The COVID-19 pandemic has strained domestic and international transportation systems and food supply chains, affecting the cost and availability of food and other essentials. As aspects of the pandemic subside, food prices persistently climb, impacted by sustained supply chain woes, climate disasters, war, and inflation around the world.
The pandemic, and its aftershocks, continue to create new economic stressors and exasperate longstanding economic inequalities, disproportionately affecting vulnerable and low-income communities. Alaska is often described as the last stop in the food chain, almost wholly reliant on lengthy food supply networks from the lower-48 and abroad which results in food prices, even in pre-pandemic times, multiple times higher than any other place in the United States. Increasing food cost and economic stress mirrors a rise in food insecurity and need for household food assistance in Alaska. This project investigates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on household use of food assistance in urban Alaska over the past three years.