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Food Disclosure: The Shortcomings of the Agricultural Supply Chain

radish in hand
Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels.

From nationwide meat shortages to local grocery stores struggling to compete, what’s next for America’s food supply chain?

If you work in food production or the grocery business, you’re seeing first-hand how COVID-19 has disrupted the food supply chain. Agribusinesses are turning under crops, euthanizing livestock and dumping products no longer in demand and meat plant workers are falling ill at alarming rates around the country. This is happening, all while basic grocery list items such as meat and flour are now getting harder and harder to come by. While the pandemic has exposed the shortcomings of the industrial-agricultural supply chain, could the buy-local food and farms movement offer a promising future for Richmond's food supply?     

 Duron Chavis, founder and director of the Happily Natural Festival
Duron Chavis

On this week’s live show, hear from Rick Hood, owner of natural grocery store Ellwood Thompson's, Duron Chavis, founder and director of the Happily Natural Festival  and other Virginians in the buy-local food and farms movement. We’ll be taking your comments and questions on buying local, supermarket best practices, hazard pay and much more. 

Are you growing your own food for the first time because of the pandemic? Are you a longtime farmer unsure about the future? Are you a frustrated consumer concerned about our food systems?

Full Disclosure airs live every Friday at 2pm on VPM News 88.9 FM. The show reairs Saturday at 6 PM an Sundays at 8 PM and is available wherever you get your podcasts.

Episode Excerpt

[40:20]

Roben Farzad: As it was said in the episode we did on clean technology and renewable energies,a lot of things tend to go out the door when there's a financial crisis. What would you say to those who say it's such a high class problem to have fresh fruits and vegetables? If a Food Lion is going to be giving away mac and cheese and heaps of bacon, you should just take it.

Duron Chavis: I think what's important to recognize is that everyone doesn't have the same nutritional needs, whether it's physical needs as well as cultural needs. Community members who would like to grow their own food are in a really prime position to be able to make those decisions for themselves. If you're relying upon food pantries or food donations, you're basically subject to whatever the folks feel like they can give away. Especially when we talk about food banks and food pantries, a lot of that food is processed. You were just talking to Recode, about processed foods and how unhealthy it is for folks that only eat that type of stuff. Healthy foods, fresh vegetables, stuff that you cook from scratch is way more healthy for your body and way more healthy for your diet. It’s not a just system that the folks that are relying on food are only able to get food that's going to actually dig them deeper into an unhealthy hole. So our focus is really about how we can get people the opportunity to take control over and sidestep the charitable food system that exists right now that really gets all of the play when these types of crises emerge.  We try to get to the root cause like, why don't people have access to food in the first place? Why are people going to a food pantry in the first place? Is because they don't have food within their community? So how do we provide them with the tools necessary to grow their own food? It goes back to the olden days. I can give a man a fish, or I can teach him to fish. And I think all of us can respect that and really lift that up in this crisis

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