The Significance of Local and Regional Food Systems for Community Resilience: If Not Now, Then When?
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With our busy schedules, and under normal conditions, we often take working farms and landscapes for granted and do not notice the beauty of our surroundings, the cultural fabric of society, or consider the foundational economic and community impact of farm and food businesses. It is sometimes forgotten how interconnected we are as we go to work or move about our daily activities. Presently, the significance of local and regional food systems to community resilience cannot be overstated. During this unsettling time of social distancing and working to contain the coronavirus (COVID19), we may have a brief moment to reflect on and appreciate how a strong agricultural base and diverse food value chain is something important to be protected, appreciated, and planned for at the local, regional, and national level as our communities change in response to the current situation. The food and farm system that makes food available and accessible is an important component of community economic development, social well-being, responsiveness, resilience, and democracy. The food and farming systems are often overlooked as a connector and undervalued as a means and strategy for building health, wealth, connection, and capacity where food is grown and needed (Meter, 2011). Since everyone needs to eat each day to thrive, the food system affects and touches everyone on a daily basis. Currently, it is hard to overlook the importance of durable, diverse local, and regional food value chains and supplies. Even in this time of social distancing, farmers, market gardeners, food and beverage artisans, restaurateurs, and food service workers are sources of social courage, trust, and solidarity.