by Walden Bello, FoodFirst, 04.30.2020
A profound article that rewards careful reading. Food First, founded long ago by “Diet for a Small Planet” author Frances Moore Lappé, is an inspiration for activists seeking not just to avoid toxic chemicals and grow healthy food, but also to escape and reform the whole destructive agribusiness cycle.
The author says: “Probably the most important measure that we propose is to move food production away from the fragile, corporate-controlled globalized food supply chain based on narrow considerations such as the reduction of unit cost to more sustainable smallholder-based localized systems.”
Let’s all be part of it, at home, in our food growing and purchasing, and by joining FoodFirst!
This article was originally published at Foreign Policy in Focus by Food First Fellow, Walden Bello.
The global food system has been very much front and center in the COVID-19 story.
Everyone, of course, is aware that hunger is closely tracking the virus as its wreaks havoc in both the global North and global South. Indeed, one can say that, unlike in East Asia, Europe, and the U.S., in South Asia, the food calamity preceded the actual invasion by the virus, with relatively few infections registered in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh as of late March of 2020 — but with millions already displaced by the lockdowns and other draconian measures taken by the region’s governments.
In India, for instance, internal migrants lost their jobs in just a few hours’ notice, leaving them with little money for food and rent and forcing them to trek hundreds of kilometers home, with scores beaten up by police seeking to quarantine them as they crossed state lines. Estimated at as many as 139 million, these internal migrants, largely invisible in normal times, suddenly became visible as they tried to reach their home states, deprived of public transportation owing to the sudden national lockdown.
With people dying along the way, a constant refrain in this vast human wave was the desperate cry: “If coronavirus doesn’t kill us, hunger will!”
But the food question has been a key dimension of the pandemic in two other ways. One is the connection of the virus with the destabilization of wildlife. The other is the way the measures to contain the spread of the virus have underlined the extreme vulnerability of the global food supply chain….
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