Food Security Shockwaves of COVID-19
and its surprising impacts on the North American food system
A bomb representing the COVID-19 virus is dropped having ripple effects across the food system.
Mid-March 2020: COVID-19 strikes, panic buying
Crowded stores with empty shelves are replaced by people taking new precautions: wearing personal protective equipment, maintaining social distancing, offering curbside pickup options.
Late-March: Mass layoffs
Consumers have trouble buying essentials like eggs and flour, while suppliers are stuck with large quantities of ingredients originally packaged for restaurant use.
Early April: Travel bans
Border closures lead to loss of income for Temporary Foreign Workers, and a bottleneck in production on North American farms.
Mid-April: Abbatoirs close
Reduced processing capabilities and restrictions on food exports highlight the importance of local food systems.
May and Beyond: Food insecurity on the rise
Food banks are overwhelmed by new patrons, while policymakers concentrate on food system innovations.
Rippling Across the Waves
Some Challenges and Inspirations that Span the Timeline
Thanks for additional input to:
Tim Benton, Director, Chatham House, UK
Jennifer Clapp, Canada Research Chair, University of Waterloo
Charles Godfray, Director of the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford
Lynda Kuhn, SVP Maple Leaf Foods and Chair, Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security
Lenore Newman, Director and Canada Research Chair, University of the Fraser River Valley
Deb Stark, former Deputy Minister, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Sarah Stern, Director, Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security
Rene Van Acker, Dean, Ontario Agriculture College, University of Guelph
Jeffrey Wichtel, Dean, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph