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), and the Harry Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology.