Coronavirus (Covid-19) is having huge impacts on the food system here in the UK and globally. It is bringing into sharp focus how and where our food is produced, processed and consumed. It has also highlighted a number of issues, including the:
- Vulnerability of just-in-time systems, that in some cases stretch far beyond UK borders, to unpredictable shocks. It reminds us of past catastrophic events, such as foot and mouth in 2001 and the 2007-08 food price spikes;
- Differentiated nature of impacts within agri-food (contrast retailer (multiples and independents) and food service experiences of the crisis, for example);
- Labour shortages in the horticultural sector;
- Number of vulnerable groups who are now more than ever before food insecure, given their dependency on food banks and charity and the significant socio-economic food inequalities in society;
- Role of supermarkets in food provisioning (we have a private food governance model) and their role and responsibilities in responding to the crisis;
- Role and importance of online retail, including, but not only, online supermarket retail;
- Agility and ability (or not) of producers, processors, retailers and other food providers to adapt their supply chains to deliver food direct to households;
- Need to re-localise food systems, rebuild regional processing infrastructure (abattoirs, wholesale markets) and shorten food chains to improve food system resilience;
- Range of public, private and civic initiatives (at individual, industry and community levels) that have, and are still emerging, to respond to the crisis.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, it is really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the impacts, actions, activities and food policy lessons.
We hope that you will find this resource both interesting and useful, and welcome additional contributions to the resource list and our blog posts on this topic – please do get in touch.
We would also like to share with those who access this resource that our close colleagues at Pisa Agricultural Economics (PAGE) will also be publishing a series of blogs related to how the Covid-19 crisis could lead to more resilient food systems. The core research areas of PAGE of socio-economic research in agriculture, food, and rural development align closely with future developments in food systems post Covid-19. These blogs can be accessed on the PAGE website.
- Academic articles re. Covid-19 modelling, science, post-normality, uncertainty, etc.
- Consumer Behaviour / Consumption
- Dairy & Cheese
- Farming: general articles, supporting farmers, valuing farmers, etc
- Food Access & Security (UK)
- Food Access & Security (Global)
- Food System Commentaries
- Local Food Networks and Agroecology
- Food Waste
- Market Data
- Organisational resources and links (UK)
- Processing & Distribution
- Urban Food Systems
- Retail - Independent & Local
- Retail - Supermarkets
Uncertainty, the futilities of control and pragmatism:
- Great article by Andy Sterling on uncertainty and futures (accessed: 11.04.2020).
- This blog https://manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/articles/relinquishing-the-quest-for-certainty-in-the-social-sciences-or-learning-from-the-coronavirus-crisis/, by Jane Wills, introduces a new edited book about pragmatism and argues we should ditch the quest for certainty (in social science and the COVID-19 crisis) (accessed 09.05.2020).
- Post-normal science is an important concept to understand the Covid-19 response (generally and in relation to food system planning). This article is excellent (accessed: 11.04.2020). It also links to the article below by Steve Hinchliffe in legitimising a more inclusive mix of expert and lay perspectives to manage the crisis. If you are on Twitter, give Silvio Funtowicz a follow.
Modelling, social science and animal health links:
- What Happens Next? COVID-19 Futures and playable simulations https://ncase.me/covid-19/ (accessed: 16.05.2020).
- This article by Steve Hinchliffe gives a useful overview of models, including their use in Covid-19, and the need for social science (accessed: 10.04.2020). We should not problematise the models per se, but combine models, which offer ‘a reality-based social heuristic’, with ‘on the ground’ field experiences.
- Good links to past work on foot and mouth, H1N1 Swine flu and Ebola. For other animal health links to Covid-19 to FMD, bTB and One Health follow Gareth Enticott on Twitter.
- This short article by Hinchliffe and Law on the social aspect of models/R0 is also useful (accessed: 20.04.2020).
- This interesting blog by Brigitte Nerlich discusses the R number re Covid-19 (link also to FMD) https://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/makingsciencepublic/2020/05/15/what-r-we-talking-about-pandemics-and-numbers/ (accessed: 16.05.2020).
- This paper by Riyanti Djalante et al https://collections.unu.edu/eserv/UNU:7614/n1-s2.0-S259006172030017X-main.pdf examines responses to COVID-19 at the global, regional and national levels, and how we can apply disaster resilience strategies (04.05.2020)
Human infectious disease and global population:
- This paper, written before Covid-19, is useful in linking global food production and emerging human infectious diseases. It argues that the risk of pathogen spillover increases as food production expands and given projections will thus require proactive management (e.g. more effective biodiversity conservation) (accessed: 11.04.2020).
Past (and future?) studies of pandemics, including networked disease:
- The STEPS Centre has a great list of resources on past research on epidemics and pandemics. I’ve cited two of them above, but the full list is here (accessed: 11.04.2020).
- This is another very useful article by the STEPS team, outlining five lessons from past pandemics, including the need to address the political economy and ecology of the food system https://steps-centre.org/blog/five-lessons-from-past-global-influenza-outbreaks-for-covid-19/ (accessed 04.04.2020)
- Intelligencer interview with Mike Davis https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/04/coronavirus-next-pandemic-mike-davis-avian-flu-covid.html (04.05.2020), reflecting on his famous avian flu book (Monster at the Door), the current pandemic and future ones (he's not very optimistic re the future!).
- This Foreign Affairs article argues we must learn from the COVID-19 failure before the next outbreak arrives https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2020-05-21/coronavirus-chronicle-pandemic-foretold?amp&__twitter_impression=true (accessed: 23.05.2020).
The irrelevance of the SDGs?:
- This piece argues the SDGs are irrelevant in the Covid-19 pandemic, which although they weren't devised to deal with a pandemic, argues are failing too re. preparedness as countries retreat to national planning https://www.globalstudies.ugent.be/the-coronavirus-pandemic-and-the-irrelevance-of-the-sdgs/2/ (accessed 09.05.2020).
Contexualising Coronavirus Geographically:
- Editorial by Matt Sparke and Dimitar Anguelov introducing a TiBG special virtual issue "aimed at providing online access to articles that can contribute to the work of coming to geographical terms with the COVID‐19 pandemic2" https://rgs-ibg.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/tran.12389 (accessed 09.05.2020).
- Geo-visualising the pandemic https://blog.geographydirections.com/2020/05/07/geo-visualising-the-pandemic-how-geography-is-helping-to-tell-complex-stories-with-data/ (16.05.2020).
- Brigitte Nerlich has written some interesting blog posts about coronavirus. In particular, the blog about metaphors is useful (but see also the image and music ones): http://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/makingsciencepublic/2020/03/17/metaphors-in-the-time-of-coronavirus/; http://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/makingsciencepublic/2020/04/10/being-on-a-journey-while-staying-at-home-more-about-corona-metaphors/ (both accessed 10.04.2020).
- Useful blog / conversation https://ruralsociologywageningen.nl/2020/04/20/rural-urban-relations-in-times-of-covid-19/ by Bettina Bock and Jessica Duncan discussing rural-urban relations in a time of COVID (as part of the Horizon 2020-funded ROBUST project)
The need for academic expertise across disciplines and beyond 'science':
- Article by Dominic Abrams, the British Academy’s vice-president for social sciences, in The Guardian (29.04.2020) https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/apr/29/to-solve-the-problems-of-this-pandemic-we-need-more-than-just-the-science
The fruit and vegetable harvest, labour shortages and automation:
- One of the big impacts is a lack of labour to pick the fruit and vegetable harvest, due to a normal reliance on European seasonal pickers.
