How coronavirus broke the agriculture supply chain : The Indicator from Planet Money Supermarket shelves are empty, and food banks around the country are besieged. So why are farmers dumping, destroying and giving away food?

The Great Potato Giveaway

The Great Potato Giveaway

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Ryan Cranney
Ryan Cranney runs Cranney Farms in Oakley, Idaho. He gave away around 2 million potatoes.
Ryan Cranney

Coronavirus lockdowns have thrown the United States' agriculture supply chain into disarray. Supermarkets and grocery stores can't get enough food to stock their shelves, and food banks have been besieged by people who've been laid off or furloughed.

There's plenty of consumer demand for produce. And there's plenty of supply: the collapse of the restaurant business means that farmers' biggest customers are no longer asking for as much food as they used to. So why aren't the shelves at supermarkets and food banks laden with produce? And why is it that farmers are pouring away milk, crushing eggs, burying fruit and vegetables and giving away potatoes?

Turns out, it's all about packaging.

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