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It was another rough week for small scale farmers, consumers, and transporters. Friends in Ireland share stories of increasing food and other supply shortages. With Brexit checks official since January 1, the situation has worsened. The Irish are ordering from to obtain goods and avoid increased taxes. Truckers are avoiding ports, leaving them nearly empty.

Instead, they wait in long lines at checkpoints looking for the origin of labeling and other tax purpose labeling. One trucker reported waiting five hours for processors to decide if milk chocolate chip cookies are considered dairy. He missed the ferry, which meant a delay in goods reaching Dublin. This delay means he won’t continue from Ireland with seafood for French supermarkets and restaurants. Within Ireland, to ensure deliveries occur, seafood distributors, at additional cost, are hiring extra help to transport food.

Spreading across the country, India’s farmers and supporters, waving flags and shouting “We will not surrender”, continue taking to the streets. Peaceful protestors sitting alongside the road are dying from the cold. Farmers are committing suicide. Disruption of ration shops worsens conditions for women struggling to put food on their table. Schools, which used to provide food for children, are closed due to COVID.

In America, the Teamsters union in New York, comprised of warehouse workers and drivers who move 300,000 pounds of produce daily, protested for increased wages. Supermarkets and restaurants depend on them. During COVID, to keep food supplied to the Bronx, they have worked beyond their capacity. The workers won an incremental raise and other benefits to support their families.

The world over, several generations are removed from understanding how food gets to their table. They’ve never visited a farm or ranch. They have no idea of what personal costs food producers and transporters endure to ensure the world eats.

The stories above matter not because they are stories about laws, taxes, and other monetary concerns. They matter because they represent efforts for transformational change. These are protests and sacrifices endured for better lives based on equity, trust, and compassion for each other in our communities and across our countries.

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