Mikal M Giancola, MPH and Eve C. Pinsker, PhD
In March 2020, Louisiana farmers markets halted in-person operations to adapt after COVID-19. Consumption of healthy foods at farmers markets, especially among poor and minority communities, is a subsidized public health priority in the US (USDA, 2021). Grant funding supported marketing, adopting online platforms, and farmer incentives. An initial study examining the changes in these farmers markets during COVID-19 investigates if innovation occurred, the factors that influence innovation, the types of learning that facilitated innovating, and how COVID-19 influenced learning and innovation. More broadly, the paper discusses how public health institutions can support innovation as co-creators. Qualitative methods were used to analyse publicly available records including documents and audio-visual recordings (Miles, Huberman, & Saldaña, 2020). A modified Holling’s cycle served as an analytic model to understand how innovation after a crisis unfolds over time (Fath, Dean, & Katzmair, 2015). Analysis showed during COVID-19, support resulted in multiple innovations supporting short-term resilience. The discussion demonstrates learning over time addresses the tension between design of interventions as an initial, strategic planning process vs. iterative cycles of co-creating, learning and co-evolving.
Keywords: PSE change, farmers markets, innovation, learning