The New York Academy of Sciences
Protecting Food Security During the Pandemic
Posted June 01, 2020
The agricultural value chain—all that happens from farm to fork—is complex and its ability to put food on our tables can be affected by the pandemic in countless ways: the mobility of (often foreign) farmhands may be hampered by lockdowns. Equipment needed by agricultural workers (e.g. pesticide masks) may be in short supply. The need to redirect produce (e.g. from school canteens to supermarkets) can create scarcities or overstocks. As markets adjust to those, specific populations may be at greater risk than others: the closing of school lunches, or the shutting of restaurants and small shops, can create food deserts or affect the most vulnerable disproportionately. Experts deconstruct and explain the agricultural value chain, examine the mechanisms in place to assess its processes and dependencies, and identify how populations with special needs can be supported through this period.
In this eBriefing, You’ll Learn:
- Factors that affect the food supply chain and how it affects our collective food security
- Domestic and global angles of the food supply chain, including the current shocks and responses to disruptions
- Identify how populations with special needs can be supported through this period
Maximo Torero, PhD
Food and Agriculture Organization
Maximo Torero is a Peruvian economist, currently chief economist and assistant director general for the Economic and Social Development Department at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Between 2016 and 2018, he served as executive director for Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay at the World Bank. From 2004 to 2016, Torero was division director of the Markets, Trade, and Institutions Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). He also led the Global Research Program on Institutions and Infrastructure for Market Development and was Director for Latin America. He has published widely on the economics of global markets and trade.
John Newton, PhD
American Farm Bureau Association
Dr. John Newton is Director of Market Intelligence for the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFB). His work in the agricultural sector spans over the last decade. From 2004 to 2014 he served as an Agricultural Economist for USDA on issues related to commodity risk management and marketing, and as a 2013 fellow on the United States Senate Agriculture Committee. He next served USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist, helping to prepare the 2014 Farm Bill. Following this, Dr. Newton was on faculty at the University of Illinois then relocated to Washington DC in 2014, where he first served as Chief Economist for National Milk Producers Federation before occupying his current position of Director of Market Intelligence at the AFB.
Anna Herforth, PhD
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Dr. Anna Herforth conducts research on food metrics. Her current research focus is on measuring diet quality globally, affordability of nutritious diets, and food environments. This work stems from over a decade of consulting for international organizations on the topic of linking agriculture, food systems and nutrition, including the World Bank, FAO, WHO, UNICEF, CGIAR, GAIN, USAID and GIZ. She has worked in Africa, South Asia, and Latin America, including with agricultural and indigenous communities. She holds a Ph.D. in International Nutrition from Cornell University, M.S. in Food Policy from Tufts University, and a B.S. in Plant Science from Cornell University. Dr. Herforth co-founded and co-leads the Agriculture-Nutrition Community of Practice (Ag2Nut), a professional community of 7,500 members from over 129 countries. She is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.