The CIAS 2019-2020 Annual Report describes our activities to advance sustainable agricultural and food systems.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, we immediately began to hear from our farmer collaborators about disruptions in the agricultural and food system. Some of the dairy farmers that we work with saw dramatic decreases in the price they receive for their milk due to supply chain issues as consumers stopped eating at restaurants and schools, and instead purchased food for home use. The craft cider makers shared that they had to close down their tap rooms, losing critical income for their operations. At the same time, the CSA farmers we work with said that they sold out of pre-sales for the season faster than ever.
We began to see the outlines of a massive shock to the current system—one of unprecedented challenges for some and unique opportunities for others. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed critical weaknesses and inequities in the food system. The pandemic’s financial repercussions for farms and other food businesses—as well as the State of Wisconsin and the entire University of Wisconsin System—are uncertain.
Over the past 31 years, CIAS has been fully engaged in bringing together farmers, researchers and others to study and provide outreach for resiliency and viability in Wisconsin agriculture and food systems. CIAS seeks to be a key organizer and facilitator in the transformation needed to address critical ecological, economic and social issues in Wisconsin and beyond.
Your support of CIAS is needed now more than ever to keep our work relevant and responsive. With your help, we can build a more resilient, diverse and vibrant food system.