Adaptive capacity in emergency food distribution: Pandemic pivots and possibilities for resilient communities in Colorado Public Deposited

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  • 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 chal-lenges of operating their programs during a pan-demic. How are they adapting, and which existing organizational assets have they been able to draw from and/or strengthen? Based on in-depth quali-tative 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 rein-force adaptive capacities. By drawing from collec-tive resources, leveraging the efficiency of their flexible and decentralized structures, and network-ing across organizations, the programs in our study took advantage of existing organizational assets. At the same time, we argue that by overcoming logisti-cal and practical barriers to address emerging food insecurity needs, they simultaneously deepened their adaptive capacities to respond to ongoing and future crises.

Date Issued
  • 2022
Academic Affiliation
Journal Title
Last Modified
  • 2022-04-15
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Rights Statement
  • 2152-0801


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