Lessons During COVID Spotlight Path Toward Greater Food Equity
Monday, April 19, 2021
DENVER -- After the coronavirus pandemic shut down restaurants and emptied grocery shelves, food experts said lessons learned while rebuilding regional supply chains could be tapped to make Colorado's food system more resilient and equitable.
Wendy Peters Moschetti, director of strategic initiatives for Nourish Colorado, said when restaurants stopped placing orders, and the number of people needing emergency food assistance spiked, many local producers knew just how to shift gears.
"An incredible amount of creativity, in saying, 'How do I still feed my community?'" Moschetti explained. "Donating or selling to food pantries, working with SNAP recipients or WIC families. We saw those connections come together to a great degree, which to me is incredible resiliency."
As thousands of Coloradans lost jobs during the pandemic's economic fallout, the number of families not knowing where their next meal would come from rose from 9% before the pandemic to nearly 40% by last December.
Moschetti cautioned the state's food crisis is far from over.
The federal government did pump money into the nation's food system, but Moschetti noted most of the assistance initially went to large agribusinesses with established relationships with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Smaller regional producers and traditionally marginalized communities, especially farmers of color, had trouble securing relief.
"They did not go to small farmers, or farmers who are Black or Indigenous or a person of color," Moschetti observed. "The response to COVID further revealed and surfaced that there have been long-term, very systemic gaps."
She pointed to the most recent COVID relief package, which includes funds for farmers of color, as one way to begin to fill those gaps.
Many small businesses have been able to secure federal Paycheck Protection Program support, which is keeping smaller farming and distribution companies viable in rural communities.
Moschetti added she's hopeful lessons learned, including getting nutrient-rich foods, grown by local farmers, to Coloradans regardless of their income level or ZIP code, can soon be transformed into policy.
Disclosure: Nourish Colorado contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Social Justice, and Sustainable Agriculture. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
get more stories like this via email
LANSING, Mich. - High utility costs are a major burden for Michigan's low-income residents, and a new study says they have an impact on their health…
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A new report shows an effort by investor-owned utilities in the Sunshine State to block the growth of rooftop solar. The …
Health and Wellness
By Troy Pierson / Broadcast version by Mary Schuermann reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration. As marijuana becomes more …
SALT LAKE CITY - With rising numbers of people targeted in hate crimes and related violence, a new report analyzes the hate-crime laws in each state…
BOSTON - Educators' unions are calling on the state to support their efforts to ensure in-person learning in the fall keeps students, teachers…
HARTFORD, Conn. - In Connecticut, more than 460,000 people care for close friends or family members who can't manage on their own - and their …
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Millions of Americans soon could find eviction notices on their front doors, but New Mexico renters will not be among them - as …
Health and Wellness
CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire advocates for affordable healthcare access want Congress to lower prescription costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate …