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Ensuring Food Security in the Era of COVID-19

Experts say the pandemic will unleash a food security crisis not seen since the Great Recession. As we learned during the 2008-09 Great Recession, governments – with the support of financial institutions, the United Nations, and others – can mitigate the risk of global food shortages and high prices. ROME – COVID-19 has been slowly creeping into our communities. As we seek to ensure our families’ health and safety, to many people, food has never seemed so important, both as a source of nutrition and, for many, of comfort. The question is whether, as economic disruption continues, we can stave off a pandemic-related food crisis. What and how we eat affects our health and wellbeing. We depend

Protecting Farmworkers from Coronavirus and Securing the Food Supply

With millions of workers staying at home to aid public health efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, the security of America’s food supply and its supply chains has rarely been more important. At this moment, to the extent that there is a challenge in ensuring America’s grocery stores have enough healthy food on the shelves, it comes not from insufficient natural bounty but instead from the extraordinary burdens that COVID-19 has placed on the many low-wage workers who play such central roles in the functioning of food supply chains. Indeed, during these trying times, farmworkers’ contributions in particular are more critical than ever. They cannot shelter at home to remain safe from COVID-

Trump Deems Farmworkers 'Essential' But Not Safety Rules for Them. That Could Threaten the F

Millions of laborers facing coronavirus risk in fields and packinghouses lack workplace protections. The Trump administration has deemed the millions of people who are cutting lettuce, picking cherries, packing peaches and otherwise getting food from farm to table to be “essential workers” but is doing little to keep them healthy during the pandemic. Working closely together, workers cover their faces while packaging produce in South Florida. | M. Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO The lack of federal action has left state and industry leaders scrambling to shield their farmworkers from the coronavirus. As harvest season ramps up, farmers across several major produce states have installed more hand-was

As Food Supply Chain Breaks Down, Farm-To-Door CSAs Take Off

Images of some American farmers dumping milk, plowing under crops and tossing perishables amid sagging demand and falling prices during the deadly coronavirus pandemic has made for dramatic TV. But it's not the whole story. "We had a reporter call here and say, 'We want to see some produce rotting in the field and milk going down the drains,' " said Judith Redmond, a longtime farmer in California's Capay Valley, northwest of Sacramento. "And I said, 'Well, actually, that's not what's happening in the Capay Valley.' " Redmond, a founding partner of the 450-acre, organic Full Belly Farm, is busier than ever trying to ramp up production to meet soaring demand. From California to Maine, the move

What the Arkansas Meat Plant Workers I Met Want You to Know

Many of the workers across the country are working elbow to elbow six days a week, eight hours a day. For them, social distancing in the workplace is but a dream. I've spent the past few months interviewing essential workers in the southern United States, primarily in Arkansas, who are instrumental to feeding this country. They hail from Mexico, El Salvador, Myanmar, the Marshall Islands and beyond. Workers I spoke with, many undocumented, told me of fleeing the depredations of climate change, genocide and war to come to the US, where they pick tomatoes, onions, lettuce and kill the hogs and chickens that will later grace Americans' tables. They spend their days pulling weeds from among rows

Republican-Led States Signal They Could Strip Workers’ Unemployment Benefits if They Don’t Return to

The message to workers is ‘endanger your life or starve,’ critics say (“These states are offering people the choice to endanger your life or starve,” said Damon A. Silvers, the director of policy and special counsel for the AFL-CIO. Iowa, Oklahoma and other states reopening soon amid the coronavirus outbreak are issuing early warnings to their worried workers: Return to your jobs or risk losing unemployment benefits. The threats have been loudest among Republican leaders in recent days, reflecting their anxious attempts to jump-start local economic recovery roughly two months after most businesses shut their doors. In Iowa, for example, state officials even have posted a public call for comp

Safety First: Working People's Plan for Reopening the Economy the Right Way

Every day, health care workers, transit workers, meatpacking workers, first responders, grocery workers, utility workers, letter carriers, construction workers, doormen, retail workers, child protective service workers, factory workers, solid waste workers, corrections officers, janitors and other workers are being exposed to the coronavirus in U.S. workplaces. Hundreds of thousands of workers have been infected and thousands have died. The failure of federal and state governments to meet the following urgent needs before lifting or relaxing preventive measures that are currently reducing the number of cases and deaths due to COVID-19 will result in more working people falling sick and dying

This Is How President Trump Can Quickly – and Safely – Reopen the Economy

It’s the biggest debate in America today. President Donald Trump and some Southern governors want to reopen the economy as soon as possible. Many others want to proceed more cautiously, preferring people stay home until there’s more certainty around the containment of COVID-19. But this debate – around “reopening the economy” or “staying home” – is misguided. It’s far too simplistic. Trump doesn’t need to decide when to reopen America. He has better options he can pursue immediately. We all feel the devastating impacts of a deadly, infectious disease that has taken tens of thousands of lives, and wiped away 26 million jobs in only four weeks. We’re in the throngs of a pandemic and a depressi

What Does a Green Rebound Look Like?

Policymakers Are Faced with a Once In a Lifetime Opportunity After a very strong year for global green bond issuance in 2019, another record year in 2020 looked inevitable—driven by robust and growing demand for sustainable fixed income investments, a favorable credit environment and regulatory tailwind. However, green bonds are not immune to the unexpected shock the coronavirus has had on global markets. Issuance dropped sharply in March versus the prior year, following strong issuance in January and February. Performance of green bonds was in line with the broader fixed income market, after adjusting for sector and duration exposure. That has provided validation to one of the most appeali

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