Written by B The Change
When COVID-19 emerged, the stay-at-home orders that closed most schools and many workplaces meant more of us were eating at home, ordering less at restaurants and buying more at local grocery stores. In the wake of this sudden change, many farmers who supply restaurants and schools faced a halt in orders and scrambled to find new outlets for their products. So even as shoppers flocked to grocery stores, the existing supply chain structure posed a distribution challenge and led to increasing food waste as some farmers had to destroy their crops, dump milk and throw out perishable items that couldn’t be stored or moved to new outlets in time.
At the same time, record unemployment rates due to business shutdowns had more people worried about income and paying for food, utilities, and other everyday costs. A new study based on U.S. Census Bureau data found that 40% of Black households, 36% of Hispanic households, and 23% of white households report they struggled to afford food from mid-April to mid-June. The situation is similar in Canada, where a recent survey found that almost one in seven Canadians are in a food-insecure household, with that number likely to climb in the fall. The health consequences of food insecurity go beyond hunger: Children are more likely to suffer from anemia, asthma, and cognitive, behavioral, and mental health problems, while adults may delay medical care or prescription purchases, further jeopardizing their health.
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