- Useful link on this theme include this article from BBC business (accessed: 10.04.2020); and this from Sky news (accessed: 11.04.2020)
- The Guardian reports on recruitment of hospitality staff to solve agricultural labour shortages in this article (accessed: 11.04.2020); of Romanian workers being flown in to to further reduce the shortage (20.04.2020); and a very low uptake of applications to the British veg. and fruit pickers scheme (04.05.2020) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/04/27/112-50000-uk-applicants-fruit-pickers-take-jobs-amid-farmers/
- Uncertainty in food supply, including labour shortages, could fast track automation in agriculture? https://www.agri-tech-e.co.uk/uncertainty-in-food-supply-drives-interest-in-fast-tracking-automation/ (09.05.2020).
- Lincolnshire students urged to help pick fruit and veg - BBC News https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-52605547 (accessed 16.05.2020).
Feed The Nation campaign
- Concordia is running a new Land Army-style ‘Feed The Nation’ campaign (20.04.2020)
- Concordia coordinated a similar campaign in 1943 to recruit volunteers to feed the nation (volunteers were famously described as ‘The Land Army’). The new scheme needs 80,000 workers. The challenge will be to find the right people (particularly in terms of skills, because picking fruit and vegetables is skilled and increasingly specialist work).
- Useful list of agencies that link workers with farms (20.04.2020).
Pick For Britain
- There's now a dedicated 'Pick For Britain' website https://pickforbritain.org.uk/ for potential workers to visit to find out more re what it is like to work on fruit and veg farms, etc. (accessed 16.05.2020).
Labour shortages in New Zealand dairy:
- Worker shortage crisis in New Zealand's dairy sector https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12335334 (30.05.2020).
- https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/rights-workers-eu-food-supplies-risk-200407070604903.html (20.04.2020)
- Valuing life differently https://www.socialeurope.eu/valuing-life-differently-migrants-and-the-coronavirus-crisis (accessed: 09.05.2020). Good piece on migrant workers and regimes of segregation on farms in the Netherlands and Germany.
Agri-food labour in the US (meat processing)
- The debate about farm labour and workers' health and safety over the need to supply meat to US consumers during Covid-19 was reported in various articles last weekend. Here's a couple of articles I found useful. One from Cival Eats rejecting Tyson Foods claims the food chain is breaking https://civileats.com/2020/04/30/as-tyson-claims-the-food-supply-is-breaking-its-workers-continue-to-suffer/ (04.05.2020) and this one in The Guardian ttps://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/30/trump-executive-order-meat-processing-workers-coronavirus about Trump's executive order to keep meat plants open, plus Financial Times report https://www.ft.com/content/2c7e1a34-2cd7-4b80-ae2d-a8549f565423 (both accessed 04.05.2020).
- Battling Coronavirus in an Iowa Meat Plant - The New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/10/business/economy/coronavirus-tyson-plant-iowa.html (accessed: 16.05.2020). [See processing thread for other articles].
Humanitarian crisis in ag. commodity chains (Fairtrade Foundation):
- The crisis behind ag. commodities - economic and humanitarian impacts feared under new working conditions https://wickedleeks.riverford.co.uk/features/fairtrade-environment-ethics-health/crisis-behind-commodities (accessed: 16.05.2020).
- This piece notes that food companies are using clever ways to sell us 'junk food' during the pandemic https://www.sustainweb.org/blogs/may20_junk_food_marketing_covid/ (30.05.2020).
- Financial Times article reports an increase in sales of ultra-processed foods https://www.ft.com/content/2a8b011a-60e0-4bd7-bdac-c22c6a210ea5 (30.05.2020).
- Consumer price inflation data for March-April 2020 show a slight drop in food prices overall but veg prices rose (via Food Foundation) https://foodfoundation.org.uk/covid_19/cpi-aprils-data/ (accessed 23.05.2020).
- Jonathan Safran Foer article in The New York Times linking Covid-19 to wider questions about animal agriculture and meat consumption http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/coronavirus/the-coronavirus-and-a-world-without-meat/ar-BB14pRur?ocid=ientp (accessed 23.05.2020).
- Boons, F.A. et al. (2020). Covid-19, changing social practices and the transition to sustainable consumption and production. Version 1.0; (May 2020). Manchester: Sustainable Consumption Institute. http://documents.manchester.ac.uk/display.aspx?DocID=49196 (accessed 09.05.2020).
- Useful blog by Corinna Hawkes https://nutritionconnect.org/news-events/healthy-diets-human-resilience-age-covid-19 (29.04.2020) arguing for healthy diets to build human resilience in the new Covid-19 reality. the 'new normal' is one that rejects unhealthy food environments.
- COVID-19 and Obesity/NCDs - World Obesity Federation resources page https://www.worldobesity.org/resources/resource-library/covid-19-obesity-resources (23.05.2020).
- Dietary impacts (US perspective) https://time.com/5827315/coronavirus-diet/ (accessed 04.05.2020)
- There was quite a lot of articles about panic buying in supermarkets (early phase of the pandemic). Most were relating it to individual consumer actions/behaviours. This article is one of the more interesting, recognising it not to be a consumer problem but a food system problem.
- Stephen Reicher’s reponse to this article, linking it to psychologisation, is also useful:
Dairy farming crisis and milk waste:
- Covid-19 has severely impacted the food service and hospitality supply chains and this has had a knock-on impact on the demand for milk, with dairy farms forced to dispose of unwanted milk on their farms. Various articles on this theme, including:
- https://twitter.com/BBCBreakfast/status/1248129263724724225 (10.04.2020)
- https://www.fginsight.com/news/dairy-industry-sees-thousands-of-litres-of-milk-dumped-due-to-covid-19s-impact-on-supply-chains--107550 (09.04.2020)
- Reduction in milk outputs from farms - https://www.fginsight.com/news/muller-farmers-told-to-cut-production-by-3-per-cent-immediately-107555 (09.04.2020)
- https://www.gov.uk/government/news/dairy-industry-to-join-together-to-manage-milk-supply (20.04.2020)
- Useful AHDB podcast on how Covid-19 is impacting UK dairy markets https://audioboom.com/posts/7569431-covid-19-special-the-impact-of-coronavirus-on-the-dairy-industry (04.05.2020); shows the differential impact between retail and food service sales.
- This AHBD link looks at impacts to key dairy regions (globally) https://ahdb.org.uk/news/how-are-the-key-dairy-regions-coping-with-coronavirus (16.05.2020).
- For some time small dairy producers have been experimenting with vending machines, including this example and this (14.03.2020)
- Direct selling/short chains: selling milk from the farm http://sustainablefoodtrust.org/articles/milk-fresh-from-the-farm/ (23.05.2020).
- For a more global / international dairy perspective, see McKinsey and Company (20.04.2020)
Hardship fund for dairy farmers
- The launch of the fund, which allows dairy farmers to supply for up to £10,000 in cash payments, was reported by the BBC,6th May 2020 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-52567858# (accessed 09.05.2020).
Artisan cheese producers:
- Similar to milk, due to impacts on food service/restaurants, many artisan cheese producers are suddenly without a buyer for their product. (accessed: 11.04.2020)
- Mary Quicke has written an open letter to food lovers in Britain about the impact on her family cheese making business (accessed: 14.3.2020)
- Coping with Covid-19 - Struggles and resilience of small-scale cheesemakers in Italy https://www.arc2020.eu/coping-with-covid-struggles-and-resilience-of-small-scale-cheesemakers-in-italy/(accessed: 29.04.2020)
Farmers as ‘hidden heroes’:
- One of the early narratives to emerge in the Covid-19 response was farmers as ‘hidden heroes’ who would ‘feed the nation’. This article in Farmers Weekly reports how “Defra minister George Eustice … described farmers as “hidden heroes”, as the government considers extra help to feed the nation during the coronavirus pandemic”(accessed: 11.04.2020).
