“We won’t go back to normality, because normality was the problem.”

Last week, the report Gender, Covid-19 and Food Systems: Impacts, Community responses and feminist policy demands was released. The report was authored by me and Priscilla Claeys in consultation with the Women’s Working Group of the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism (CSM), and with support from the CSM Secretariat.

On the basis of the report, the Women’s Working Group wrote the summary of the report, and key principles to guide policy, as included in the Global Governance Working Group of the CSM’s report: Voices from the Ground: From COVID-19 to radical transformation of our food systems.

Drawing from interviews and document analysis, our report outlines examples of solidarity practices from women’s movements around the world. Five cross-cutting principles were identified to guide policies. and program in relation to gender, COVID-19 and food systems. Further, four policy themes were abstracted from the analysis and a number of specific policy demands were formulated with a view towards supporting feminist public policies for food systems.

This was not an easy report to write. What was requested of us changed and adapted throughout the process, as things do when you work in dynamic spaces. This is the joy and the struggle of scholar-activism.

The irony perhaps was that we, the two women writing a report about the heavy increase in responsibilities brought about by the COVID-19 crisis, were also heavily overloaded. I certainly struggled to balance increased caring responsibilities with changing work demands and my own emotional response to living through a global pandemic. We are grateful to the women who contributed their valuable time to this process and who continued to encourage this work.

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