COVID-19 foodwork, race, gender, class and food justice: an intersectional feminist analysis

Elaine Swan (Department of Business Management and Economics, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 25 November 2020

Issue publication date: 15 December 2020

1335

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider the implications of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic for future research on intersection feminist studies of foodwork.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper offers a brief summary of feminist domestic foodwork research and COVID-19 food-related media commentary, focusing on race, gender and class.

Findings

This paper shows how domestic foodwork during pandemic lockdowns and the wider contexts reproduced racial, classed and gendered inequalities and hierarchies.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is limited by the recency of the pandemic and lack of empirical studies but still offers recommendations for a post-pandemic intersectional feminist agenda for studies and policy interventions relation to domestic foodwork.

Originality/value

The paper raises the importance of foodwork for feminist organisational studies, and how it consolidated and created racialised, gendered and classed inequalities during the pandemic, offering insights for future research and policy interventions around food and labour.

Keywords

Citation

Swan, E. (2020), "COVID-19 foodwork, race, gender, class and food justice: an intersectional feminist analysis", Gender in Management, Vol. 35 No. 7/8, pp. 693-703. https://doi.org/10.1108/GM-08-2020-0257

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited


Historically, “women have been doing the majority of the work of feeding families and feeding other people,” Brenton said. And that work is now more difficult, and sometimes more dangerous, than ever (North, 2020).

This quotation from a blog post about women’s work stresses the significance and risk of women’s foodwork in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic (North, 2020). From racist memes about Chinese eating habits, to middle class social media images of sourdough baking, youtube cook-alongs and zoom dinner parties, through to media coverage of food bank volunteers, food for nurses and the so-called panic food buying and stockpilers and new reports about the so-called resilience of the global food system, the media underlines how the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is “a study in food” (GaStronomica, 2020b). And as Bridget Burns and Emilia Reye insist, the pandemic is an “embodied crisis” and one in which feminised labour across the world holds up the work of health, care, food and education sectors (Burns, 2020).

In this paper, I introduce the feminist concept of domestic foodwork to the discussions of the COVID-19 pandemic to draw out its racialised, gendered and classed hierarchies and inequalities. As I have written elsewhere, women’s foodwork has been neglected by organisation studies, even with emerging interest in food studies in recent conferences and special issues (Swan, forthcoming). It is clear that the global pandemic reveals and accentuates existing social and health inequalities related to food access and food production and creates new food-related vulnerabilities and moralities now and in the future (Barker and Russell, 2020; Fernando, 2020; Maye, 2020; Valley et al., 2020). The pandemic has deeply disturbed:

[…] local and global systems of food production, consumption, and distribution, and is destroying the livelihoods of millions who produce, grow, harvest, cook, serve, and distribute foods, from farmworkers to street vendors to restaurateurs in the Global South and North (Gastronomica, 2020a).

In their summary of the US context of the pandemic, Will Valley et al. (2020) outline racial and economic injustices related to the food system, from dangers to migrant and undocumented farmworkers; unsafe labour standards in meat packing; high-risk working conditions and low pay of food retail workers; and the increased use of emergency food systems. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the COVID-19 pandemic will worsen global food insecurity for an extra 820 million people. Indeed, famines and malnutrition might kill more people in the Global South than the Coronavirus disease in the longer term (Fernando, 2020).

As lockdown and the pandemic took hold worldwide, commentary on food production and consumption has surged, but to date, most of it erases women’s food labours. Indeed, the significance of gender, race and class rarely features in UK accounts. As of July 2020, in over 100 blogposts, reports and rapid responses by academics, food organisations and the media, explicit discussions on the gendered, racialised and classed relations of foodwork remain in single figures. Just as an instance, an important and impressive website resource at www.ccri.ac.uk/covid19food/which collates academic and activist resources on food, but does not feature any accounts of women or race. The website helpfully highlights problems for the hospitality sector, the surge in online food retailing, food growing, changing eating habits and the escalation in demand for food banks but without any recourse to questions about race, gender or class.

