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Food Supply Chain Impacted by Climate Change : A Glimpse Through a Pandemic

There are many possible foreseen impacts of the food chain due to climate change. This topic was of great interest to me because being part of the hospitality management department  for the past four years has allowed me to become aware of the significant vulnerabilities the food supply chain faces and how climate change is speeding up those processes.

The global pandemic we are facing now, caused by SARS-CoV-2 experience. has brought many a glimpse of what can be our reality in the near future if we as a global community do not intervene and create and effective plan to prevent food scarcity.

In my experience my surrounding delis, supermarkets, and wholesalers where out of stock of many food products that once we took for granted. When they managed to restock at a small percentage there were limitations and for a large family like mine, we were unable to get enough products. This was something that left me in complete shock because not too long before SARS-CoV-2  I wrote a paper on the amount of food that is thrown away in the United States and all of the sudden even food banks were out of food. To see how drastically we went from overflowing amounts of food to not having enough to feed our nations is astounding.

Creating initiatives to slow climate change and reduce the negative impacts of the food supply chain has opened up wiggle room for innovative ideas. An example to improve food production are green roof initiatives. Basically, roofs are converted into areas where trees can be planted improving the efforts to reduce carbon dioxide in the air. These roofs can also be areas were crops can be planted. “Buildings in Denver are now required to have rooftop gardens”

(Eddie Randle) article posted on the 9 news website describes how Denver, a United States state, has passed a law requiring buildings larger than 25,000 sq.ft to convert at least 20 % of their roofs into a “green roof” to allow more trees to be planted. Many property owners did not agree and were concerned with the law. If more states participated in initiatives like this one they would be allowing for food production for their own cities and possibly reduce their amount of outsourced food and create more space to plant more trees to further reduce carbon dioxide.

 “Green roof” initiatives need to be feasible and the government should be more involved in the adaptation of these such initiatives . On April 18, 2019 New York City passed the Climate Mobilization Act, a law “that aims to reduce New York City’s carbon emissions 40% by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050”. Programs that the government needs to fund are like DEP Green Infrastructure Grant Program which gives reimbursement to privately owned buildings up to 100% if they install green roofs on their property.  Another program like the New York Green Roof Tax Abatement is “The NYC Tax Abatement Program which provides a one-time tax abatement of between $5.23 – $15.00 per square foot of green roof up to either $200,000 or the tax liability for the building. The abatement is for buildings in specific priority neighborhoods to be determined by a mayor-appointed agency. To qualify for the tax abatement, the green roof must cover at least 50% of the eligible roofing area, have at least 4″of soil, and be covered with at least 80% live plant material (as opposed to mulch or another covering).This tax abatement currently runs through 2024. Unfortunately, it cannot be combined with the DEP grant discussed above. However, for projects in which the DEP grant does not make sense, the tax credit is an excellent alternative path.”

            As a global community we all must make a contribution but governments need to lead by example and set up structures so more communities can succeed with their contributions. We all need to slow climate change to prevent our food supply chain to be distrusted or be overly priced due to lack of ability to produce enough food and meet the demand for supply.

Works Cited

(KUSA), Author: Eddie Randle. “Buildings in Denver Are Now Required to Have Rooftop Gardens.” KUSA.com, 9 Nov. 2017,

www.9news.com/article/news/local/next/buildings-in-denver-are-now-required-to-have-rooftop-gardens/73-490430805

“Green Roof Legislation in NYC.” Highview Creations, hvcnyc.com/green-roof-legislation-nyc/.

image:

https://www.nycgovparks.org/greening/sustainable-parks/green-roofs

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