It has been two months since I first spoke about this virus crisis, and since then the 'crisis' itself has shifted focus.
The sanitary crisis in itself seems to be slowly getting better (is it really or is it a premeditated move ? I will leave it to your judgement), but the focus is now moving into the inevitable economic crisis.
It is all very complex, perhaps too complex to be limited to a blog post but I would like to discuss one aspect of it, one that is the least spoken about here - our food system.
Many of us have been in lockdown, most likely in city apartment and have been going out once a week approximately to buy some food from the supermarket (or perhaps some local shops or outdoor markets when there), likely without really realising that the machine behind it all was having problems. Yet, food merits to be zoomed into.
If someone doesn't realise, there are plenty of workers behind agriculture, fisheries and farms. This means they were/are also affected by lockdown rules. The sector would have had a limited number of people, which means that some activities might have slowed down. Moreover, often in the fields we employed foreign 'seasonal workers' to pick fruits (remember i spoke about tomatoes here), which of course now it's not possible to do. There are in fact active calls to involve unemployed citizens back into agriculture in Italy, France and the UK (that I know of), This should open our eyes into the faults within the agricultural system that it going on under our eyes but we rarely notice.
Moreover, and this i was not aware of before writing this either, we tend to import fertilizer from areas like China. Because most of the production in china has been halted, it may indeed cause some negative repercussions. Or maybe we realise that we can have a more natural system that doesn't require fertiliser?
And talking about imports, what about soybeans, avocados, coffee... ? While I doubt we will truly remain without, it has given me some food for thought. Especially going to the tiny mini market and having to make do with what they have. You definitely learn to be less picky...
And well, aside from that - the little industries / producers are suffering from loss of sales to restaurants (they are closed) and because people are still preferring to go to the big supermarkets...
And this is not just for crops and vegetables. Fisheries are suffering. They have been stopped for a while as working on board may not allow the safety distance, then they are really suffering from the lack of restaurant sales and more than that, fish is expensive and normal people's budget is shrinking from job losses.. a vicious circle...
What can you do?
Firstly - try to help the hungry (that may even be people who have never been poor before and might be ashamed to say it) by giving to foodbanks and local solidarity action.
Second - Shop local and fresh as much as you can.
There is an interesting Q&A on the FAO website here
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