Food System Resources During COVID-19

The spread of COVID-19 has affected all of Indiana and the nation, extensively disrupting family and work routines, changing who we spend time with, impacting how and where and how often we access food, and adding to our stress levels from a variety of angles. Below is a list of resources that might help you or others in your community navigate issues in the food system during this time. 

Crises like this one highlight the importance of community resilience. It begs the question of how we, as a family, as a neighborhood, as a town, city, state, nation, and world, plan to get through this challenge and come back stronger. The food system jumps to the forefront of this conversation, as grocery stores, delivery services, and other supply chain roles become designated as essential services, and cashiers and store clerks and farmers and delivery drivers now work on the front lines. 

Already, we have seen remarkable community responses to address this crisis—neighbors offering to pick-up groceries for more vulnerable members in their community, people sewing masks to provide protective gear to healthcare workers, neighbors sharing seeds and plant starts as more people feel called to grow their own food, and little free markets popping up in yards across towns. 

If you have any questions about the following resources, please do not hesitate to reach out over email to members of our team at Sustainable Food Systems Science:,, or the Center for Rural Engagement:

Applications for Financial Assistance
Great Lakes Response - Farmer Resilience Initiative: Farm Aid is offering $500 to farmer families in need of assistance with household expenses this month. The applicaiton opens on June 6th. Learn more here
Emergency Food and Other Assistance
South Central Indiana COVID-19 Food Resources: A map of emergency food providers in the Indiana Uplands. If there are locations missing, please suggest a location to add using this form 
Aunt Bertha: A link to general COVID-19 resources for Bloomington, Ellettsville, Monroe County, and surrounding area. 
Local Food Markets in the Region
Local Harvest: A list of CSAs in the region. 
Market Wagon: An online market and delivery service for food grown and made in Indiana. 
Indiana Grown: An inventory of local food farmers and producers in Indiana. 
Lost River Market and Deli: A local food cooperative in Paoli, Indiana, offering free delivery, special deals, a grocery assistance fund for those unable to afford food right now. 
Resources for Farmers' Markets, Farmers, and Food Businesses
Farmers Market Coalition: A list of best practices for managing farmers' markets during the spread of COVID-19. 
Direct Market Farmers Guide to Covid-19: Help positioning your business for safety and success during this time of COVID-19. 
Farmers Guide to Direct Sales Software Platforms: A comparitve guide to help navigate software options for online market platforms compiled by the Hoosier Young Farmers Coalition.
Ample Harvest: A nationwide resource helping reduce hunger and food waste by connecting farmers and markets with food pantries in need.
Farm Commons, Podcast: An educational podcast following farm related developments in the COVID-19 crisis.
Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (KCARD): A guide to Coronavirus funding and other small business assistance.
Common Wealth Kitchen Guide for Small Businesses during Covid-19: A compilation of resources available for HR, financial, and other aspects of a small business that are likely drastically impacted by the spread and precautions around COVID-19.
Farmers' Markets in the Region
Federal and State Agencies
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: A hub for information regarding the public health response to the spread of COVID-19. 
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): A collection of FAQs on how the USDA is responding to the spread of COVID-19, with some guidance for farmers and food businesses. 
USDA Food and Nutrition Service: A list of updates on critical nutrition services such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. 
Indiana State Department of Health: A hub for information regarding Indiana’s public health response to the spread of COVID-19.
Purdue University Extension: A collection of resources to respond to the spread of COVID-19. 
Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement: A listing of community resources for the Indiana Uplands during the spread of COVID-19. 
Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences, Small Farms Program: A compilation of resources for small farms and food businesses around COVID-19.
American Farmland Trust: A farmer relief fund to which small- to mid-sized farms can apply. 
Small Business Administration: A source for emergency loans to small businesses. 
The CARES Act: a comparison of SBA loan programs under EIDL and PPP: A chart intended as a guide to determine which Small Business Administration loan program best fits your company's needs and objectives
United Way, Community Foundation, City of Bloomington: Additional resources for funding during this time.
Resources for Bloomington-Based Students 
Crimson Cupboard at IU: An emergency food resource for IU students 
Division of Student Affairs Website, Student Support: A resource for applications for emergency funds for IU students.
You can also complete a care report for a student who you think might need assistance so that someone from the Dean’s office can check in with them here.
Volunteer Opportunities 
Access ways to help nonprofits as a virtual volunteer nationwide at Taproot Foundation or Catchafire