- The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee writes to George Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, as part of its inquiry into COVID-19 and food supply (24.04.2020): https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/52/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/news/146126/covid19-coronavirus-and-food-supply-mps-seek-assurances-from-secretary-of-state/
Valuing and supporting farmers:
- James Rebanks argues we need to value British farmers more. (accessed:11.04.2020)
- Some tips on how we can support farmers are provided by SUSTAIN (accessed: 20.04.2020)
Eat steak not mince! That was the message this weekend to support British meat producers:
- Interview with Minette Batters (NFU) in The Telegraph covers this and the general message is to 'buy British' and support British farmers https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/03/eat-steak-not-mince-keep-beef-industry-afloat-nfu-president/ (accessed 04.05.2020)
- Plus this article in the Finanical Times https://www.ft.com/content/b94b85cf-1321-4ec8-aae5-22a128440eba (accessed 04.05.2020) on the European steak, chips and cheese glut (encouraging consumers to eat more of these products - in the UK, the glut is steak; chips in Belgium; cheese in France; not sure this is the 'sustainable diet' to aim for, but there you go)
- FarmingUK reported on Waitrose's big promotion to buy/eat more steak https://www.farminguk.com/news/waitrose-launches-biggest-ever-steak-promotional-push_55541.html and support British livestock farmers (accessed 04.05.2020)
- Pig farmer perspective (Pig World) http://www.pig-world.co.uk/news/npa-highlights-importance-of-keeping-supply-chain-moving-during-covid-19-epidemic.html (accessed 09.05.2020)
Agri-food support packages:
- Here's the list of exceptional measures introduced to help the agri-food sector through Covid-19 crisis https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_788, including private storage aid to assist the dairy sector (04.05.2020).
- Here's a related article https://www.fwi.co.uk/business/payments-schemes/coronavirus-eu-proposes-e80m-meat-and-dairy-aid-package (04.05.2020) and EU press release on transnational measures (including farmer and fisher support) https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_582
- This article examines the US relief package (farm aid) for farmers impacted by Covid-19 https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/30/congress-relief-package-farmers-155687
Farming Health Hub: COVID-19 Support and Advice
- The Farming Health Hub works with the public, private and voluntary sector to provide support, advcie and guidance to farming and rural communities http://socialsciences.exeter.ac.uk/media/universityofexeter/research/microsites/centreforruralpolicyresearch/pdfs/Farming_Health_Hub_COVID_-_19_Support_and_Advice.pdf. The list of organisations are mostly from Cornwall, but include national links too. Great initiative/resource. (accessed 09.05.2020).
Small-scale farmer incomes (global):
- Impact of Covid-19 on small-scale farmer incomes (examples from Bangladesh, Kenya, Ghana and Asia) and how supply chains can support them https://views-voices.oxfam.org.uk/2020/04/coronavirus-is-jeopardizing-the-incomes-of-small-scale-farmers/ (accessed: 06.05.2020)
UK farmers with unwanted potatoes
- The closure of takeaways, restaurants and food service has left farmers with unwanted potatoes (including comment from AHDB) https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-potato-farmers-face-supply-crisis-after-fish-and-chip-shops-close-2020-5?r=US&IR=T (23.05.2020).
- Sustainable Fish Cities - SUSTAIN: How can we help our fishing fleet through coronavirus? accessed 20.04.2020).
- You can source fresh fish directly through this innovative website (accessed: 20.04.2020).
- Much of the catch from British waters is sold to continental markets, while British consumers tend to eat fish from other waters. COVID-19 is impacting markets and reports suggest fishers are turning to food banks as their businesses collapse. E.g. Scottish fishermen turn to food banks
- Fish flourish under lockdown — but fishermen flounder – POLITICO https://www.politico.eu/article/so-long-and-thanks-say-all-the-fish-that-roam-free-because-of-the-coronavirus/ (accessed: 16.05.2020).
Global supply chains:
- This World Economic Forum perspective argues for the need to protect global supply chains that rely on the sea/fisheries https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/05/global-supply-chains-are-under-imminent-threat-from-the-covid-19-pandemic/
- Food shortages because of a lack of transport (20.04.2020)
- This article by Tim Lang, in the early stages of the crisis, called for food rationing in the UK (accessed: 11.04.2020).
- The Lang, Millstone and Marsden article in The Independent is also useful, calling for a national food plan to manage the crisis rather than over-reliance on market responses https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/food-coronavirus-wake-food-system-uk-government-a9480811.html (accessed 04.05.2020), plus here's a link to their letter sent to George Eustice and Duncan Selbie on 1st April 2020 https://foodresearch.org.uk/download/15003/.
- This letter by Caroline Lucas to the Secretary of State at DEFRA is also well worth a read (accessed: 11.04.2020).
- Excellent article on COVID-19 and food inequalities in Emerald Open Access https://emeraldopenresearch.com/articles/2-11 by Madeleine Power, Bob Doherty, Katie Pybus and Kate Pickett, with commentaries by Peter Jackson, Rachel Loopstra, Alex Murdock, Diane Holt and Andrew Williams (29.04.2020)
- The Food Foundation are reporting on household food security during the crisis. One week in, they commissioned a YouGov poll which indicated that 1.5m people were worrying about hunger (accessed 11.04.2020) and also here (20.04.2020) and here from the Food Foundation (11.04.2020).
- This article, in the Financial Times, reports data from their second YouGov poll, which indicates that 3 million households in the UK are now food insecure (20.04.2020).
- Here's the third Food Foundation poll https://foodfoundation.org.uk/vulnerable_groups/new-poll-data-more-than-five-million-people-in-households-with-children-have-experienced-food-insecurity-since-lockdown-began/ and shows that more than five million people in households with children are experiencing food insecurity (04.05.2020); findings also reported in this Guardian article https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/may/03/exclusive-fifth-of-uk-homes-children-hungry-lockdown (04.05.2020).
- Here's the fourth YouGov poll from the Food Foundation https://foodfoundation.org.uk/vulnerable_groups/new-food-foundation-data-food-insecurity-and-debt-are-the-new-reality-under-lockdown/ (accessed 23.05.2020). Nearly five million adults in the UK (4.9 million1) (9%) are still experiencing food insecurity; 1.7 million1 (12%) children live in these households; four million adults borrowing money; ethnic minorities most at risk of food poverty.
- Unprecedented demands on food banks in the UK https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/may/01/uk-food-banks-face-record-demand-in-coronavirus-crisis and https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/coronavirus-lockdown-help-the-hungry-campaign-food-poverty-warning-experts-a9490536.html (04.05.2020).
- The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee also launched an online survey (9 April 2020), inviting the public to share their experiences of accessing food during the outbreak. For full details see https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/52/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/news/145887/mps-launch-online-survey-into-coronavirus-and-access-to-food/ (24.04.2020).
- Here's the response to the EFRA survey https://twitter.com/CommonsEFRA/status/1260875577084588033 (16.05.2020). Some interesting responses e.g. support that retail chains (supermarkets) adapted quite well considering pressure on the system.
- This article in The Independent https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/help-the-hungry-national-food-service-coronavirus-covid-19-a9483171.html?fbclid=IwAR2VYrLOrQxf7ptz7NKLmz-FWKQvitDTth4AuncfEQXu5Oh4uulZvWxPNMo reports on a campaign to establish a National Food Service (accessed: 29.04.2020; thanks to Peter Jackson for sharing).
