"Efficiency is a wonderful thing. It can result in benefits such as lower prices and better uses of resources. But a hyperspecialized system is more vulnerable to disruption; it is not resilient. This is also the case with our food supply."


"When the  came, we discovered that the system was fragile, rigid and therefore vulnerable. Who knew, before the pandemic temporarily shut it down, that a single Smithfield plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., produced 5 percent of all the pork eaten in America? That sort of concentration may offer consumers cheap meat, but it also means one closure can lead to shortages in a wealthy country of 330 million people."

"A critical lesson for farmers from this crisis is to diversify to whatever extent they can, even if that costs some efficiency. This applies to what farms grow and whom they sell to — and to the entire . For a , it’s more complicated to have 10 crops instead of one: She may need a different kind of machinery to pull carrots than to combine the wheat. There is a price to diversity, but it creates a cushion that can be very important in times of crisis."

"Smaller farmers are doing relatively well. According to Civil Eats, farms with existing have seen “a massive increase” in memberships since the start of the pandemic, with some reporting a 50 percent bump in sales. One California farmer said, “It took a for people to support local sustainable agriculture again, and home cooking, and ‘know your farmer.’”

"In Wisconsin, 18 farms banded together to set up a web-based ordering system for CSA customers to order specific products they wanted, rather than filling up a whole box; they’d discussed this before, but the pandemic pushed them to make it reality."

"Why don’t we pay as much attention to the benefits of resilience as to the benefits of efficiency? We tend to get good at what we can measure, and it’s easy to produce numbers that support efficiency, such as crop yields per acre. Resilience cannot be easily measured, though. Its benefits are most evident during the catastrophes that can’t be predicted and the trends that haven’t been foreseen."

@Argus Yet another reason to support unions: frequent and unpredictable work stoppages as an industry wide resilience testing framework.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Mastodon for Tech Folks

This Mastodon instance is for people interested in technology. Discussions aren't limited to technology, because tech folks shouldn't be limited to technology either!