Welcome to the United States of America in May of 2020, where tens of thousands of pounds of potatoes are left to rot in a field while thousands of cars line up for hours to receive food donations to feed their families. Major meat producers struggle to keep their employees from contracting a deadly virus and dying while they are told to return to work or we will have a major disruption in the food supply system.
One third of the food grown across the world goes to waste according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). That is one in every three carrots, cucumbers, apples and heads of lettuce grown. While we continue to waste food on an alarming scale, the reliance on a fragile food supply system comprised of a small network of large-scale meat suppliers has shown its cracks.
Hunger is virus we have allowed to exist in a world that has a vaccine at its disposal. As the United States deals with over 20 million people filing for unemployment in the last 4 weeks alone, we are confronted with a sobering truth: far too many people are invisible. They are the statistics who flash across your screen on the nightly news. They are the numbers that you read on an article telling you the financial costs of staying at home. There is no face associated with the invisible, just a number that makes up a life. These invisible human beings are waiting in line for meals while thousands of pounds of food rot in a field.
As we deal with the “invisible enemy” our government dubbed COVID-19, the invisible people are the ones who are paying the price in this war.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Food Waste Reduction Alliance estimated that 25–40% of food grown, processed and transported in the U.S will never be consumed. While recently talking to some friends who work for local food banks, I heard the same stories emerge. Many have purchased more food in the last six weeks than they have in the last three years to keep up with the demand they are facing. Many of these food banks cannot take volunteers at this time for safety reasons so they are left with skeleton crews to feed thousands of people a day. These men and women are working to feed our communities in our times of need.
Knowing that major action was necessary, The USDA announced the Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program…