Introduction: Flaws in the Food System – 2020 Was Just an Alarm Bell

The COVID-19 pandemic and the events of 2020 unveiled many systemic and institutional inequities in U.S. society: inequities that were always present but spotlighted due to the major disruptions in our lives, businesses, and culture. We were re-confronted with hard truths of who and what is valued by the larger, corporate agricultural system as smaller, local, and regional food systems faced both existing and new threats to their survival.  

Many of the issues that were at the forefront of our minds in 2020 are matters that RAFI-USA has worked on for years in agriculture. We’ve tackled issues like racial discrimination, food insecurity, corporate consolidation, lack of access to credit, and the need for stronger local food systems. This series, Flaws in the Food System – 2020 Was Just an Alarm Bell, will lift up the stories of farmers, farmers markets, and other stakeholders who have received direct service support or grant funds from RAFI-USA over the years. Their stories not only illustrate how systemic and institutional inequities affect their lives and work but also how RAFI-USA’s programs are making a difference. It is our intention that through our direct service and advocacy efforts the ever-present flaws in the system will become more the exception in agriculture and food systems rather than the norm.

Part 1: Ryan Pressley faced repeated discrimination. His resilience kept him farming

Part 2: The Wilmington Farmers Market at Tidal Creek – A Food Security Lifeline

Part 3: Dave Pflugfelder:  How One Small Farm Found Creative Approaches to COVID-19 Challenges

Part 4: Communities Coalescing to Build Resilience

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