Abstract for: Effectiveness of Policies and Organizations’ Partnerships in Mitigating Shocks to Fresh Produce Surplus Recovery
External shocks to food systems are becoming more frequent and severe, exacerbating food security issues that affect already vulnerable populations. Several policies have been crafted to improve food and nutrition security and reduce waste, some of them emerging as a response to disruptions. The implementation of these policies relies on key stakeholders such as farms, retailers, and organizations that distribute emergency food. However, these stakeholders are also subject to the effect of shocks. Using a collaborative system dynamic model of surplus fresh fruits and vegetables recovery and information on organization-level responses during the Covid pandemic collected in an online survey, we tested the ability of New York state policies (a surplus food compensation program for local producers and an organic waste ban) to respond to increased food demand, changes in the food supply, and decreased human capacity at organizations. We also tested partnerships across organizations and their increased coordination as buffers for mitigating the impact of disruptions. Policy success is assessed based on the ability to sustain the provision of fresh produce to vulnerable populations and minimize wasted food within the food rescue system after disruptions.