According to our friends at Beyond Pesticides, food insecurity how affects 54 million people in the United States! And with the continued surge in COVID cases, the problem promises to become worse before it gets better.
Our current food system, which has become increasingly dominated by fewer and fewer mammoth multinational corporations, has been criticized by leading scientists and economists for some time as being neither environmentally, nutritionally, socially nor economically sustainable. In our current pandemic crisis, this food system has proved to be cumbersome and inflexible, with farmers being forced to dump products and kill their livestock due to supply-chain disruptions and lack of access to markets at the same time that 15% of our population is in dire need of food and we continue to import food from overseas.
Even before the current crisis, scholar-activist Raj Patel had pointed out that worldwide while 800 million people starved, over a billion were becoming obese on an unhealthy diet of devitalized food heavy on toxic fats and sugar—both groups victims of the corporate food monopoly that also victimizes farmers, dictating to them what they will grow and how and even what prices they may charge for their produce.
In 2011, a soil scientist from Washington State University, John Reganold, got together with 14 leading scientists, economists and farmers and called for a transformation in US agriculture towards a more sustainable system. His own studies, conducted since the 1980s, compared organic and industrial farms and established the superiority of organic farming systems for both protecting the environment and providing more nutritious food.
Our tax dollars have been supporting an unsustainable food system, where farmers, consumers, and the environment all suffer to support out-sized corporate profits. It’s time for that to change.
Beyond Pesticides has invited us to join them in asking Congress to make current support offered to small and medium-sized farmers under coronavirus relief permanent as a way of moving towards a non-corporate, localized food system where farmers and consumers meet directly, without corporate interference and control. You can do that here.
Beyond Pesticides has also provided helpful resources to support our local farmers, who are struggling to survive the pandemic, by buying locally-grown organic food directly from them. LocalHarvest provides a connection to community supported agriculture (subscription services), farms, farmers markets, and other local food sources. Eatwild provides a clearinghouse for information about pasture-based farming, with a directory of local farmers in the US and Canada who sell their pastured farm and ranch products directly to consumers. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) maintains a database of local farmers’ markets. Cooperative grocery stores are listed at the Cooperative Grocers Network. Also, we can grow our own!