Before the current pandemic, few Americans put much thought into our food system. The more privileged among us could find anything we wanted at the grocery store and could comfortably afford to feed our families. Some of us ate out multiple times each week and could choose among many different cuisines and eateries. We didn’t need to think about what went into growing our food, how the supply chains that delivered our meats and vegetables functioned, or the economic and safety realities of those who harvested, delivered, and prepared our meals.
The Covid-19 pandemic, however, has laid bare vulnerabilities that have long plagued our food system. We now see the downside of a nationalized supply system in which farmers, unable to deliver their crops directly to local markets, are forced to plow needed produce back into the ground. We now see the serious problem with the nation’s meat supply chain relying heavily on just a handful of processing facilities, as Covid-19 has spiked among their workers.