In this week’s updates of items related to food and Coronavirus, let’s start with the good news (yes, there is some).
I. Free meals for New Yorkers
The New York City Department of Education has announced that it will make three free meals available every day for any New Yorker, at more than 400 locations.
- No one will be turned away at any time
- All adults and children can pick up three meals at one time
- Vegetarian and halal options available at all sites
- No registration or ID required
What, you might wonder, is in these meals?
This is no time to criticize, and I won’t.
This is a monumental undertaking and city officials deserve much praise for making what look like typical school meals available to everyone.
Much praise also to the school food service and other personnel who are preparing these meals.
II. Recognition that the lowest-paid workers are essential
The economy and society run on the work of farmworkers, many of them immigrants and undocumented, health care employees, restaurant delivery and food service personnel, and so many others involved in our food system. The indispensible value of their work has suddenly become visible. That’s a good first step, but not enough, of course.
III. An opportunity to document history
A crisis of this magnitude calls for analysis. It’s hard to do that when you are right in the middle of it, but the Association of Public Historians of New York State has issued a call for documentation and offers suggestions about what to write and collect right now. We can all do this and lay the groundwork for future historical analysis. I’m interested in the food and food politics aspects that I’ve been posting about on this site. All suggestions welcome.
IV. A return to home gardening and cooking
Salon’s recent article about renewed interest in gardening, canning, and baking focuses attention on how difficult it has become to get seeds and find flour, yeast, and eggs in supermarkets. My local CSA baker (Wide Awake in Ithaca) is offering sour dough starter, flour, recipes, and instructions along with weekly loaves. It’s still too cold to plant anything up here in the Finger Lakes, but the robins are back, the forsythia is in bloom, and it will soon be time to start the peas.