UVM Survey Explores the Coronavirus and Food Insecurity | Bite Club

UVM Survey Explores the Coronavirus and Food Insecurity


Food in a gorcery store - FILE: ALICE LEVITT
  • File: Alice Levitt
  • Food in a gorcery store
Researchers at the University of Vermont, working with colleagues at Johns Hopkins University, have developed and distributed a survey to learn how the coronavirus might impact food insecurity.

Meredith Niles, lead investigator and assistant professor in UVM’s Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, said in a press release that the pandemic has “highlighted a number of instabilities in the food system.”

From people stockpiling food to changes in programs “that help alleviate food insecurity,” to more people possibly experiencing food insecurity due to job loss or sickness, the pandemic is creating new demands on food systems, Niles said in the release.

In an email to Seven Days, she said the “first priority” of the survey is to get an understanding of the situation in Vermont.

She also hopes information from the survey will provide “insight into the food behaviors that surround a health pandemic, to enable us to consider strategies that might safeguard food security in both the short term and in the future.”

In addition, Niles wrote that she is hopeful the survey — which garnered 1,000 responses within two days of its launch — “provides real-time data for policymakers who are currently considering policies to help vulnerable populations.”

Through multiple-choice questions, the survey asks about getting food in the last 12 months and since March 8, when the coronavirus emerged in Vermont. It also asks about ways in which shopping habits might have changed recently, the ability of respondents to access food, and means of transportation used for shopping.

Those 18 or older can take the survey at coronavirusfoodsurvey.com.

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