The years during the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how frail the United States food supply is and how dependent we are on multinational corporations and other countries to feed us. At the beginning of the pandemic, consumers witnessed bare and empty shelves at groceries stores for the first time in their life. It was shocking to many, and as much as anything else, it contributed to the unease that was taking hold around the United States (and the world). Could anything be done to alleviate those kinds of concerns? Is there a new way to look at our food system to prevent the kind of tension that had gripped so many people back in 2020?
According to a 2022 survey, 78 percent of people support domestic agriculture, and they feel it is important to purchase U.S.-sourced food. Similarly, 88 percent of consumers responded that they trusted U.S. farmers in a national survey conducted by American Farm Bureau Federation in June 2020.
Those same survey respondents who endorsed supporting domestic agriculture would be appalled and disappointed upon learning that U.S. fruit and vegetable growers face an unfair competitive disadvantage versus countries such as Mexico, Peru, Argentina, or Chile (who are gaining market share). The huge disparity in farmworker labor wages is one of the biggest factors U.S. produce growers lack a competitive market.