There is a lot of fear in the world right now. One of the things I fear at the moment is that the people who over shopped in the last few weeks are contributing to an epidemic that has been going on for a long time – the epidemic of wasted food. Over 40% of food grown is wasted. This is because we don’t respect the work and resources that go into growing and producing food. This is really frustrating to me.
I hope the people who stocked up last week are cooking. Creating delicious meals from food that farmers grew for us to eat; that dairies processed for us to drink; that chefs and food scientists created to help us eat with more convenience. That when you eat, you will think of the farmers, who up to now you didn’t respect. Farmers who spend every day of their lives making sure we get food that is good to eat; farmers that work mostly on small farms and worry about making ends meet.
We’ve heard about people working from paycheck to paycheck; farmers work from harvest to harvest. And harvests are YEARLY. They put seed in the ground, feed their animals with the HOPE that they will get money back. Their work is backbreaking and dangerous and mentally draining. Look at the statistics for farmer suicides and realize the main reason for this is because we won’t pay the real price for food.
Food workers, from farm labors to servers in restaurants, are EXEMPT from minimum wage laws. They do the most important work to keep us healthy and we treat them like shit! The food chain workers in Florida have asked fast food restaurants to pay one cent/pound extra for tomatoes through their Fair Food Program and Wendy’s won’t do it.
I read about people complaining that food workers work when they are sick because that will make their food unsafe, even though COVID-19 is NOT a foodborne illness. Food workers working when they were sick was a problem before the current virus. Why? Because fast food chains don’t offer sick leave. Neither do many food companies offer their line workers sick leave. If you miss work, you are more likely to be fired than get sick pay. If you need to complain, complain about the lack of sick leave.
If you bought food last week in a panic; please please please make sure that you use it up or give it to neighbors or your local food pantry. Learn how to cook or bake while you are sheltering in place. Read up on how food is grown and processed and manufactured.
Oh and wash your damn hands!