- Tim Lang's (2020) Feeding Britain https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/308/308380/feeding-britain/9780241442227.html is a useful and timely reference point too as a we try to make sense of the pandemic.
- Link to food charities grant fund https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-apply-for-the-food-charities-grant-fund (16.05.2020).
- Coping with a tsunami of need and the Government’s £16m aimed at food charities https://www.foodaidnetwork.org.uk/blog/between-the-devil-and-the-deep-blue-sea (accessed: 16.05.2020).
- Important article in The Guardian (15.05.2020) https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/may/15/food-banks-warning-government-poor-families-coronavirus making it clear that food banks' alone can't deal with the scale of the food insecurity problem in the UK - people need basic income not free food! (accessed: 16.05.2020) (see also the article Valerie Tarasuk and Lynn McIntre, from Canada, which I posted a few days ago in the global food access thread, which makes a similar point re. basic income support).
- Kath Dalmeny, Sustain, spelling out what we need to make sure vulnerable households get the food they need - a national food plan! https://www.thegrocer.co.uk/community/a-national-food-plan-is-the-only-way-to-ensure-the-uk-feeds-the-vulnerable/604795.article (16.05.2020).
- This article in The Grocer, by Ian Wright (CEO of FDF), urges government to appoint a 'minister for hunger' https://www.thegrocer.co.uk/people/industry-urges-government-to-appoint-minister-for-hunger/605025.article (accessed 23.05.2020).
- Uneven UK approach for Covid-19 doesn’t guarantee children’s right to food https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/05/28/uk-children-england-going-hungry-schools-shut (30.05.2020).
EFRA inquiry - second public session on food insecurity:
- The second EFRA COVID-19 and food supply public evidence session took place on 15.05.2020 https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/52/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/news/146356/covid19-and-food-supply-second-public-evidence-session-announced/. Session covered "how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the ability of vulnerable people to get sufficient healthy food, and the impact on charities such as food banks who help people facing food insecurity". Witnesses: Lindsay Boswell, Chief Executive Officer, FareShare; Emma Revie, Chief Executive, Trussell Trust; Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director, Age UK; and Fazilet Hadi, Policy Manager, Disability Rights UK. Here's the video link https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/1b065556-825b-420d-9d1d-580deda858a6 (accessed: 16.05.2020).
- Chair raises 'pressing challenges' faced by those struggling to access food https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/52/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/news/146487/Chair-comments-access-to-food-19-21 (accessed 23.05.2020).
Government announcement to support food charities:
- Government announcement of £16m to support food charities. Link and summary of support available here https://www.gov.uk/government/news/16-million-for-food-charities-to-provide-meals-for-those-in-need (accessed 09.05.2020)
- Here's Kath Dalmeny's response to the announcement, who argues it is simply not enough to address the scale of the problem https://www.sustainweb.org/news/may20_government_offers_crumbs_to_people_running_out_of_food/ (accessed 09.05.2020)
- Excellent blog by Megan Blake documenting some of the ways community groups are working and organising to counter food hunger and food insecurity in communities; stark problems also outlined and the need for central government support (accessed: 10.04.2020).
- Excellent guide from Nourish Scotland for community responses to Covid-19 (accessed 10.04.2020).
- Lincoln Food Partnership. Like many other community food organisations, they are doing great work to organise food responses, including food donations (accessed: 11.04.2020); see also the Sustainable Food Places list of local food partnerships.
School meals and school catering:
- Call for free school meals during half-term and summer in England (The Guardian, 15.05.2020) https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/may/15/call-for-free-school-meals-during-half-term-summer-england (accessed: 16.05.2020).
- Sustain has produced a guide for local authorities and school caterers to deliver to the elderly, including four ways to adapt school kitchens and a case study for each model https://www.sustainweb.org/publications/school_caterers_put_their_meals_on_wheels/ (accessed: 23.05.2020).
Reliance on EU food chains, Brexit and food security:
- Useful blog by Tony Heron, which argues that Covid-19 is a reminder of our reliance on EU food chains for UK food security, and why we should question the logic of a post-Brexit 'cheap food' trade policy https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/brexit/2020/05/21/covid-19-is-a-stark-reminder-of-how-deeply-the-uks-food-security-is-dependent-on-the-eu/ (23.05.2020).
- International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has put together a great resources page on COVID-19 impacts in majority world countries https://www.ifpri.org/covid-19 (accessed 09.05.2020).
- The UN 'Goal 2: Zero Hunger' page has useful info and links https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/hunger/ (30.05.2020).
- The FAO has a useful page on COVID-19 and global food supplies http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1268059/icode/ (30.05.2020).
- World Food Programme analysis of the potential impact of COVID-19 on the world’s poorest people https://docs.wfp.org/api/documents/WFP-0000114205/download/?_ga=2.241337546.952775517.1586900153-341597442.1584735263(30.05.2020). Key message: the economic and food insecurity impacts of the disease could be more devastating that the disease itself.
Other resources and articles (media, academic):
- Global food shortage prediction - The Guardian (accessed: 20.04.2020).
- Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC) 2020. You can access the executive summary and full report here https://reliefweb.int/report/world/global-report-food-crises-2020 (accessed: 04.05.2020). The forecasts were made pre Covid-19 but the summary and full report include commentary re. the pandemic (impacts and action needed).
- The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition are preparing situation reports for low and middle-income countries that they work in re. the impact of Covid-19 on food systems https://www.gainhealth.org/resources/reports-and-publications/impact-covid-19-food-systems-situation-report (23.05.2020).
- Food insecurity warning from WFP (East Africa) https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/wfp-warns-food-insecurity-double-east-africa-200428150049637.html (accessed: 04.05.2020).
- Food insecurity in India (impacts on the 'working poor') https://www.ft.com/content/dec12470-894b-11ea-9dcb-fe6871f4145a (04.05.2020).
- Video diaries from Nairobi https://medium.com/enabling-sustainability/video-diaries-from-nairobi-navigating-food-insecurity-in-times-of-the-covid-19-pandemic-296b300b0867 (09.05.2020).
- Tripoli https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/01/care-about-masks-anger-poverty-grip-lebanese-city-tripoli-coronavirus (09.05.2020).
- Forbes - COVID-19 and food security in the Caribbean (31/03/2020).
- Excellent blog https://www.ifpri.org/blog/covid-19-nutrition-crisis-what-expect-and-how-protect (accessed 24.04.2020) on the COVID-19 pandemic and the implications for global malnutrition, including practical ways vulnerable groups can be protected.
- This Economist piece argues the global food chain is responding to the Covid-19 challenge [I disagree, given food insecurity crisis, but articles like this balance the narrative, even if I don't agree!] https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/05/09/the-global-food-supply-chain-is-passing-a-severe-test (16.05.2020).
- This Lancet editorial https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S2214-109X%2820%2930228-X warns 'food insecurity will be the sting in the tail of COVID-19', and women, and particularly children, could bear the brunt of the effects of food insecurity/health system disruptions (23.05.2020).
- World Food Programme warning of a food crisis in Latin America because of COVID-19 http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2020/05/30/2020053000400.html (30.05.2020).
- Enabling Sustainability has resources, reports and video diaries on responses to Covid-19 https://medium.com/enabling-sustainability (30.05.2020).
The need for basic income support not food charity:
- Great article from Valerie Tarasuk and Lynn McIntre https://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/april-2020/food-banks-cant-adequately-address-covid-19-food-insecurity/ (accessed 29.04.2020) on why we must not accept food banks as an adequate response to Covid-19 food insecurity - they argue for basic income support not food charity. Comments based on Canada's food response to date.
