FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY AND EQUITY
National Food Access and COVID Research Team (NFACT)
The COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on food systems around the world. Meredith and the lab, along with collaborators within and beyond UVM, are leading a national effort to document food access, security and systems impacts from COVID-19 through the National Food Access and COVID Research Team (NFACT). NFACT collaborators are in 15 states across 18 study sites, which began in Vermont. The initial survey conducted in Vermont was utilized across other study sites for common measurements. The first combined study of the effort, a collection of more than 27,000 individuals in the first year of the pandemic was published in Current Developments in Nutrition.
NFACT has made their survey instruments and codebooks open access and freely available to all researchers on the Harvard Dataverse.
Additional resources can be found on the NFACT website:
Food and Health Outcomes in Rural New England during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Two of the early NFACT teams included Vermont and Maine, who have continued to collaborate on additional research in Northern New England during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Funded through the Northern New England Clinical and Translational Research Center, The Gund Institute for Environment and a 2022 USDA rural development grant, the team from UVM and University of Maine are documenting the longer-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security, nutrition, and health outcomes. A particularly important aspect of this project also explores the role of Home Food Production (HFP) including gardening, fishing, foraging, hunting, and raising animals for food. HFP is prevalent in New England, and the previous and ongoing research of the team has demonstrated its importance for food insecure households, nutrition and diet, and mental health outcomes.
This project is developing a series of geospatial health and food access scales across the region to pinpoint areas of low access and economic development opportunities. The project is also exploring the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on marginalized and underserved populations including rural low-income, LGBTQ+, and BIPOC respondents and households.