In contrast, intersectional feminists insist on the significance of gender, class and race inequalities and labour during the pandemic broadly, and the specific conditions of quarantine, lockdown, remote working, school closures and social distancing. Women globally are performing the bulk of paid and unpaid socially reproductive labour – critical health, community and social care, taking up more burdens and multiple tasks, including looking after the sick, elderly and children (McLaren et al., 2020; North, 2020; Thompson, 2020). Indeed, although women, and especially women of colour, dominate health and social care, the bulk of health care is unpaid performed by women in the home (Matthewman and Huppatz, 2020, p. 5). As schools and childcare centres closed in various countries, working mothers have been trying to balance their paid work with intensified, arduous and sometime hazardous, caring responsibilities for children, sick family members and elderly relatives (North, 2020; Power, 2020). Women are taking on new responsibilities, labours and roles without any alleviation of their existing responsibilities, or provision of extra benefits or concerns for their well-being and all of these additional burdens established through gendered, raced and classed power relations of governing during the pandemic (McLaren et al., 2020).

Feminists argued that it became visible that women, especially women of colour, in paid and domestic care work and key worker roles were keeping the system running (Burns, 2020; McLaren et al., 2020; Thompson, 2020). They underlined that this labour reflected the overrepresentation of women, including women of colour and migrant women, in jobs with a “high exposure” risk for COVID-19 (Thompson, 2020). The Women’s Budget group who have led feminist commentary on certain aspects of the pandemic in the UK provide a useful summary of key statistics:

Care work […] has historically been seen as an extension of “women’s work”. It has been undervalued, underpaid and increasingly takes the form of precarious working arrangements like zero-hours contracts as a result of cuts since 2010 and before. 24% of care workers are on zero-hours contracts and home carers are not paid for their journeys between houses. Migrant workers are also over-represented in care work with 1 in 5 carers being born outside the UK, 1 in 7 from outside the EU (https://wbg.org.uk/blog/it-is-women-especially-low-paid-bame-migrant-women-putting-their-lives-on-the-line-to-deliver-vital-care/).

Such new media visibility on unpaid and paid care, “the COVID-19 crisis is becoming firmly established as above all a crisis of care” (Chatzidakis et al., 2020, italics in original).

Some feminist commentary reference food labours, although often en passant. To start to address this gap, I introduce aspects of unpaid foodwork during the pandemic in the UK. Because of word count, I cannot discuss other types of foodwork which have been vital: paid foodwork in the home and paid and unpaid foodwork in the public sphere and the community. Although some COVID food scholarship refer to gender and race, not all are feminist or intersectional. As Alice Hovorka (2013) writes, a feminist framework understands gender and food as power-laden realms that reproduce difference and inequality between men and women. An intersectional feminist perspective insists on the interrelations between gender, race, class, religion and sexuality in relation to food, food practices and food systems and how these are structured by relations of power (Parker, 2020; Parker et al., 2019; Williams-Forson and Wilkerson, 2011; Ternikar, 2019).

COVID-19 foodwork

Feminists have coined terms such as “domestic labour”, “emotional labour”, “wife work” and “kin work”, to expand our understanding of what constitutes women’s work, and of relevance to this article, foodwork and feeding work. What women do within the home and community, even when unpaid, is still “work”: a form of productive activity like men’s waged labour (Duffy, 2007). Feminists insist this work is economically, socially and culturally under-valued – even derided – but absolutely indispensable to capitalism and the maintenance of everyday life (Swan, forthcoming; Perrier and Swan, 2019). At the same time, the social organisation of this work is seen to create women’s inequality, subordination and exploitation (Duffy, 2007; Laslett and Brenner, 1989).

What’s missing in some feminist analysis, as critical race scholars stress, is the significance of racialised divisions and inequalities in domestic work and reproductive labour. The domestic sphere has been, and still is, a site of paid labour for women of colour, immigrant and poor women (Duffy, 2007; Holvino, 2010; Glenn, 1992). Feminists of colour insist that middle-class white women professional careers and community work have been enabled because of women of colour’s and migrant’s paid domestic labour, and the transference of middle-class women’s daily maintenance and care work to these women (Duffy, 2007; Holvino, 2010).

It is these insights into the complexities of social reproductive labour that I bring to my introductory discussion of domestic foodwork. The pandemic, and its governing through lockdowns, reinforced and intensified women’s reproductive loads (McLaren et al., 2020). Research shows that the lockdown placed a massive burden on working mothers, with a majority of women surveyed saying they did more cooking, cleaning, laundry, childcare and home schooling than their male partners (Cox, 2020). As a result, they were forced to “de-prioritize paid work more frequently than their male counterparts” (Cox, 2020). Hussain and Hussein (2020) point out that for migrant ethnic minority women with ageing parents abroad, there is an additional “burden of transnational care”.

