COVID-19 and the crisis in food systems: Symptoms, causes, and potential solutions (global focus)

Food Security, Food Systems, Global Focus

A communiqué by the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems explores how the COVID-19 health crisis is shining a spotlight on the vulnerabilities of food systems, on three fronts:

  1. Industrial agriculture is driving habitat loss and creating conditions for viruses to emerge and spread.
  2. A range of disruptions are testing the resilience of food supply chains and revealing underlying vulnerabilities 
  3. Hundreds of millions of people are living permanently on the cusp of hunger, malnutrition, and extreme poverty, and therefore are highly vulnerable to the effects of a global recession. 

It goes on to explore how food system actors are responding to COVID-19, including a remarkable upsurge of solidarity and grassroots activism, and glimpses of what new and more resilient food systems might look like. It points to critical steps to maintaining food access and security in the midst of this public health crisis. 

The document concludes with exploring the way forward and steps to turn existing seeds of change into the foundations of a new food system, with four recommendations for a food system transformation that builds resilience at all levels.

    How to use this resource:

    • Facilitate discussion about what COVID-19 is telling us about food system and how food system actors are responding in novel and transformative ways;
    • Explore what the global food system can teach us about our local context and realities; 
    • Advocate for system transformation to a more resilient food system, globally and locally