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Plant Shadow

supply chain

10:30 - 10:50 am
The Resiliency of the Food Supply Chain in
a COVID Recovery period

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​Speaker Profile:

Dr. Jill E. Hobbs is a Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. An agricultural economist by training, her research focuses on consumer behavior, supply chain economics, and food policy. She has published widely on topics ranging from consumer responses to new food technologies, traceability and authenticity in agri-food supply chains, the regulation of health foods, and the impact of COVID-19 on food supply chains. Jill earned her Ph.D. from the University of Aberdeen in the UK and holds an M.A. from the University of Calgary, and a B.Sc. (Econ) from Aberystwyth University, UK. In recognition of her contributions to research and the agricultural economics profession in Canada, Dr. Hobbs was appointed a Fellow of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society in 2017.


       The COVID-19 pandemic caused unprecedented shocks to the global economy, disrupting supply chains and requiring firms to pivot to new ways of doing business. Early in the pandemic, significant short-run adaptations occurred as supply chains pivoted from foodservice to food retail, along with supply-side disruptions due to labor force outbreaks of COVID-19, particularly in the meat sector. For the most part, however, food supply chains in North America demonstrated a surprising degree of resilience and adaptability. What is supply chain resilience, and what have we learned about supply chain resilience in the food system and the ability of food chain actors to adapt to disruption? What points of vulnerability emerged, and why? What lessons can the food industry take from the COVID-19 pandemic to better prepare for future disruptions due to climate change, natural disasters, or future pandemics?

10:50 - 11:10 am
Solutions to COVID in the Meat Industry Supply Chain

Brian Smith.jpg

​Speaker Profile:

Brian Smith currently holds the position of Director – Business Development, Food Ingredients for Hawkins, Inc. which is based in Roseville, MN. In this role, Brian focuses on food safety, antimicrobial ingredients, and functional blends manufactured by Hawkins for meat, poultry, and prepared foods (dairy, soups, sauces, vegetarian). Additionally, he manages the Ingredient Works division which manufactures custom dry blend functional ingredients and flavors for the food industry.  Brian received his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in Meat Science and his M.S. in Meat Science and B.S. in Animal and Dairy Sciences from Auburn University.


Supply chain interruptions in the food industry continue to plague food manufacturers, restaurants, retail grocers, and ultimately consumers. Primary drivers of these interruptions include labor issues, delays in transportation for ocean, rail, and truck, container accessibility, and packaging availability. Basic raw materials for manufacturing food ingredients continue to lag in supply and lead time which has created ingredient shortages and delays. Significantly more freight demand than truck and driver availability lengthens supply delivery times further complicating food manufacturing planning.  The focus on managing the supply chain has limited product development efforts due to priorities, but this trend seems to be reversing. As the food industry has settled in with longer lead times and shortages of key raw materials, renewed interest in innovation has recently materialized. Scientists and technologists are reviewing alternate ingredient and packaging options while planning and sourcing specialists are qualifying secondary and tertiary suppliers for key inputs in the food manufacturing segment.

11:10 - 11:30 am
Agroecology and the emergence of a
post-COVID-19 agriculture


​Speaker Profile:

Dr. Miguel Altieri now Emeritus Professor of Agroecology, taught at the University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management for 37 years. His research in California and Latin America focuses on the design productive, biodiverse and resilient farming systems. He is currently  Co-Director of the Centro Latinoamericano de Investigaciones Agroecologicas (CELIA – and is a part time farmer in the Andean mountains of Antioquia, Colombia. He has written more than 250 scientific articles and more than 40 books among them Agroecology: the science of sustainable agriculture, Biodiversity and pest management in agroecosystems and Agroecology: science and politics.


The multiple crises facing humanity exacerbated by COVID 19, are creating a moment where agroecology acquires greater relevance as an alternative for the reconstruction of post-COVID-19 agriculture, one capable of minimizing future widespread disruptions of food supplies by pandemics and climate change, through enhancing linkages between small scale food production and local consumption. Agroecology can point the way to a new post- COVID-19 agriculture: revitalizing small farms, creating alternative animal production systems, and enhancing urban agriculture. Focusing food and agriculture policies on agroecology as the main strategy to achieve autonomy and resilience can rapidly transform the way we produce and consume food while addressing global challenges including climate change, biodiversity loss, food insecurity, poverty, and deteriorating public health.      

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