Adaptive capacity in emergency food distribution
Pandemic pivots and possibilities for resilient communities in Colorado
Keywords:Community Resilience, Adaptive Capacity, Food Systems, Local, COVID-19, Pandemic, Emergency Food Programs, Food Banks, Food Pantries, Colorado
The unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic have revealed weaknesses in our emergency food distribution programs and also highlighted the importance of the adaptive capacity that is actively fostered within such programs. Community-based food distribution programs have faced an increased reliance on their services due to record-breaking food insecurity since March 2020. Concurrently, these emergency food distribution programs have had to deal with the logistical challenges of operating their programs during a pandemic. How are they adapting, and which existing organizational assets have they been able to draw from and/or strengthen? Based on in-depth qualitative research with emergency food distribution programs in Boulder and Denver, Colorado, this paper analyzes how their operational responses to the COVID-19 crisis both demonstrate and reinforce adaptive capacities. By drawing from collective resources, leveraging the efficiency of their flexible and decentralized structures, and networking across organizations, the programs in our study took advantage of existing organizational assets. At the same time, we argue that by overcoming logistical and practical barriers to address emerging food insecurity needs, they simultaneously deepened their adaptive capacities to respond to ongoing and future crises.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Heide K. Bruckner, Sophie Dasaro
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