Food Is Different During the Pandemic
COVID-19 Effects on Food Security in the Developed World as Exemplified by United States and Canada
Keywords:food system, food supply chain, food security, food insecurity, hunger, malnutrition, COVID19, SARS Cov-2 pandemic, food assistance, food stamps, food banks, charities
The COVID-19 pandemic has left no area of human life unaffected and the food system in its global, regional, or micro manifestations is not an exception. The images of empty store shelves caused by lockdowns stirred a lot of anxiety among consumers in the so-called First World. At the same time, thousands of miles away, in the developing and underdeveloped countries, where having a meal is never taken for granted, people suffered the harshest consequences of any pandemic-related instability in the food system. Both these realities deserve intellectual reflection, with the former being far more intricate than its media portrayals and therefore will be explored further in this work. This paper aims to study the COVID-19 impact on food systems in developed countries such as the United States and Canada, as well as the challenges to the food security they face during the pandemic. It offers a top-down approach, starting with the definition of food security, and highlighting some crucial aspects of food access and food availability, which has been compromised by the spread of coronavirus in the two countries. Detailed analysis of responses to the pandemic-related food security problems in both countries will be offered as well. The right to food is presented here as a human right, and the links between that right and the concept of food security are brought out. The pandemic wreaked havoc on food security in many parts of the world, including the affluent, but at the same time revealed its fragility and the need for continuous monitoring, re-assessment, and improvement through more effective food programs. The emerging sliver of hope for a more just postpandemic food system should not be ignored.
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