In light of COVID-19, Food Systems for the Future has engaged in response activities using internal expertise and capacity to expand access to food in vulnerable communities amidst the crisis. FSF has focused largely on legislative education and advocacy to achieve this increased access. Specifically, FSF has engaged with federal legislation to bolster the SNAP online purchasing program availability and increase the participation of small businesses and farmer's markets. As a result of these efforts, the Expanding SNAP Options of 2020 Act was introduced in July. In tandem, FSF is working to incentivize food donations against the backdrop of stressed supply chains. Paramount to FSF's work is engaging with and strengthening partner emergency response networks in Chicago and nationwide.
Food Systems for the Future has pivoted some operations to assist in emergency response efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With support from the Rwanda Ministry of Agriculture, an innovative integrated commercial egg industry is taking root. Hormone free and free range birds producing more eggs with a longer laying life. This nascent industry was ripe for scale before the COVID-19 pandemic. Rwanda responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by limiting population movement. The closure of borders, restaurants and hotels diminished the market for eggs, resulting in a business continuity crisis particularly for the nascent commercial egg industry. Small producers without markets lacked financial resources to purchase feed. Selling birds while a logical coping strategy, would detrimentally impact the business recovery and livelihood resilience.
The government committed to providing food baskets to vulnerable households sheltering in place. The food baskets lacked protein. In partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of Agriculture, through the National Early Childhood Development Program (NECDP), and with funding support from the Eleanor Crook Foundation, Food Systems for the Future is securing weekly access of eggs to over 20,000 of the most vulnerable households in 90 villages in the district of Bugesera and protecting the supply chain of 6 egg producers and approx 24 associated jobs. With a breadth of sector knowledge and networks, FSF brings to the table its expertise on business continuity planning, working capital needs, technical assistance and business development while continuing to identify further growth opportunities for the poultry and feed sector in Rwanda.