Giving Compass' Take:

• James Tefft offers insight on the importance of local government and private sector collaboration in stabilizing food systems during the COVID-19 pandemic.

• How can the private sector support the public agents in enacting effective policy to support the food system? What can you do to improve your own giving right away?

• Here's why you should double down on your giving today.

The nature of the pandemic is giving rise to new challenges to food system actors at every level – disruptions to food supply chains and logistics, rapid changes in consumer food behavior, more worker safety measures. The situation calls for stronger public, private and community safety nets to feed the increasing number of people who have lost jobs or income. Local governments, in direct contact with communities, also have a critical role to play in adapting and supporting food systems to conform to COVID-19 health directives while ensuring the local population’s food security.

Local responses throughout the world point to the increasingly important role of local government in food system performance. Experiences in several countries show how leadership and functional relationships with local actors contribute to proactive and agile responses by local government and promote innovative action tailored to local contexts. Action taken at provincial, district/county and municipal levels can help strengthen the governance and continuity of food systems.

Local private sector food industry groups, producer and informal food sector associations, civil society organizations and citizen groups are playing equally prominent roles to ensure supply chains function, workers are protected and vulnerable populations reached.

Public finances in local government are often weak. COVID-19 and slow economic activity will weaken them further. Local government and their private sector and civil society food system counterparts need financial and technical support to carry out these roles.

As COVID-19 leaves an imprint on how we think about food, local government capacities and actions become increasingly important. Much of what we do in the future will be based on lessons learned from COVID-19 responses at all levels.

Read the full article about local government and the private sector in food systems by James Tefft at Food Tank.