A qualitative investigation of resilience among small farms in western Washington State
Experiences during the first growing season of COVID-19
Keywords:COVID-19, Pandemic, Farm, Washington State, Impact, Resilience, Values, Interview, Qualitative, Small Farms
The 2020 growing season presented new and significant challenges for farmers and farms across the United States as they navigated the COVID-19 pandemic. The rich and diverse agricultural landscape of Washington State offers a valuable microcosm in which to explore the experiences of farms in the U.S. during the pandemic. The purpose of this study was to qualitatively assess the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on directly marketing small farms in western Washington State, with a focus on farmers’ experiences with resilience. We conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 15 farmers and used thematic analysis to explore the influence of the pandemic on overall experiences, responses, and values and perceptions related to small farms. Interviewees provided insights on the impacts of the pandemic on their daily farm operations, production costs, marketing channels, demand, and revenue. Farmers also reported shifting personal and public attitudes towards small farms during the pandemic. Product diversity, flexibility, multiple forms of support, values, and access to resources emerged as drivers of COVID-19 impacts and farm adaptations. When compared to existing frameworks on farm resilience, farms in this study are seen to demonstrate resilience via buffer and adaptive capabilities, which enable them to absorb and adjust to shocks. Farmers also discussed resilience via transformative capability, the potential to create new systems, leveraging the collective power of small farms to shape future food systems. Future research on the resilience of small farms should focus on ways to both promote resilience attributes and facilitate the ability of farmers to act on resilience capabilities.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Dani Ladyka, Yona Sipos, Marie L. Spiker, Sarah M. Collier
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
The copyright to all content published in JAFSCD belongs to the author(s). It is licensed as CC BY 4.0. This license determines how you may reprint, copy, distribute, or otherwise share JAFSCD content.