Coronavirus: The Impact on Our Food System

Of all the stressful considerations we have to make during coronavirus, thinking through how we ensure our food system stays functioning is daunting. Shutdowns and demand changes have farmers fearful, lack of safety precautions is endangering agricultural workers who have been deemed “essential,” and a lack of workers may ensure that food is left rotting in the field. We’re seeing families go hungry, at the same time that food is going to waste and dairy farmers are being forced to dump out milk.

Why This Matters: Food going to waste at the same time that Americans are hungry isn’t a new problem. Our food system does not ensure that all Americans have equal food sovereignty and security. As we work toward a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, we can use it as an opportunity to support struggling small-scale farmers instead of ensuring that only large-scale ag is getting subsidized. And perhaps we can examine as a nation just how fragile food security truly is.

FYI: How to safely and ethically order takeout during the crisis. Also, a guide on how to get and give help.

Worth a Listen: ODP reader and rural and agriculture policy writer, Bryce Oates, recently recorded a really interesting podcast on the challenges faced by family farms.

National Response: U.S. health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed that we may never “get back to normal” but gradually we’ll “function as a society.” He also added that a number therapies are in the pipeline and several potential vaccines are in the works, giving him faith “that we will never have to get back to where we are right now.”

And as Politico reported, “Former President Barack Obama on Monday offered high praise for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, endorsing the former presidential candidate’s extensive framework for how to jump-start the economy once the coronavirus pandemic recedes.”

Meanwhile, at a press conference yesterday, President Trump berated reporters for asking him about a report from the Dept. of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General which details challenges facing hospitals in responding to the coronavirus pandemic. He insisted that before being asked a question he should have been praised for his coronavirus response.

The Trouble With Respirators: As CNN explained, ventilators don’t operate on their own. Why respiratory therapists are key to coronavirus treatment.

The Good News: China reported no coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, the first time since it started publishing daily figures in January.


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