Undersecretary Replaces Ross for Discussion About COVID-19 Impacts on Food Supply Chain

Updated 11:50 a.m. May 8: Jenny Lester Moffitt, undersecretary at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, is taking the place of panelist Karen Ross, secretary of the department. Ross had to cancel her participation due to a scheduling conflict that arose.  

Editor’s note: At the conclusion of the program, panelists will be available to meet with members of the media in a separate Zoom call. To participate, email jaeasley@ucdavis.edu in advance.

Why is milk being dumped and produce left to rot in fields while grocery store shelves go empty during the COVID-19 pandemic? Why are grocery stores running out of meat, and eggs becoming so expensive?

The head of California’s Department of Food and Agriculture, researchers from the University of California, Davis, and food purveyors will tackle these and other questions in an online panel discussion at 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 12.

UC Davis invites the public to attend “Food Shortages in a Pandemic” over the web through Zoom conferencing. To do so, register online at least 48 hours in advance.

The 90-minute event, which will include a question-and-answer period with the Zoom audience, will feature:

  • Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture since 2011
  • Dan Sumner, director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center, professor of agricultural and resource economics at UC Davis, and former assistant secretary for economics at the U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Bu Nygrens, co-owner and director of purchasing at Veritable Vegetable of San Francisco, which distributes organic produce from more than 200 small and mid-size growers to restaurants, markets and co-ops across five states
  • Chelsea Minor, corporate director of public affairs for Raley’s Supermarkets of West Sacramento, a regional grocery chain in Northern California and Nevada

Moderating the event will be Catherine Brinkley, who, as an assistant professor in the Department of Human Ecology at UC Davis, studies the architecture of food supply networks. 

The panel will discuss how the food supply chain works, why the COVID-19 pandemic has been so disruptive, how distributors and supply chains are adapting to serve restaurants and grocery stores, and whether changes can or should be made to make food systems more resilient.

The lecture is the third in the Savor series, which explores some of the biggest food and beverage topics being studied today at UC Davis — a world leader in the study of agriculture. The series is presented by the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science and the UC Davis Library.

Media Resources

Jessica Nusbaum, UC Davis Library, 530-752-4145, jlnusbaum@ucdavis.edu

Julia Ann Easley, UC Davis News and Media Relations, 530-752-8248, jaeasley@ucdavis.edu

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