- Marion Nestle on why SNAP is important in the US, as a safety net for the poor https://www.foodpolitics.com/2020/05/23149/(accessed 16.05.2020); this article from The New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/21/nyregion/coronavirus-ny-update.html emphasises the scale and persistance of the problem in the US (2 million city residents food insecure) (accessed: 23.05.2020).
- This Guardian article argues factory farming, global agribusiness and environmental destruction are to blame for coronavirus (not wet markets)(accessed: 10.04.2020). Links to Wallace’s (2016) argument about relational geographies not absolute geographies when tracing the cause of disease outbreaks.
- Here's a podcast/interview with Rob Wallace, explaining links between infectious disease and global agriculture https://kutpodcasts.org/the-secret-ingredient/covid-19-series-rob-wallace (accessed: 06.05.2020).
- Industrial animal farming has caused most new infectious diseases and risks more pandemics, The Independent https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/coronavirus-meat-animal-farming-pandemic-disease-wet-markets-a9505626.html (accessed: 16.05.2020).
- This article, by Laura Spinney, is also helpful in making the case for global responsibility in terms of the origins of the virus (accessed: 11.04.2020); have a read too of the excellent blog on Covid-19, racism and the power of names, by geographer Tim Cresswell (accessed: 11.04.2020).
- Baby pangolins on my plate: possible lessons to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic https://ethnobiomed.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/s13002-020-00366-4. Open access paper in Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (09.05.2020).
- Useful article by Patrick Holden on what the pandemic means in terms of future food security (11.04.2020). Critiques the current centralised system.
- Caroline Lucas - Coronavirus and access to food (11.04.2020).
- Interview linked to Tim Lang’s new ‘Feeding Britain’ book, but links also to Covid-19 (11.04.2020); see also this interview with Geoff Tansey https://geofftansey.wordpress.com/2020/05/10/feeding-britain-our-food-problems-and-how-to-fix-them/ (16.05.2020).
- Go back in time to Mike Davis ‘The Monster At Our Door’ (2005) responding to Avian Flu. Davis argues for international co-operation to secure global public health.
- We need to change how we grow our food (20.04.2020)
- EU towards a sustainable food system (20.04.2020)
- The myth of silver linings https://www.businessgreen.com/blog-post/4012857/myth-silver-linings (24.04.2020) (interesting blog on green growth generally, but very relevant in terms of food system changes that we might anticipate now but might not happen (for various reasons))
- Two blogs from the Future Food team at Nottingham University. The first is about the globalisation of food, their fragility and links to 'planetary health' https://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/futurefood/2020/04/07/global-food-supply-chains-in-times-of-pandemic/ and the second considers global trading patterns https://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/futurefood/2020/04/27/global-trading-the-good-the-bad-and-the-essential/ (both accessed 29.04.2020)
- Podcast on Covid-19 and the food system by the Sustainable Places team at Cardiff University https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/sustainable-places/research/sustainable-places-podcast(accessed 29.04.2020)
- Eating Better blog on the UK food system (five lessons from Covid-19) https://www.eating-better.org/blog/5-things-covid19-has-told-us-about-food-systems-in-the-uk (accessed 29.04.2020)
- This is a crowdsourced Googledoc https://docs.google.com/document/d/10w7MKa1lurkJR5zIJBbG-LyMykhDtxlfO2liGjruNVQ/edit?fbclid=IwAR3on3eJfnhiP7HMiKPfVqxi8nwTnlcZMlNGQlMu_3BGuczaiTT43enZiMA (accessed: 29.04.2020) that covers a range of materials (mostly media articles but academic sources too), across various food system themes (see the contents page). Thanks to Colin Anderson for sending me the link.
- Agriculture and Human Values has a special collection of short essays on COVID-19 forthcoming in Issue 3 (Sept 2020). The contributions look great. Here's the link https://link.springer.com/journal/10460/topicalCollection/AC_f5a2c2971f8e17ca3f5401cfb405594c/page/1 (23.05.2020).
- Ana Moragues-Faus has a useful piece in the A&HV's collection (see above), arguing for the need for a distributive food systems to build just and liveable futures, with a link to the amazing and very relevant work of Iris Young https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10460-020-10087-9 (accessed: 16.05.2020); and this piece, by Lewis Holloway, is useful, linking Covid-19 to his work on infectious farm animal disease and biosecurity https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs10460-020-10072-2.pdf(23.05.2020).
- Frontiers is also organising a theme issue on the effects of COVID-19 on food supply, diet, nutrition and health https://www.frontiersin.org/research-topics/14033/the-effects-of-the-covid-19-outbreak-on-food-supply-dietary-patterns-nutrition-and-health (accessed: 16.05.2020).
- Journal of Agrarian Change has a call for papers for a special issue on 'Capitalism, Crisis and Covid' https://www.aqs.org.uk/cfp-capitalism-crisis-and-covid-agrarian-political-economy-in-disrupted-circuits-of-capital-and-labour/ (accessed 23.05.2020).
- Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Communiyt Development has a special issue on COVID-19 (early) food system responses https://www.foodsystemsjournal.org/index.php/fsj (30.05.2020).
- Useful report by IPES-Food on COVID-19 and the Crisis in Food Systems http://www.ipes-food.org/pages/covid19 (29.04.2020).
- This article examines food chain disruptions caused by Covid-19, with analysis and case studies from production through to consumption (nice visuals) https://multimedia.scmp.com/infographics/news/world/article/3080824/covid19-disrupts-food-supply/index.html
- Rockerfeller Foundation article (Covid-19 food system reflections) https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/blog/five-covid-19-reflections-from-a-food-system-perspective-and-how-we-could-take-action/ (accessed 04.05.2020).
- Thoughtful blog by Corinna Hawkes making the case for a systems approach to global health https://www.4sd.info/covid-19-narratives/spotlight-on-systems-with-professor-corinna-hawkes/ , including food systems (systems as multiple and interconnected) (accessed: 06.05.2020).
- Great article by Jennifer Clapp in The New York Times: the Covid-19 crisis is revealing a very broken global food system https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/08/opinion/coronavirus-global-food-supply.html (09.05.2020).
- Michael Pollan article in The New York Review of Books (how Covid19 exposes vulnerabilities in the US food system) https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2020/06/11/covid-19-sickness-food-supply/ (accessed: 16.05.2020).
- Phil McMichael: COVID-19 Implications on our 'Broken Food System' https://www.isa-agrifood.com/post/covid-19-implications-on-our-broken-food-system (16.05.2020).
- This Los Angeles Times piece is also a good summary of Covid-19 impacts on the US food chain https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-05-05/coronavirus-food-supply-chain-makers-distributors-retailers (16.05.2020).
- This paper by Christopher Barrett in Nature Food sets out seven actions governments can take to stablise food chains (based on learning from 2008-2012 price spikes) https://www.nature.com/articles/s43016-020-0085-y.pdf(09.05.2020).
- Sustainable Healthy Diets and Covid 19: Building Back Better Food Systems https://tastingthefuture.com/2020/05/06/sustainable-healthy-diets-and-covid-19-building-back-better-food-systems/ (09.05.2020).
- Blog from the Nordic Food Policy Lab on how we build back more sustainable food systems, post-Covid (short food chains, diversity, citizen agency) https://tastingthefuture.com/2020/05/06/sustainable-healthy-diets-and-covid-19-building-back-better-food-systems/ (accessed 23.05.2020).
- Impacts of COVID-19 on the Food System (Warwick University resources page) https://warwick.ac.uk/research/priorities/food/foodduringcovid19/ (23.05.2020).
