When we think of those who are “on the front lines” in the COVID-19 crisis, most of us probably think of healthcare workers. But what about farmers? In a business where they have been deemed essential but cannot work from home, some workers are anxious about spreading the virus between themselves and their families.
And, of course, there are the sheer economics of the space farmer’s occupy in our system:
Sadly, this crisis has exposed a major shortcoming farmers share with many small businesses: We are caught between the economics of business and the need to provide adequate benefits for our workers. Individually, we may offer some partial programs, but as an industry we lack a comprehensive plan and are continually challenged by the economics of cheap food. Faced with rising labor costs, many farmers will simply stop growing food….
…Farmers and farm workers are on a different front line in this battle. We grow food that feeds a nation who must still eat. Empty grocery shelves and new methods of feeding ourselves — by delivery services, take-out meals and home cooking — are transforming the food chain within which farmers have always played a crucial link.
We are re-imagining the role of food during this crisis. Those of us who work the land and grow food are no longer invisible. We all matter and have a stake in the safety of the health of a public. Food and food workers — from farmers to farm workers to restaurant workers and those who labor in food service businesses and grocery outlets — are part of this battle against this virus.
Farming businesses are also weary of becoming a scapegoat for disease transmission—although there is currently no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 is foodborne. You can read the whole article here:https://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/david-mas-masumoto/article241731156.html.