Food, farmers, and the virus–navigating the difficulties and disconnects

The Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic has touched all parts of our lives–including the food system. While farms are considered essential businesses, farmers and farm workers are facing huge challenges, including getting food where it needs to go in a changing world, dealing with illness and unemployment, and much more. Rachel Armstrong is founder and executive director of Farm Commons, and she walks us through the many problems–and some solutions–in today’s food system. Farm Commons puts out a podcast of their own, helping walk producers step by step through some of the more challenging aspects of getting government funding for coronavirus related losses. 

Show Notes:

0’58 how farmers are faring during the pandemic
1’53 eggs, egg shortages, and packaging
5’41 cheese, milk, and what we actually eat at home
6’29 dumping milk
7’03 fuel and non-perishable products also not easy to store
7’24 equity issues when food goes to waste
8’11 school food
9’44 farmers markets, how they’re surviving and changing
10’57 farmers diversifying
11’51 small, medium, and large carrots
13’32 food banks
13’51 the need for volunteers
14’53 farm to restaurant food
16’42 money doesn’t trickle down to the farmer–and with the pandemic it’s worse
17’10 the ownership and economics of chickens
18’53 meat processing plants and their vulnerabilities
21’16 the need for humane processing conditions
22’49 moving toward a more diversified food system
24’02 healthier food system
24’36 health care costs and a healthy food system
25’37 farmers getting unemployment insurance
26’56 self-employed people need a safety net
27’42 undocumented farm workers
28’40 workers with guest worker visas
29’44 other federal programs
31’38 difficulty or ease of the paperwork
32’52 dealing with sickness and sick leave
33’42 what does
37’41 “paperwork is powerful”


Photo by Chris Boese on Unsplash

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