Coronavirus showed how vulnerable our global food supply chains are, but growing closer to home could also solve our waste problem.

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, empty supermarket shelves prompted people to ask – sometimes for the first time – where their food comes from. In 2021 we will see more food in cities provided by producers who are less vulnerable to the disruptions of long supply chains we experienced during 2020.

The pandemic caused consumers around the world to turn to smaller, local and regional food providers that could secure access to food during lockdowns. In the UK, the Farmers to Feed Us digital platform created new ways for small-scale food producers to provide fresh produce directly to consumers. Sales of food from community-supported agriculture (CSA), where consumers subscribe to receive in-season harvests from groups of UK farmers, increased by 111 percent from February to April, with this trend also being apparent in the US and China. The 105-acre Eatwell Farm in California saw such a big spike in demand that it had to cease new subscriptions – and the waiting list is still growing. These demonstrate how producers can provide consumers with food security and, in return, how consumers have supported their businesses.

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