Farming resilience: civil society's role in supporting vulnerable rural communities through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic

Lead Research Organisation: University of Reading
Department Name: Sch of Agriculture Policy and Dev


The experience of a pandemic at a time of rural change (the post-Brexit agricultural transition is the biggest change to rural policy in a generation) presents a range of unique challenges to farmers, rural communities and the civil society organisations that support them. The project seeks to: i) understand the success of different activities in limiting the 'scarring' effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on farmers' mental health and resilience ii) understand the impacts of the pandemic on civil society organisations themselves (including severe fundraising shortfalls, operational restrictions and social challenges) and iii) scale up these understandings to build system and community resilience against future shocks, such as the impending challenges presented by the post-Brexit agricultural transition. It will do this through a scoping review, surveys and interviews with civil society organisations, and a range of policy and practice workshops with a range of stakeholders, supported by established partnerships and a strong steering committee.

This research is important because we know very little about how the farming community, and the support systems underpinning them, are being affected by COVID-19. Our deliverables will enable policy-makers and organisations to support the levelling up of rural communities and to increase their community resilience to future challenges.


10 25 50