Food Shortages During Coronavirus Crisis

This culture prioritizes the hoarding of private wealth over the public good. While billionaires enjoy their riches, the masses live on the brink of starvation. Food shortages during coronavirus are accelerating, and are a reminder of the importance of rebuilding local, sustainable food systems.

We cannot rely on the globalized economy any longer. It is time for the transition to a localized way of life begin in earnest.

By Eoin Higgins / Common Dreams

Images and video of miles of cars lined up at food banks in San Antonio and other cities across the U.S. present a striking example of the economic effects of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, which has thrown at least 16 million Americans out of work in recent weeks and increased pressure on the distribution centers to provide key staples for a flood of needy people in the country.

“Unforgettable image: thousands of cars lined up at a San Antonio food bank today, the desperate families inside kept safely apart,” tweeted CNN senior editor Amanda Katz. “Breadline, 2020.”

On Thursday, San Antonio Food Bank creative manager Robert R. Fike posted a time-lapse video of the line of cars waiting to get supplies.

“It was a rough one today,” San Antonio Food Bank president and CEO Eric Cooper told the San Antonio Express News. “We have never executed on as large of a demand as we are now.”

The onset of the coronavirus outbreak brought with it economic paralysis across the U.S. and the world, shutting down businesses around the world as people use social distancing and isolation to curb the spread of the disease. In the U.S., where lawmakers have largely dragged their feet on providing unemployed people with help, Americans are increasingly turning to charities like food banks to provide the means of survival.

According to the New York Times, food banks across the country are facing funding shortfalls in the face of increasing demand despite donations from the superrich:

Feeding America, the nation’s largest network of food banks, with more than 200 affiliates, has projected a $1.4 billion shortfall in the next six months alone. Last week, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, announced that he was donating $100 million to the group—the largest single donation in its history, but still less than a tenth of what it needs.

In January 2019, Business Insider calculated Bezos makes roughly $4,474,885 every hour, making his donation to Feeding America the equivalent of around 22-and-a-half hours of passive wealth generation.

San Antonio was not the only city to see record numbers of people seeking help and miles of cars waiting for food. Pittsburgh, Inglewood, Chicago, and Sunrise, Florida were among cities with packed roads leading to local facilities and massive amounts of food to be distributed.

Feeding South Florida executive vice president Sari Vatske noted in an interview with the Daily Mail that with stay-at-home orders in her state curtailing the available workforce to handle an unprecedented surge in those needing aid, there may be trouble ahead in how to efficiently distribute the food.

“The math is not on our side,” said Vatske.

Featured image via Oxfam, CC BY 2.0. A child stands before mass graves of 70 people dead due to famine in Kenya, 2011.

4 thoughts on “Food Shortages During Coronavirus Crisis”

  1. This article does not describe food “shortages” or the failure of the supply chains. Perishables are being dumped because there is no infrastructure to move food from one category (such as commercial suppliers) to the people who need it.

    It does describe income inequality, the inability to purchase food and the huge increase in the number of people who are in need – which is a valid topic.

    The initial analysis is honest but why is it necessary to use a title that does not match the content? It comes off as click bait and is not becoming of this organization.

  2. What in the world does this have to do with getting rid of industrial society and eventually civilization? DGR takes on other issues that really have nothing to do with those goals. The reasons that is bad are that:

    1. Leftist and conservationist goals have inherent conflicts, despite the dogmatic meme of them all being connected. Leftists prioritize people over all else, and would destroy the environment as much as anyone in order to achieve their anthropocentric goals. This is in total contradiction of DGR’s ecocentric and biocentric goals.

    2. Trying to be all things to all people and spreading yourself thin is a recipe for failure. Focus on one main goal like any successful or partially successful group, and ally yourself with other groups on particular issues that you support when those issues don’t conflict with yours, hopefully in exchange for the other groups doing the same. (For example, support Black Lives Matter against cops killing unarmed Black people, and maybe they’ll help us oppose things like pipelines or logging.)

    If DGR wants to take the next step after Earth First! and the Center for Biological Diversity by advocating and hopefully contributing to the end of things like industrial society, it has to stop going off on tangents like this. There are so many things wrong with modern human society that it’s necessary to focus on root and fundamental problems in order to have any chance of substantially fixing things. If you get distracted by every symptom that bothers you, regardless of how urgent that symptom may seem (like hunger), you will never have any effect on your goal.

    1. Jeff, if you’ve read the DGR book, you know we are concerned with human rights and biocentric issues both. We see them as intertwined. That’s foundational for us and isn’t going to change. You may think it’s not strategic. We think it is. If you disagree, I’d like to encourage you to start your own group. We’re always sincerely pleased to ally, coordinate, and work with other groups/individuals doing parallel work, even if the overlaps are not total. Let us know if you do. Thank you.

  3. @Deep Green Resistance Great Basin
    Well, that’s really too bad. I haven’t read your book and have no desire to do so. I was attracted to DGR by learning that Derrick Jensen was a cofounder. I’ve heard Derrick speak on the radio, saw him on video at the Bioneers conference, and saw him live once. I also heard Lierre Keith on the radio and saw her once live too (I agreed with her to a point, but she didn’t get how harmful cattle grazing is to the natural world, nor how harmful animal agriculture in general is). I saw your fundamental principles, but I ignored everything but the radical environmental ones, because those are my priorities, as well as the only ones that mean anything to everything but humans.

    As I said, there are irreconcilable conflicts between social issues and environmental ones, regardless of which side of a social issue you’re on. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, and if you don’t prioritize the environment you’ll sacrifice it for social values. I realize that, unfortunately, DGR is not as biocentric or ecocentric as Earth First! because you take on non-environmental issues, but you should really think this through. Saying that all these issues are “intertwined” so you want to advocate for all of them is the same as people who think they can have a good natural environment by merely changing technologies instead of lowering their consumption and population, and living a lot more simply & naturally. That’s not going to happen because it can’t, any more than a group that fails to focus on a general issue and prioritize it can be successful.

    We’re basically on the same side here, except that I prioritize the natural world and everything that lives there over humans and their social issues. I agree with the left on most issues despite the fact that I prioritize the natural environment and native species over those issues. Here’s hoping that you’re successful in what you want to accomplish, even though I think that the way that you’re going about it won’t work.

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