COVID exposes weakness in our food system
The COVID-19 epidemic has exposed a number of flaws in society. Beyond the appalling Federal response and our poorly coordinated medical infrastructure, COVID has exposed weakness in our industrial food system.
Recent articles (see below) have highlighted the epidemic’s impact in meat processing plants, where workers, who already face dangerous working conditions, have been exposed and infections spread. Plants are closing due to illness, demand has shrunk due to restaurants and food service businesses being closed, and meanwhile out of work Americans struggle to put food on the table during layoffs or unemployment.
The articles linked at the end of this post highlight some of these issues, and while alarming, can provide hope – hope that we can return to a smaller, locally-focused food system that is “right sized.” We’ve already highlighted rising interest in growing your own food and raising poultry. What we need is to return to the traditional ways before large highly-centralized mega farms became the norm. The return will be hard.
How do we get there? To start, we can support small and local food businesses, from farms to shops and restaurants. We can save seeds and not rely on patented GM-crops. We will also have to roll up our sleeves and do work. Much of what has driven the change in our food system is what we eat and how that food is made. Convenient meals mean processing – offloading the work of making a meal and putting it in the hands of businesses that are profit motivated. Their drive to reduce costs has created economies of scale, that we are now seeing break down.
Instead, we can take the time we are stuck at home in quarantine, and learn to prepare our own food. Dust off that cookbook your grandma had, and see what it takes to feed your family. Yes it takes time, but in the process we might learn to respect the food we eat and how it has arrived on our plate.
More ‘food for thought’ to check out:
What are your thoughts? Leave your comment below and let’s see how we can find solutions and take action.