Roger Thurow, Council senior fellow for the Global Food and Agriculture Program, takes a minute to discuss how COVID-19 has affected food security and brought attention to hunger amid the abundance in the United States.
How has COVID-19 affected food security?
What we’re seeing, very quickly, is how this health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, how quickly that health crisis has become a food crisis. Around the world! But that it’s also become a food crisis here in the United States as well, I think, is shocking to a lot of people.
Why is hunger an ignored issue in the United States?
Because frankly we choose to ignore it. It’s an affront to us! We have this vision of ourselves that there’s this eternal and everlasting abundance, “We’re the world’s breadbasket, we feed the world.” And now see, “Wait a minute, we can’t even feed ourselves!” and adequately provide nutrition for all the residents of the United States, which is what’s underlying these long lines that we’re seeing at the food banks and the food pantries. But the truth of it is those lines were always there.
What gives you hope?
What gives me hope is that now we see this, so that we have the recognition of this, and particularity say hunger in America that it won’t be ignored and shunted to the side. This need is always there. Now we realize that, we see it even more clearly, we’ve always should’ve seen it, but hopefully this really brings it to the fore.