The global pandemic has exacerbated an already-simmering crisis of food insecurity, itself rooted in growing populations pushed outside of formal labor markets.  This exclusion, often implemented along racial lines, leads to precarity and a struggle for survival, which has only grown more bleak with the pressures of COVID-19.  The economy simply cannot produce enough jobs, and even those existing jobs deemed “essential work” during the pandemic are often precisely low-waged AND dangerous.  In response, a constellation of existing food distribution hubs, mutual aid projects, and food sovereignty efforts have had to rapidly adapt to the pandemic and the crisis.  Their work is simultaneously manual and critical, as many hands collaborate to pack and deliver relief boxes, while thinking together about the sources of food insecurity and who is suffering from it.

We share stories today from three of these projects:  a food distribution & meal delivery service in Atlanta, Georgia, a free kitchen, or comedor, in Tijuana, Mexico and a food pantry in Bloomington, Indiana. All three projects are informed by an understanding of the importance of sharing food together in defining a better way of life. All three existed in some form before COVID, and each underwent major changes as they grappled with the challenge of  addressing hunger without spreading the virus. For the “Food For Life” project in Atlanta, it meant scaling up and inviting hundreds of new volunteers to participate and experiment.  For the Contra Viento y Marea Comedor in Tijuana it meant reducing the number of days serving to make more time for staff to clean and stay protected themselves.  For Bloomington’s Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, it meant scaling back on some of the wide range of gardening and nutrition programs they normally run to address the root causes of hunger and inequality, while still serving hundreds of people a week.

To learn more about each of these projects, check out:

Food For Life

Contra Viento y Marea Comedor

Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard

For more background on mutual aid in Tijuana between the twin crises of climate change and COVID-19, check out this article.