How COVID-19 is Impacting Our Food System

And How You Can Take Action

COVID-19 has upended our food system, and its effects have been felt along the entire supply chain. It’s created new barriers to access and distribution – and it’s highlighted challenges that have been there all along.

We’ve all seen the images of farmers forced to dump milk onto the ground and plow under produce in their fields, because the closure of restaurants, schools, and other foodservice businesses has walled off their normal distribution channels. And the worst may be yet to come, as cows continue to produce milk and crops keep growing.

But there are bright spots. Food security and recovery organizations on the front lines are figuring out how to adapt to this new reality – implementing innovative new initiatives to get healthy food from the farm and evolving their operations to ensure the safety of their employees and the people they serve. And funders are recognizing the urgent need for support and are providing the capital necessary to scale and spread these solutions.

The shifts that COVID-19 is forcing upon the food system could potentially result in permanent changes. Typically, more than 40% of food is wasted across the supply chain. And once the immediate crisis is contained, we’ll be left with an unexpected opportunity to fix that – to come together and create an efficient food system that maximizes resource use and is ready to meet the next big challenge it faces.

See How You Can Get Involved Below



Learn About the Organizations Receiving Grants from the ReFED COVID-19 Food Waste Solutions Fund here

What's Happening

ReFED'S COVID-19 U.S. Food System Review

What changes are occurring throughout the food system as a result of COVID-19? And what pandemic-related barriers still need to be overcome? Our review of food businesses, food recovery organizations, and others has answers.

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Get – or give – Support

The ReFED COVID-19 Food Waste Solutions Fund

The Solutions Fund is a streamlined, one-stop, rapid response vehicle delivering critical support to high-impact food waste organizations. Learn how to apply – or donate.

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Learn and adapt

Better Together: Food System Best Practices for Navigating COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how food waste solution providers and food businesses must operate to safely do their work. Our weekly online discussion series is your chance to learn from others who are successfully adapting their operations and to share your own insights and stories.

Find Help

Explore our List of Resources

From food recovery organizations rescuing produce from farms to food pantries distributing relief packages for those struggling to make ends meet, here’s a list of resources to connect you to the help you need.

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Connect with ReFED

Organizations on the front lines are figuring out how to make it work despite limited resources. But sometimes they need an extra hand – whether it’s transportation for a surprise delivery, extra cold storage for a last-minute donation, people-power to pull it all together, and more. If your organization has a need, or if you’ve got something to offer – let us know, and we’ll do our best to make a connection with our contacts. And if you've got a story to share about the challenges you've overcome, we'd love to hear it.

Connect with us