How the COVID19 pandemic threatens our food security

I’ve been thinking of writing a book to share my knowledge about growing fruit and vegetables in my backyard garden for years. Well, our current pandemic – and, specifically, how COVID19 is disrupting both food production and regional and global supply chains – has both given me the incentive and created the time for me to do it.

We are only a few months into this pandemic, and we don’t yet know what the future brings. As I write this blog post, the Canada-USA border remains closed to all but essential travel.

Although food and other goods are still crossing between our two countries right now, the supply chains are already disrupted. Fresh vegetables grown for restaurants that are now closed due to the virus cannot sit in warehouses for weeks while new markets are found, and in many places have been left to rot or are being bulldozed to use as mulch.

At the same time, meat-packing and production plants have been forced to close due to spread of the virus, both here in Canada (for example, here in British Columbia as well as in Québec and Alberta) as well as at dozens of meat plants in the USA.

The future is very uncertain.

• We don’t yet know what percentage of the population has even been infected by this new coronavirus and therefore how many may have acquired immunity to it. (In fact, scientists don’t yet know if we even can acquire immunity to it and, if so, how long that immunity lasts for).

• We don’t yet know how many people will eventually die from COVID19, and over what timescale: it seems that the current official White House predictions are rapidly being overtaken.

• We don’t yet know when – or, more accurately if – we will ever get back to “normal” life again. I’d say probably not: COVID19 will change our societies forever.

But what we have all learned very quickly is that our dependence on global trade and commerce is not exactly working in our favour right now. We have seen this both in Canada and in the USA with our dependence upon foreign countries for production of Personal Protective Equipment, leading to crucial shortages for health-care workers.

I predict that we will soon be seeing changes in exactly which foods are available to us, too, over the coming months and the coming years.

All the reason to start growing what foods you can right now!

I am working on the first two books of The Food Garden series now: the first volume, which I call the “Bible” because it contains all of the background knowledge you need to get started growing food at home (and avoid the common mistakes), and the second which explains how to grow fruits and vegetables in containers, for those who only have access to balconies or patios or rooftops.

This is a new project, and my first blog post about The Food Garden books. If you want to be at the front of the line for news, plus get access to special deals as each book is released, or if you have any questions for me, please go over to my Contacts page.

Published by Jacqueline Windh

I'm a writer, photographer, and radio broadcaster who is concerned about our planet and how we live our lives - hoping my work helps people to find new ways of thinking about issues such as personal health, wilderness, the environment, food security, thinking about the future. These things are all connected, you know...

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