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Throughout 2020, food supply chains and market channels across the state and nation continued to be disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This factsheet highlights the impact the pandemic had on specialty crop producers in North Carolina from May through July 2020 and from October through December 2020. These surveys were part of a series of surveys conducted by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, the NC State Local Foods Program, and the NC State Department of Horticultural Science throughout 2020 to capture the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on specialty crop producers within North Carolina.
Vacationer Supported Agriculture (VSA) is a project led by NC State’s P1tLab and NC State Extension (Local Foods, Community Development, and Tourism Extension) aiming to connect small farmers with new opportunities to increase farm revenue through direct sales of fresh produce. VSA meets discerning vacationers’ desires to: a) have convenient access to fresh local produce, b) connect with the place they are visiting by buying from local farms, and c) leave positive impacts in the destinations they visit, by coordinating the sale and delivery of produce bags from local farmers. VSA enables vacation home realties to showcase their commitment to the sustainable and equitable development of their local communities by recommending the produce bags to their guests. In each county, the Extension Center and Tourism Authority play the critical role of recruiting and supporting local farmer groups and vacation home rentals. In turn they receive records of the impact this initiative had on farmer revenue and destination competitiveness.