Pandemic Produce: Impacts of COVID-19 on Florida's Fruit and Vegetable Industries

Christa D. Court, David Outerbridge, Lauri Baker, Laura Birou, Catherine Campbell, Gigi Digiacomo, Sebastian Galindo, John Lai, Alexandre Magnier, Michelle Miller, Gustavo De L.T. Oliveira, Eyrika Orlando, Hikaru Hanawa Peterson, Xiaohui Qiao, Fritz Roka, Andrew Ropicki, Bijeta Bijen Saha, Andrew W. Stevens, Li Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Florida has one of the most diverse agricultural economies in the United States, producing several dozen types of fruits and vegetables that are consumed within the state, across the country, and around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting policy responses occurred during the peak of spring harvest season for many crops in Florida, abruptly removing market demand from the food service industry and shifting consumer purchasing habits, which enabled insights into several aspects of the fruit and vegetable supply chain. This article examines how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted fruit and vegetable industries in Florida, how these industries responded to COVID-19 impacts, and how Florida's experience compared to that of other states. Data are derived from several sources including a statewide survey that measured agricultural production losses in Florida resulting from COVID-19 in early 2020, interviews with Florida operations that provided insights into how the pandemic induced change across the food supply chain, and a survey of food supply chain operations in three regions of the United States conducted in 2021.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-88
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Industrial Organization
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This survey was part of the project titled “Lessons from COVID-19: Positioning Regional Food Supply Chains for Future Pandemics, Natural Disasters and Human Made Crises”, which is supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, grant no. 2020-68006-33037, from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Funding Information:
Valuable assistance in the preparation of the interview guides, recruitment of participants, and implementation of interviews was provided by Lauren Butler, County Extension Director and Livestock Agent II, Okeechobee County Cooperative Extension Service, UF/IFAS; Angela Corona, Public Health Specialist, Family Nutrition Program, Osceola and Orange Counties, UF/IFAS; Dr. Vincent Encomio, Florida Sea Grant Agent, Martin and St. Lucie Counties, UF/IFAS; Liz Felter, Regional Specialized Extension Agent in central Florida, UF/IFAS; Carlita Fiestas-Nunez, Food Systems Specialist, Family Nutrition Program, UF/IFAS; Yvette Goodiel, Sustainability and Commercial Horticulture Agent, Martin County, UF/IFAS; Jennifer Hagen, Family Consumer Sciences Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Lee County; Brittany Hall-Scharf, Marine Agent, UF/IFAS Extension and the Florida Sea Grant Program; Ron Hamel, Agribusiness Consultant, Center for Agribusiness, Lutgert College of Business, FGCU; Lisa Hickey, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Extension Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Manatee County; Molly Jameson, Sustainable Agriculture and Community Food Systems Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Leon County; Elias T. Kirche, Department of Information Systems Operations Management, Florida Gulf Coast University; Colleen Larson, Regional Dairy Agent, Okeechobee, Highlands, DeSoto, and Hardee Counties, UF/IFAS; Gene McAvoy, Associate Director for Stakeholder Relations, Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, UF/IFAS; Jeannie Necessary, Food Systems Specialist, Family Nutrition Program, UF/IFAS; Chris Prevatt, State Specialized Extension Agent II – Beef Cattle and Forage Enterprise Budgeting and Marketing, Range Cattle Research and Education Center, UF/IFAS; Jessica Ryals, Agriculture and Sustainable Food Systems Agent, Collier County, UF/IFAS; Stuart Van Auken, Eminent Scholar, Marketing, Lutgert College of Business, FGCU; Andrea Moron Vasquez, Program Manager, Family Nutrition Program, Lee County, UF/IFAS; and Kelly Wilson, Food Systems Specialist, Family Nutrition Program, Lee County, UF/IFAS. Valuable assistance with the preparation of the interview data and this article was also provided by Kelsey McDaid, Research Coordinator, Food and Resource Economics Department, UF/IFAS.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.


  • COVID-19
  • economic impacts
  • fruits and vegetables


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