COVID-19 will directly affect many people’s health and sadly result in more fatalities. Facing job losses, school closures, increased physical isolation and strained food supply chains, COVID-19 will also impact many people’s access to food. Already our emergency food aid providers are under stress, noting a rise in users and a drop in donations. Panic stockpiling challenging just-in-time supply chains are increasingly leaving supermarket shelves empty, while school closures put at risk many children across the country who rely on free school meals to be fed. This pandemic is revealing the failings and fragility of the dominant food system.
How can we ensure the most vulnerable members of our community are cared for and fed? How should our short-term emergency responses be coupled with longer-term systemic change which builds food systems more able to deal with shocks? What does an urgent, collective, considered response look like? What positive actions can we take as individuals? How can we build a more resilient food system given the dominant consumer markets?
In challenging times, it is important to carve out spaces to discuss the issues we face, to share thoughts, experience and expertise, and to work out ways to collectively move forward. On the 31st March, Executive Director, Dan Crossley, hosted an online discussion, including short contributions from food and systems change experts:
- Dee Woods – Granville Community Kitchen, IFAN and member of the Food Ethics Council
- Kath Dalmeny – Chief Executive, Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming
- Dr John Ingram – Associate Professor and lead of ECI Food Programme, University of Oxford
- Sara Venn – Incredible Edible Bristol
The event was aimed at people working to create positive change in the food system (including London Food Link members) and members of Impact Hub Kings Cross, but was open to all.
Below you can download a summary of the many questions, insights, experiences, and knowledge shared between the four speakers and 80+ participants. The video recording can be found here (start at 2 min 48 seconds).