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Events

Food in Focus: Global Hunger and the COVID Pandemic | May 22, 12-1pm

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The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted local and global food systems. Essential workers who provide food face new risks and uncertainties, including girls and women who are often the primary meal providers in the Global South; undocumented workers on farms and factories; food pantry employees and volunteers; truck drivers and grocery store employees stocking shelves; and those in the gig economy delivering meals. Consumers also face heightened economic hardship, and the safety nets designed to address food security and poverty must overcome old and new challenges during the pandemic. Governments in industrialized nations have injected trillions of dollars into their economies, but further efforts are needed to address economic and food security in communities throughout the world both during and after the crisis. The World Food Programme has recently warned of a ‘hunger pandemic’ that could leave a quarter of a billion people without adequate food and nutrition.

Catherine Bertini and Ertharin Cousin, two former directors of the World Food Programme, joined by Mansueto Fellow Anni Beukes, will discuss what the pandemic means for food security from south side neighborhoods to informal settlements across the world. We will ask: What is being done to support food businesses and protect essential workers? How can we ensure women and children are protected, and provide meals for vulnerable people amid the COVID-19 pandemic? The discussion will draw on the panelists’ expertise to address how federal, state, and local governments as well as transnational entities like the U.N. are responding to hunger emergencies; what Universities, large employers, and community organizations have done at local levels; and how we might learn from current efforts to make strides towards more resilient food systems and resources.