- Coronavirus offers the chance to create a fairer UK food supply chain https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/18/coronavirus-offers-chance-to-create-fairer-uk-food-supply-chain-say-experts (23.05.2020).
- Food systems should focus on public goods - IPES-Food; Peter Jackson is quoted too https://ihsmarkit.com/research-analysis/covid19-shows-food-systems-should-focus-on-public-good.html (23.05.2020).
- Nature Plants editorial: food in a time of COVID-19 (highlighting inequalities in food systems) https://www.nature.com/articles/s41477-020-0682-7.pdf (30.05.2020).
- Nature Food: exploring wet markets (we need a wider approach than banning these markets; as is often the case, no simple fix!) https://www.nature.com/articles/s43016-020-0090-1.pdf; see also this piece about banning bushmeat in The Conversation https://theconversation.com/banning-bushmeat-could-make-it-harder-to-stop-future-pandemics-138735 (both accessed 30.05.2020).
Covid-19 expert database, including responses re. food:
- Business, trade and COVID-19: What are experts concerned about? [50 concerns listed re food] https://post.parliament.uk/horizon-scanning/business-trade-and-covid-19-what-are-experts-concerned-about/ (accessed 16.05.2020).
Food policy co-ordination:
- Two useful resources by Kelly Parsons, Rosalind Sharpe and Corinna Hawkes at Food Research Collaboration https://foodresearch.org.uk/publications/who-makes-food-policy-in-england-and-food-policy-coordination-under-covid19/ (05.05.2020): a Guidance Note on why the government’s response to the Covid-19 food crisis needs to be better coordinated; and the detailed report it is based on, Who makes food policy in England?
- Food Secure Canada has produced a food policy action plan in response to COVID-19, centred around resilience and equity https://foodsecurecanada.org/2020-growing-resilience-equity (30.05.2020).
Mapping unhealthy food commodity industry responses:
This is a mapping tool created by the NCD alliance to track how business are responding to COVID-19 and impacts on non-communicable disease https://ncdalliance.org/news-events/news/help-map-unhealthy-commodity-industries-responses-to-covid-19. In particular they track how COVID-19 may be used opportunistically by some food manufacturers/suppliers who promote unhealthy foods. Thanks to Dave Watson for sharing this (accessed: 09.05.2020).
- Sustainable Food Places: fantastic list of local food partnerships that are responding to the crisis, including place-based examples and regular updates (accessed 20.04.2020).
- Useful article describing how CSA, box schemes and other short chains are responding to unprecedented demand (accessed 10.04.2020).
- Sustain has put together a useful list of small food businesses selling on-line (national and regional directories) https://www.sustainweb.org/coronavirus/local_food_online/ (not intended to be an exhaustive list) (04.05.2020), plus selling platforms https://www.sustainweb.org/coronavirus/selling_platforms_for__food_orgs/(16.05.2020).
- Open Food Network UL local food producer list (online retail) https://about.openfoodnetwork.org.uk/blog/support-local-producers-by-shopping-online/ (04.05.2020).
- CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Network UK has put together a great set of Covid-19 resources for CSAs, including food-handling guidelines, how to meet increased demand and volunteer labour issues (accessed 11.04.2020).
- Land Workers’ Alliance (resources) (accessed: 11.04.2020).
- The Loans for Enlightened Agriculture Programme (LEAP) has launched an Emergency Small Loans Programme to help support the community food sector (10.04.2020).
- Useful article about Covid-19 and the local abattoir sector, who are critical for local meat chains (10.04.2020), plus a useful list of five websites / platforms that are helping to link local food producers with markets/consumers https://sustainablefoodtrust.org/articles/resources-to-support-sustainable-food-during-the-lockdown/ (accessed: 22.04.2020).
- Guardian article reporting individual and community grassroots responses to address food access uncertainty in supermarkets (accessed: 11.04.2020).
- Article on meat and veg vending machines (farm shop in Aberdeenshire) (20.04.2020).
- See also past CCRI work for ‘Local Food’ and CPRE food from the ‘Urban Fringe’ (14.03.2020).
- New Food Foundation report on veg. boxes schemes in the UK https://foodfoundation.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Food-Foundation-COVID-19-Veg-Box-Scheme-report.pdf, showing significant increases in demand and how schemes have adapted to sell to priority and vulnerable groups (05.05.2020); see also a summary of the main findings in this blog https://foodfoundation.org.uk/fruit_and_veg_affect/new-food-foundation-data-veg-box-sales-increase-by-111-in-six-weeks-as-a-result-of-covid-19/ (16.05.2020).
- Blog by Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins on local food and Covid-19 https://wiserd.ac.uk/news/could-local-food-fill-our-supermarket-shelves, reminding us that local is 'sticky' and no simple solution (accessed 09.05.2020).
- This blog by Matt Reed and Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins discusses Covid19 and lessons for relocalising food chains (see also their blog for this webpage) https://www.bevanfoundation.org/commentary/can-localising-food-tackle-inequalities/ (accessed: 16.05.2020).
- Sustainable Trust guides to 'growing your own' http://sustainablefoodtrust.org/articles/guides-to-growing-your-own-we-review-our-favourite-books/ (09.05.2020).
- Selling milk from the farm (direct, short chains) http://sustainablefoodtrust.org/articles/milk-fresh-from-the-farm/ (23.05.2020).
- Blog by Jan Vávra about agriculture, food growing and gardening in the Czech Republic https://timesofcovid19.temporalities.no/2020/04/22/sketches-of-food-agriculture-gardening-and-sustainability-in-the-times-of-covid-19-jan-vavra/ (accessed: 23.05.2020).
- Local food and food gardening, Edible Gardens project, Australia https://urbanagscientist.com/2020/05/19/a-more-locally-connected-resilient-and-tasty-australia-future-how-to-support-all-these-newly-enthused-food-gardeners/ (accessed: 23.05.2020).
- This blog captures what it is like for local food grower Better Food Shed during Covid-19 - they supply box schemes in London (supply challenges noted, esp labour) https://www.sustainweb.org/blogs/may20_farming_through_a_pandemic/ (23.05.2020).
- Indepedent meat processors (abattoirs) in the US (local food chain infrastructure). https://civileats.com/2020/05/19/as-covid-19-disrupts-the-industrial-meat-system-independent-processors-have-a-moment-to-shine/ (23.05.2020).
A more critical relocalisation perspective:
- Interesting article from Jayson Lusk (agricultural economist) on the short food chain / relocalisation food system response, reminding us not to see these responses as a panacea to problems that might be more systemic [that's what i take from it anyway!] http://jaysonlusk.com/blog/2020/5/12/ruminations-on-solutions-to-the-covid-related-food-disruptions (accessed: 16.05.2020).
- Plaid Cymru's 'buy local' campaign to boost farmers https://www.farminguk.com/news/plaid-cymru-s-buy-local-campaign-to-boost-farmers_55691.html (accessed 23.05.2020).
- FAO has created an Agroecology Knowledge Hub, including several articles related to local and urban food networks http://www.fao.org/agroecology/slideshow/news-article/en/c/1268856/ (accessed: 09.05.2020).
- This blog by Joanna Lewis (Soil Association) argues agroecology should be a priority for UK food security post-Covid http://blogs.bath.ac.uk/iprblog/2020/05/01/coronavirus-caught-our-food-system-on-the-back-foot-but-lets-not-take-a-backward-step/?utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=social_organic&utm_campaign=news_proactive&utm_content=jo_lewis_ipr_blog (accessed 09.05.2020).
- Organic food sales increase reported https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2020/05/06/Organic-food-gets-coronavirus-boost (09.05.2020).
