COVID-19’s Impact on Global Food Supply Chains

January 28, 2021

As a civilian, the average American might not think about how warfare abroad affects the people who live there. Kelvin Garvanne has, however, and he made sure to hammer that point home in each of the military exercises he was a part of.

Today, Garvanne works as a public policy researcher for the City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works. He brings his experience in supply chain management to develop solutions for food insecurity and food waste.

But how does one manage a supply chain effectively, especially in the midst of a public health crisis with laws and regulations that are constantly changing? Podcast host Tyler Kern met with Garvanne to find out.

“We must consider how people are sustained, and, in many cases, supply chains are those links from people to their required sustainment items,” Garvanne said.

The pandemic, however, is preventing people from getting the things they need to sustain themselves.
Before the pandemic, supply chains were “efficient for their use,” Garvanne revealed. “In some ways, it was working in such a very specific way that it could not, in any way, be flexible or agile – it couldn’t pivot to do something else.”

So, when people saw that farmers and meat processors were wasting goods, what they were actually seeing was the result of a broken supply chain.

Now, companies are looking for ways to decentralize and localize their supply chains so that they don’t have to rely on one source for their goods and services.

Even consumers can benefit from diversifying their own personal supply chains, Garvanne said. “Knowing where your food comes from and having a relationship with the people who make it, I think, is a value.”

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