Resilience by Design and Resilience by Intervention in Supply Chains for Remote and Indigenous Communities


Resilience, as a system goal, is concerned with maintaining the intended function of a system during normal times as well as under stress and shocks. The function of a food system to provide food to households and individual consumers can persist with the help of different components and capacities that are permanent installations or that come into effect when needed. A portfolio aimed at improving the resilience of societal functions can include strategies targeting physical infrastructure, policies, mutual agreements and communication channels, and can reside inside or outside the system that provides the functions. of interest. We offer Resilience by Design (RbD) and Resilience by Intervention (RbI) as a useful framework to help conceptualize the wide range of potential remedial actions that can comprise a comprehensive and cost-effective resilience strategy.24.25.

A system with RbD can maintain and recover its critical functions autonomously. As an approach, RbD identifies elements that can be implemented within the system to minimize the degradation of critical functions under stressors and shocks, and facilitate rapid recovery if function is lost. In food supply chains, production and transport networks must be organized to ensure self-sufficiency, which can help overcome the negative consequences of disruptions. RbI, on the other hand, uses resources external to the system to facilitate persistence and recovery of critical functions. RbI strategies can take effect when the system cannot perform critical functions on its own; they can act as emergency workarounds to aid in the delivery of critical functions and allow the system to recover and/or actively support recovery.

In food supply chains, RbD strategies can include the involvement of multiple logistics networks or retailers capable of performing the same function (i.e. adding redundancy in the supply chain), relief suppliers, adaptable raw material capacities, local food production or food redistribution. RBI strategies may include the establishment of emergency government subsidies to producers (e.g. agricultural subsidies) or consumers (e.g. supplementary nutrition assistance program), government stocks, or mandatory nutrition guidelines for nutrition programs. school meals. Ideally, RbI strategies are designed and organized before a disruption so that they can take effect quickly. Developing a portfolio of appropriate RbD and RbI remedial actions requires resilience analysis to develop an implementation strategy and critically examine trade-offs, for example where effectiveness may be sacrificed for the sake of safety. improved resilience. Having both RbD and RbI in the supply chain management toolkit makes it easier to balance governance, resources and priorities for all stakeholders. In doing so, RbD and RbI help define a systems approach to ensuring that supply chains maintain optimal performance (e.g. food safety) despite disruptions.

On Martha’s Vineyard, the Vineyard Food Equity Network used RbD strategies and was a key player in providing some internal resilience during the pandemic. For example, core network member Island Grown Initiative has doubled its local agricultural production since the start of the pandemic and saved nearly 23 tonnes of food from spoilage at MV supermarkets and commercial farms.20. Despite the initial challenges of expanding distribution, their efforts effectively diversified the fresh produce supply chain, minimized reliance on off-island transport links, and restructured the waste management side. of the supply chain. This very local experience illustrates that using different strategies to build resilience comes with different challenges; the Island Grown Initiative was able to scale production capacity quickly, but the connections needed for distribution required more coordination and resources, limiting the speed of response.

In terms of RbI, a primary strategy on MV during the pandemic has been in the form of state infrastructure grants made possible by the Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program. Island Food Pantry used the funding to purchase a refrigerated van to enable a new food delivery service21. Such ad hoc measures have been essential on MV during the pandemic and indicate the need for resilience planning that seeks an optimal combination of RbD and RbI measures to prevent food insecurity in future scenarios and avoid the accompanying costs. purely ad hoc measures.

While the island has developed numerous measures to ensure the food security of its general population and the tribal community since the start of the pandemic, the pre-existing weak points exposed in its food system could be improved in the future with measures. RbD and RbI. For example, shelves were often bare at Stop & Shop grocery stores, and due to staff shortages and COVID outbreaks, one of two Cronig Market locations was forced to close.19. This further concentrated the remaining grocery stores on the east side of the island, increasing the travel burden for members of the West Island tribal community to access food. Additionally, typical government RbI measures such as food subsidies are difficult to navigate for many non-English speaking and food insecure island residents, and act as a significant deterrent to the exact population these programs target.21. Incorporating additional outreach (RbI) and internal community networks (RbD) could help improve this ineffective RbI measure. Other island-based RbD efforts may come from local food production, a movement that has been increasingly propelled by the Food Equity Network. Involving a variety of different farms, businesses and families to develop a seamless local food production system will allow residents to become less dependent on imports from the island’s fragile supply chain.


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