Varied impact of COVID-19 on food insecurity calls for varied municipal response

Woman selecting produce in face mask

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered an increased awareness of food insecurity as well as an increase in the implementation of policies and interventions at the federal, state, and local levels to address the growing rate of food insecurity during the pandemic. While the proportion of the food insecure population in the United States remained the same between 2019 and 2020 (10.5%), it increased significantly among Black, non-Hispanic and Hispanic households (19.1% to 21.7% and 15.6% to 17.2%, respectively) during the same period. 

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University found that, while the COVID-19 pandemic was a common system shock, differences existed between municipal-level food system operations and adaptation approaches during the coronavirus pandemic.  

 The Food Security and COVID-19 study, a supplement to Modeling the Future of Food in Your Neighborhood (foodNEST 2.0) funded by the Foundations for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), explored how COVID-19 impacted food insecurity differently in municipalities that had different levels of food insecurity prior to the pandemic. The study also examined the tradeoffs, if any, to different COVID-19 response strategies. Government officials, food access leaders, and community leaders from six municipalities in Cuyahoga County were interviewed between March and April 2021 to gather feedback regarding municipal-level response to food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Findings from the study allude that the pace at which we achieve community vitality in the wake of the pandemic depends on whether we deploy strategies that fully tackle the reality and the root causes of food insecurity.  


To review a data brief with the full study findings, please visit the Food Security and COVID-19 Study page