Connecting the dots: The trade war with China and feeding America’s poor

I was struck last week by an
article in the Wall Street Journal
with this intriguing title:
“Food Banks Reap Unexpected Bounty From Trade Disputes.”

I thought this was an especially poignant example of food
politics from a food systems perspective—looking at the big
picture context of what we eat, from production to consumption to

Image result for food systems

current trade war with China
is having a series of effects:

  • China has
    retaliated by putting import tariffs
    on US food products,
    reducing their sales in that country.
  • Because we greatly overproduce food, and depend on exports to
    sell it, we now have a glut of products that can’t be
    sold—soybeans mainly, but also pork, apples, cheese, figs, peanut
    butter, orange juice, and others.
  • The Trump Administration says it will help farmers hurt by the
    trade dispute by buying their products to the tune of $1.2 billion
    so far.
  • Food banks have no idea how they can handle all of what will be
    dumped on them—950 million pounds on top of the 700 million
    pounds they usually get—because they do not have the money to
    process and store the donations (one organization says this costs
    23 cents per pound of food).
  • The food bank trade association, Feeding America, is calling
    for $200 to $300 million to pay for distributing the excess burden
    of food donations.

None of this makes sense to me.

Wouldn’t it be a whole lot better to

  • Prevent or end this trade dispute?
  • Ensure that food banks are unnecessary?

Source: FS – All – Food and Nutrition Blogs
Connecting the dots: The trade war with China and feeding America’s poor