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Rep. Pingree: Pandemic Offers Opportunity for Food System Reform

Let's expand the market for local farms and food producers and treat those who grow, sell and serve our food as essential.

As the owner of a small farm, I’m frequently amazed at how little Washington understands the work that goes into putting food on our plates, but coronavirus has made it impossible to ignore the labor of grocery store employees, farmers, processors and food producers. Our nation is collectively acknowledging what’s always been true: Those who grow, sell and serve our food are essential workers, and we should treat them as such.

From the beginning of this crisis, President Trump has shirked his responsibilities, leaving America’s governors to respond to the pandemic without consistent guidance or coordination. However, there are many policies the states simply cannot change without the federal government’s cooperation. One of them is improving our national food supply chain and another is protecting the workers who’ve been deemed essential.