Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Rebecca K. Zarger, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tara F. Deubel, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dillon Mahoney, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gladys Savolainen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Maya Trotz, Ph.D.


agricultural development, disaster, political ecology, resilience


The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the lives of millions, if not billions, in some shape or form. This global multi-sited dissertation documents responses and changes in the agricultural development context within the AgriCord Alliance and network as they had appeared during the pandemic, with a specific focus on co-production of resilience and the Food-Energy-Water Nexus. The research elucidates experiences representing the whole ‘food chain’ of a global agricultural development network. As the Covid-19 pandemic was a global event, it offered an opportunity for global disaster research. During the pandemic, the farmers’ organizations and their members faced economic stress as marketplaces closed and other income sources were diminishing. Building on semi-structured online and offline interviews (n=42) and participant observation, this dissertation establishes that while there were myriad responses to the pandemic, the most impactful ways of addressing health, lockdown, and economic effects showed similarities even in distant locations. The study finds that development budget allocation became more flexible during the pandemic as organizations with the power to decide also felt the effects of the pandemic, possibly informing future development endeavors, and insinuating a paradigm shift. Furthermore, as lockdowns, social distancing, and remote working became the “norm,” mental health issues emerged. On the other hand, global solidarity rose during this time as more online connections were installed and people in the network had more frequent interactions, increasing organizational social capital as well. This research shows how decisions in global development practice influenced agricultural FEWs dynamics, applying one of political ecology’s key concepts of multi-scalar relationships.