- An interview with Simon Crichton, Triodos Bank, re. financing agroecological businesses for a fairer (post-Covid) food system https://www.sustainweb.org/blogs/may20_finance_fairer_food/ (accessed: 16.05.2020).
- UK food surplus charity (Fair Share) given 360 tonnes more than usual as food service businesses close (accessed: 10.04.2020).
- WARP is trying to develop new ways to significantly increase surplus food redistribution (accessed: 10.04.2020).
- Data from WRAP re citizens and food during lockdown https://wrap.org.uk/content/citizens-and-food-covid-19-lockdown (23.05.2020). Reports a 34% drop in how much food households throw away, plus more food planning and creative cooking. A positive silver lining (amidst the mostly gloomy news).
- Food sharing during Covid-19, report from Philadelphia https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2020-05-17/food-sharing-during-covid-19-video (23.05.2020).
- UK takeaway food waste rises during coronavirus lockdown https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/13/uk-takeaway-food-waste-rises-during-coronavirus-lockdown (accessed: 16.05.2020).
- The oil crash has created a plastic recycling trap https://www.smh.com.au/business/markets/goodbye-waste-free-future-the-oil-crash-has-created-a-plastic-recycling-trap-20200507-p54qkb.html (accessed: 16.05.2020).
- AHDB Market Impact - Markets and Prices (accessed: 20.04.2020).
- Excellent AHDB podcast on how Covid-19 is impacting UK dairy markets https://audioboom.com/posts/7569431-covid-19-special-the-impact-of-coronavirus-on-the-dairy-industry (04.05.2020); differential impact between retail and food service sales.
- FAO has useful tools to support policy analyses and assess COVID-19 impacts on food and agriculture, value chains and food security, including real-time data analysis of food chain and food price impacts http://www.fao.org/2019-ncov/en/(29.04.2020); plus this big data tool on food chain impacts https://datalab.review.fao.org/index.html#.XsJbNZRZCW8.twitter (23.05.2020).
- IFPRI has great resources too to track production and stocks of key crops at global and country levels https://www.ifpri.org/covid-19, plus food price and food trade tracker tools (09.05.2020).
Food system organisations:
- Sustain (the alliance for better food and farming). This link includes a range of case studies and responses to the crisis e.g. guidelines to help keep food markets open, case studies to support vulnerable groups and ways we can support the fishing fleet. If you are on Twitter, follow Vicki Hird and Kate Dalmeny.
- Food Ethics Council. They are compiling great material too, including a #FridayFoodChampions award for food citizenship responses to Covid-19 (@FoodEthicsNews), plus this article about ‘ethics in our food response to Covid-19’ (accessed: 11.04.2020) and their #FoodTalks https://www.foodethicscouncil.org/resource/foodtalks-from-emergency-to-recovery/ (04.05.2020). If you are on Twitter, follow Dan Crossley.
- Sustainable Food Trust. They have produced some interesting articles on Covid-19. I have included some specific ones below re small and local food businesses, but you can find them all here (11.04.2020).
- Sustainable Food Places. Collating material on local food responses (see below also under local food networks theme), as well as tracking food insecurity and business impacts: see this page (accessed 20.04.2020).
- The Food Foundation. Articles tracking Covid-19 food system impacts, particularly impacts on food prices and food accessibility and survey data on household food security, see this page (11.04.2020).
- N8 Agrifood. Compiled a list of international organisations dealing with the crisis, plus key news items (accessed: 20.04.2020).
- Institute of Food Science and Technology. IFST has created a COVID-19 knowledge hub https://www.ifst.org/resources-policy/covid-19-knowledge-hub (accessed: 29.04.2020), with key resources and links on consumption, food education and SME operations.
- Food Climate Research Network. Lots of useful material on sustainable food systems https://fcrn.org.uk/. Their newsletter (Fodder) features interesting Covid-19 articles.
- Food Research Collaboration. Useful working papers on food policy co-ordination https://foodresearch.org.uk/publications/who-makes-food-policy-in-england-and-food-policy-coordination-under-covid19/, including the different organisations in England involved in food governance (and the need for coordination) (05.05.2020).
Food, farming and the rural economy:
- NFU. Coronavirus up-dates and advice page (20.04.2020).
- AHDB. Useful material on markets, plus farmer and grower guidance (general/sector) (accessed: 20.04.2020).
- RSA Food and Farming Countryside Commission. Tracking impact of the virus on farming, food and rural communities. Coordinating a ‘road to renewal’ response and evidence gathering. Article by Tom MacMillan explains what they are planning (accessed: 11.04.2020). If you are on Twitter, follow Sue Pritchard.
- Centre for Rural Economy has produced an excellent briefing paper on Covid-19 impacts on rural economies, including agriculture (accessed: 20.04.2020).
- Rural Policy Group: Running a series of virtual seminars on the rural economy and Covid19 https://ruralpolicy.group/red(16.05.2020).
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee:
- EFRA Select Committee Inquiry: COVID-19 and food supply https://committees.parliament.uk/work/217/covid19-and-food-supply/ (24.04.2020).
- This is the video link to the first EFRA Committee meeting for COVID-19 and food supply, 05.05.2020: https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/cbf5c316-5053-48d4-a0f9-be8e82bea32c. Witnesses: Minette Batters, President, National Farmers' Union; Tom Hind, Chief Strategy Officer, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board; Jack Ward, Chief Executive Officer, British Growers Association (accessed: 06.05.2020).
- The second EFRA COVID-19 and food supply public evidence session took place on 15.05.2020. The session covered "how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the ability of vulnerable people to get sufficient healthy food, and the impact on charities such as food banks who help people facing food insecurity". See also the food security UK thread.
- You can access the oral and written evidence submitted to the inquiry via this link https://committees.parliament.uk/work/217/covid19-and-food-supply/publications/ (accessed 23.05.2020).
- AHDB Weekly updates on agricultural commodities and price evolution. Weekly analysis of markets and the processing sector.
- Potato mountains and rotten cheese (Europe) https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-europe-52715288/coronavirus-leads-to-food-industry-crisis-in-europe (23.05.2020).
Meat and food processing plants (the US and Germany):
- Financial Times article on Trump's executive order to keep meat processing plants open in the US https://www.ft.com/content/2c7e1a34-2cd7-4b80-ae2d-a8549f565423 and here too on slaughterhouse shutdowns in the US https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/29/millions-of-farm-animals-culled-as-us-food-supply-chain-chokes-up-coronavirus (both accessed 04.05.2020).
- This article in The Economist https://www.economist.com/united-states/2020/04/30/in-america-the-virus-threatens-a-meat-industry-that-is-too-concentrated argues meat processing in the US is too concentrated (thanks Théo Lenormand for the link) (06.05.2020).
- The Economist reports a surge in meat prices in the US because of Covid-19 https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2020/05/13/the-spread-of-covid-has-caused-a-surge-in-american-meat-prices?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/ed/dailychartthespreadofcovidhascausedasurgeinamericanmeatpricesgraphicdetail(accessed: 16.05.2020).
- Mapping Covid-19 in meat and food processing plants in the US https://thefern.org/2020/04/mapping-covid-19-in-meat-and-food-processing-plants/ (thanks to Gareth Enticott for this and the previous link) (accessed: 16.05.2020).
- COVID-19 has infected 3000+ US meat packing workers (data from United Food and Commercial Workers International Union) https://thepoultrysite.com/news/2020/05/covid-19-has-infected-more-than-3-000-us-meat-plant-workers (30.05.2020).
