Comment by BECA on April Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-04-21T21:24:36.358Z · LW · GW

For things like milk, I’d expect that’d pose a problem. But for things like fresh produce, food banks can handle industrial-sized portions of these, or at least I’ve seen it handled at my local food bank, and my local food bank probably isn’t unique in this.

Comment by BECA on April Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-04-16T19:03:49.677Z · LW · GW

The shift of the supply chain from commercial food supply to residential is part of the problem, and is being highlighted right now with producers destroying milk and produce while food banks face severe shortages. These commercial supply chains aren’t easily converted to being direct to consumer, but the government should be purchasing and diverting these excesses to food banks. As individuals, we could all sign up for local CSA veggie boxes, which could contract with commercial suppliers to augment their produce to meet the increased demand. This would reduce collective demand on the direct consumer supply lines (ie: grocery stores). We could also purchase food in bulk from commercial suppliers, and coordinate with neighbors if a single bulk unit is too much to consume before it spoils.

The other part of the equation is a potential food shortage in the fall due to farmers being unable to get temporary migrant workers in the spring planting season and projecting that same difficulty for the fall harvest, so they’ve elected to further reduce their spring planting. Unfortunately, I think this has already happened across Europe and North America.

As individuals, we could all plant subsistence gardens right now to help reduce the collective demand for food in the fall.