As we head into another week of self-isolation in New York City, here are a few good reads from local and national news that paint a more complete picture of how the pandemic is affecting our food system.
We believe that food is a right and that the way to ensure access to healthy, nutritious foods in times of both crisis and quiet is to cultivate food sovereignty through hyperlocal agroecologies—a web of producers and purveyors so that consumers can have an intimate relationship with food. As our interactions become more strategic and we settle into these unprecedented times, we encourage everyone to take time to dream of what a just food system could be in your community. As Leah Penniman, farm manager of Soul Fire farms, said to The New York Times this week, “In some ways we’ve been preparing for this all our lives as organizers and as small-scale farmers. As we see the systems we’ve come to rely on show their cracks, we are called to rise to the moment.”
Food Supply Anxiety Brings Back Victory Gardens
We were not alone in using the Vernal equinox on March 19th for garden planning and seed starting. As Tejal Rao reports, seed companies are seeing a huge uptick in sales and the Victory Garden model, which empowered Americans to grow almost 40% of their own produce during the World Wars, has found a new audience. [Editor’s Note: Check out our Instagram stories @thisismold for how to make your own seed starting pots with old newspaper.]
What’s a COVID-19 Food Czar?
New York City has named the Department of Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia as its COVID-19 food czar to ensure the most vulnerable New Yorkers have access to food and to keep an eye on supply chains feeding the city. In this interview with City & State, Garcia discusses some of the more tactical pieces of her newly appointed role.
COVID-19 Threatens Food Supply as Farms Worry About Ill Ag Workers
A look at the paradox of the continuing availability of agricultural workers despite the threat of the pandemic. As NPR reports, “One end of the food supply chain has been completely upended as restaurants go dark and consumers prowl half-empty aisles of supermarkets. Food producers, though, are operating almost as normal—at least for now.”
Food Security Crisis Looms
Beyond reporting around the ways that public school closings are disrupting food access for millions of children who rely on the school meals program as a primary and critical source of nutrition, families reliant on the national Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are being put at risk because of the bulk panic-buying that is emptying out grocery store shelves. CityLab reports on how federal assistance, local food banks and other resources that serve food insecure families are being affected by COVID-19.
On the Farm
Modern Farmer rounds up a few ways that farmers and fishermen are responding to the upending of traditional supply chains.
Trend Forecaster Li Edelkoort on “a blank page for a new beginning”
In this conversation with Dezeen founder and editor Marcus Fairs, Li Edelkoort share her insights on how the global pandemic is offering us an opportunity to reexamine our values. It’s this framework that we choose to view the ways that this collective moment might be seen as a dawning of a new age of imagination and intent.