If the early days of grocery shopping during coronavirus are remembered for empty shelves and flour hoarding, our present-day food system might be characterized by lines. Lines are a symbol of the burdens of the pandemic, as more people wind down blocks waiting for food aid. They’re also a sign of our adaptation, with socially distanced queues of people waiting to enter stores, and separate check-outs for delivery workers buying groceries on behalf of somebody else.
How we get our groceries is a visible stand-in for a food system in flux. As with so many things, we’re confronting pre-existing problems that have only been exacerbated by coronavirus, from food accessibility and affordability, to supporting local food suppliers, to improving conditions for the food workforce.