Report Back: Food System Resilience Planning in 5 US Cities

November 10, 2020 by School of Cities Staff

In disaster planning, for both natural and human-made disasters, the role of food and food system resilience is often overlooked. To fill this resource gap, the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and Center for Applied Public Research co-convened a food system resilience community of practice within five U.S. cities: Baltimore City, Austin, Denver, Moorhead, and Orlando. Erin Biehl, Program Officer, Food System Sustainability & Public Health Program, Johns Hopkins University, shared her experiences and lessons learned from the process of co-developing food resilience planning resources with cities. Ms. Biehl discussed the challenges and strategies of integrating urban food supply chains into disaster preparedness and resilience planning. Ms. Biehl shared that “relationships are key,” highlighted that community guidance, collaboration, and input are vital. The session concluded with an emphasis on food system resilience as a co-creative process that is iterative and non-linear. 

Even though the pandemic brought to light a lot of challenges in our food system, [cities] felt like they were still having to make the case for why it’s important to think about food system resilience, and even why we need to think about food when we’re thinking about disasters, so there’s still a case that needs to be made. - Erin Biehl