- A summary of COVID-19 in the meatpacking industry - using URLs from NodeXL Graph Gallery reports (thanks Gareth Enticott for the link) https://wakelet.com/wake/_AGj4_s-vwBbbm4nArZDs; and here's the BMJ piece (summarising the twitter analysis) https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/05/29/learning-about-covid-19-outbreaks-from-non-viral-tweets/ (both accessed 30.05.2020).
- Critical analysis of the mismanagement of the pandemic in Iowa meatpackers, Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/05/28/springtime-fear-small-meatpacking-town/ (30.05.2020).
- This article on outbreaks of Covid-19 in meat processing factors in Germany is interesting. Similar to reports in the US (see above) it highlights wider structural and ethical questions about the labour conditions and the safety of workers https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/22/exploitative-conditions-germany-to-reform-meat-industry-after-spate-of-covid-19-cases (23.05.2020).
- This article also covers outbreaks of Covid-19 in German meatpackers (thanks to Gareth Enticott for the link) https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-breaks-out-in-third-german-slaughterhouse/a-53389860 (23.05.2020).
Independent meat processors
- Indepedent meat processors (abattoirs) in the US. Civil Eats piece https://civileats.com/2020/05/19/as-covid-19-disrupts-the-industrial-meat-system-independent-processors-have-a-moment-to-shine/ (23.05.2020).
- See also this article on small-scale abattoirs https://www.hcn.org/articles/covid-19-will-covid-19-help-save-small-slaughterhouses (23.05.2020).
Supply chain vulnerability
- Financial Times piece about the vulnerability of food chains to Covid-19, especially meat processing; other global food networks are more agile; short chains offer greater resilience https://www.ft.com/content/d7a12d18-8313-11ea-b6e9-a94cffd1d9bf (30.05.2020).
Concerns about food fraud
- Recent horsemeat seizures has raised concerns about food fraud, with criminal gangs exploiting supply chain vulnerabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/23/horsemeat-seized-amid-fears-criminals-exploiting-coronavirus/ (30.05.2020).
- Sustainable Food Places webpage has useful resources/articles on how different cities / urban food partnerships in the UK are responding https://www.sustainablefoodplaces.org/ (accessed: 23.05.2020); see also their day of celebration and action for local food partnerships (10th June 2020) https://mailchi.mp/9be133996c85/sustainable-food-places-newsletter-may-2726972 (30.05.2020).
- Written from the perspective of feeding cities as energy becomes more scarce Joy Carey’s ‘Who Feeds Bristol’ remains a vital resource for thinking about urban food resilience (14.03.2020).
- This article was published just before the lock-down, and like Joy Carey they estimate the capacity of a large western city (Sheffield) could provide - through urban agriculture - 15% of its own food needs (14.03.2020).
- FAO paper about the importance of urban food systems (20.04.2020).
- City and city region impacts and responses http://www.fao.org/in-action/food-for-cities-programme/news/covid-19/en/ (04.05.2020); plus this city region food system article by Alison Blay-Palmer and colleagues for RUAF https://ruaf.org/news/city-region-food-systems-to-cope-with-covid-19-and-other-pandemic-emergencies/ (16.05.2020).
- Thoughtful blog by Adrian Ely (STEPS) about links between national food planning and local organisations https://steps-centre.org/blog/food-in-the-time-of-covid-19-how-can-local-action-and-national-coordination-work-together/, drawing on his work with the Brighton and Hove Partnership and the importance of these forms of partnership during the crisis (accessed 09.05.2020).
- This blog gives an overview of Bristol's 'Going for Gold' and other food policies in the wake of Covid-19 https://sustainablefoodtrust.org/articles/going-for-gold-in-the-wake-of-covid-19/?utm_source=SFT+Newsletter&utm_campaign=6d983255c7-Newsletter+214_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bf20bccf24-6d983255c7-105088289 (accessed 23.05.2020).
- Importance of farmland on city edges (analysis from Melbourne, where land on city edge provided important produce during Covid; need to maintain land zoned for farming going forward) https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/planners-say-pandemic-shows-farmland-on-city-fringes-is-crucial-20200505-p54pxs.html (accessed: 16.05.2020).
- This blog, by Sharelle Polack, Braulio Eduardo Morera, Alex Ryan and Laura Platenkamp, argues that city-level governments have a key role to play re. food system governance in the COVID-19 pandemic https://nutritionconnect.org/resource-center/blog-26-urban-governments-have-key-role-play-covid-19-pandemic (30.05.2020).
- A couple of great resources from Bristol to support and encourage citizens to buy local and support food retail independents, from Bristol Food Network and Support Bristol Food (accessed: 10.04.2020); see also https://www.goingforgoldbristol.co.uk/bristolfoodkind-highlights-so-far/ (09.05.2020).
- BBC News coverage of how independent retailers are adapting during Covid-19 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-52589775 (23.05.2020).
- UK corner shops and independent grocers see a sharp rise in sales (63% increase) https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/may/27/uk-corner-shops-and-independent-grocers-ring-up-63-per-cent-rise-in-sales-coronavirus?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Tweet (30.05.2020).
- Until recently local food producers lacked access to the software to create their own online presence and sales dedicated to food. To learn more about open and accessible software see these pages from the Open Food Network and Local Food Nodes (14.03.2020).
- A small village transformation of shopping under lockdown in Wiltshire (20.04.2020).
- Civil Eats piece about how community food co-ops are thriving in the US, largely because of how they organise their supply chains (local infrastructure) https://civileats.com/2020/05/15/community-food-co-ops-are-thriving-during-the-pandemic/ (23.05.2020).
- Morrison’s Food Boxes (accessed: 10.04.2020). Picked this up via Sarah Holloway’s Twitter feed, who commented “If anyone is struggling to get online food orders for elderly or self-isolating relatives in a different part of the country, I'd recommend googling 'Morrison's Food Boxes'. They send a sensible selection of food and household goods. Booking to delivery was less than 48 hours”.
- Morrisons unveils 10kg 'British Food Box' to support farmers - Farming UK, 12.05.20 https://www.farminguk.com/news/morrisons-unveils-10kg-british-food-box-to-support-farmers_55628.html (accessed: 16.05.2020).
- Stockpiling led to huge boosts in retail sales, including Tesco (10.04.2020).
- Concerns about food shortages is another key narrative in the debate. This article captures that perspective.
- Which ? Information on how supermarket and the retail industry are responding to the current crisis. Weekly Updates, including data on shopping habits (20.04.2020).
- Waitrose launches promotion to buy/eat more steak https://www.farminguk.com/news/waitrose-launches-biggest-ever-steak-promotional-push_55541.html and support British livestock farmers (accessed 04.05.2020).
Big food brands moving online
- This Financial Times article, if access is possible, is interesting: suggests 'big food' brands are moving online during the crisis and sidestepping retailers; also reports an increase in the consumption of ultraprocessed foods https://www.ft.com/content/2a8b011a-60e0-4bd7-bdac-c22c6a210ea5 (30.05.2020).
As CCRI continues its series of blogs concerning Covid-19 and sustainable food systems, we welcome a contribution from Rosalind Sharpe and Kelly Parsons on why coordination is critical when developing food policy.
Former CCRI Director Nigel Curry discusses the situation in and around Lincoln regarding the delivery of food as part of our blog series related to Covid-19 and sustainable food systems.
In our series of blogs related to sustainable food systems and Covid-19, Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins, Matt Reed and Damian Maye reflect on lessons learned during the ROBUST project.
In our series of blogs related to the Covid-19 pandemic and sustainable food systems, we have the pleasure of sharing a Blog written by Joy Carey who is coordinator of Bristol Going for Gold and a Consultant in Sustainable Food Systems Planning.