This weekly recap focuses on the potential effects of reopening the economy before the White House's vaccination goal is met, students' learning experiences during the pandemic, competition in the 5G era, and more.
If policymakers were to make permanent the relaxed rules forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, it could be a start to increased racial equity in SNAP. Given broad public support for SNAP, making benefits easier to access, particularly for those already eligible, could be a bipartisan priority.
The number of Americans experiencing food insecurity has increased since the pandemic began. And rates are higher among African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, and Alaska Natives. Proactive and aggressive policy actions could help reduce the inequities in places like Pittsburgh's Hill District and Homewood neighborhoods.
Maintaining social and spiritual connections in the midst of COVID-19 are not the only challenges facing communities of faith. Congregations play critical roles in providing social services within communities. How can their services, such as food assistance, be delivered safely?
The working and living conditions of farmworkers make practicing social distancing, self-isolation, or quarantine impossible. In the food supply, farmworkers are the first responders who keep the supply chains going. FEMA, the CDC, and state governments should include farmworkers and agricultural communities in their emergency response plans.
For the 14.3 million American households already experiencing food insecurity before the pandemic, shutdowns and restrictions have created new layers of hardship. Tremendous efforts are already underway to help. But the weeks to come will surely demand more creative solutions from the public and private sectors.
In her new book, Susan Marquis takes readers inside the fight in Florida tomato fields. She traces the history and victories of a grassroots group of farmworkers and community leaders who wrested better wages and working conditions from major tomato growers and their corporate buyers.
The Fair Food Program protects farmworkers while providing corporations with transparency in their supply chains and tremendous brand protection. It has been widely recognized for improving agricultural working conditions and for changing the culture of America's farm fields.
A training and innovation center that trains and certifies street food vendors to address issues related to food hygiene, safety, and quality would accelerate the growth of a new Ugandan cuisine that capitalizes on nutritious local ingredients in a sustainable manner.
Thirty percent of all supermarket sales can be attributed to end-of-aisle displays, where retailers have placed more foods that increase the risk of obesity and chronic diseases. Relocating those foods to less conspicuous places would still allow those who want them to get them, but the decision to buy would be deliberate rather than impulsive.
The problem of obesity cannot be attributed to a single dietary or physiological factor, like too much sugar, too much fat, or even factors like viruses, bacteria, and endocrine disrupters. The real problem is that Americans now live in a food swamp and there is just too much food easily available.