"Covid Exposed The Cracks in the US Food System"

"Food banks were inundated, restaurants folded, farmers had to dump produce – but the pandemic also created space for fresh thinking"

"In April 2020, while Covid-19 spread around the country, and millions of people were sheltering at home, Shay Meyers, the CEO of Owyhee Produce, one of the largest onion growers in the US, asked his workers to bury thousands of pounds of onions.

The restaurants, school dining halls, and event centers that normally bought his onions were all shuttered. His cold storage was full. Even though the demand for onions in American kitchens remained as high as – or even higher than – before the pandemic, there simply wasn’t a way to get the food into the hands of those who needed it. In April alone, Owyhee Produce buried four million onions.

“I was extremely worried about going out of business,” Myers said.

Long before most of the emergency rooms were overloaded, it was the food system that showed the first signs of the enormous impact the pandemic would have. Empty shelves at the supermarket. Closed restaurants. Farmers dumping milk out into their fields or euthanizing animals as meat processing plants became overwhelmed or shut down."

Emma Pattee reports for the Guardian March 15, 2022.

Source: Guardian, 03/17/2022