Of course, domestic inequalities and burdens vary by class, race and migrant status: those who have better paid jobs have the space, housing and resources to support working and schooling from home. Many women working in food retail, nursing, transport, social and eldercare and other aspects of the food sector, over-represented by women of colour and migrant workers, could not work from home, and also did extra unpaid labour as volunteers. Many of these women suffer from work poverty and low incomes because of working informally, part-time work and zero contracts and, during the pandemic, worked in conditions hazardous to their health and lives (McLaren et al., 2020).

Unpaid domestic foodwork became an additional load for many women during lockdown. North American feminist food justice academics, Pat Allen and Carolyn Sachs, stress that relations to food underpin women’s experiences of work, life and inequality. Foodwork is understood as gendered in that women are required to take responsibility for feeding work in the family. In spite of supposed shifts in equality, and men’s interest in cooking, women continue to do disproportionate amount of foodwork (Beagan et al., 2008; Koch, 2019). Women are so responsible for “the mental and manual labor of food provision – the most basic labor of care” such that it “chains” them to food (Allen and Sachs, 2007, p. 1). And as feminists stress, women have complex, embodied, material, economic and symbolic relationships to food (van Esterik, 1999; Allen and Sachs, 2007).

The term foodwork refers to the “physical, cognitive, interactional, and institutional labor in the processes of feeding individuals, families, and groups” in the food system (Sobal, 2017, p. 127). The concept of domestic foodwork not only covers the planning, purchasing, preparation and cleaning up but also the health, emotional, cultural and domestic management of eating, and in households, often with a focus on children and their socialisation into manners, and even gendered behaviours (Meah, 2014; DeVault, 1991). Although sometimes pleasurable, and an important element in cultural reproduction, domestic foodwork is often exploitative, devalued and oppressive (DeVault, 1991; Meah, 2014).

Studies of foodwork are inspired by Marjorie Devault’s (1991) foundational study of mothers’ food labour – sometimes called maternal foodwork – in US heterosexual family households. One of the most significant findings of her research is the complex, time-intensive, relentless nature of the labour of feeding families, work that is often hidden, and yet embodied, emotional, cognitive and physical (Brenton, 2017; DeVault, 1991). It is worth giving an example of maternal foodwork to show its multi-facetedness even before the difficulties of the COVID-19 context. Take food shopping for a family: this entails budgeting, meal planning, travelling to and from the shops, comparing prices, substituting ingredient, unpacking and sorting even before cooking begins. Shopping requires and intimate family knowledge of families’ food preferences, allergies, intolerances, special diets, health and dietary needs and desires, for a range of people from babies, toddlers, teenagers, older people and people who are sick (McCabe and de Waal Malefyt, 2015).

Shopping for food became highly problematic during lockdown for people on low incomes, with disabilities, shielding or with very little time because of zero contract work. The middle classes found it much easier because of their various safety nets of income, savings, digital access and domestic space, and who could comfortably pay for home deliveries for food ordered online.

What is clear is that women’s unpaid domestic foodwork has intensified in the COVID context with women feeling the brunt of extra and new responsibilities, including increased demands on cooking and feeding family members. Anna North (2020) argues “while it’s too early for data on how families are feeding themselves during the pandemic, it’s likely that the increased demands of cooking every day will fall disproportionately on women as well. She adds that “the pandemic is changing how families shop and eat” and school closures and sickness in the family will increase women’s cooking load and bring additional complications”.

The demands of foodwork during the pandemic fell especially hard on low-income women, especially lone parents and racially minoritised women and asylum seekers. Foodwork practices and meanings are unevenly distributed by race and class, and the pandemic magnifies difficulties with food that many people were struggling with pre-COVID including affordability and access to food. The feminisation and racialisation of austerity cemented the pernicious negative impacts of COVID-19 on low-income women. Scholars have detailed the failings of Britain’s welfare state pre-pandemic to prevent hunger and ensure good nutrition amongst economically vulnerable people which intensified under lockdown and since (Barker and Russell, 2020; Lambie-Mumford, 2019; Woods, interviewed Howell, 2020).

Repeated reports stress that racial inequalities of COVID-19 are extensive. Leading UK Black food activist Dee Woods argues that in cities, pre-COVID poverty, disability, food insecurity, health inequality and poor housing disproportionately affected women of colour, all of which were exacerbated during lockdown and the ensuing pandemic (Wood interviewed Howell, 2020).

Because of financial uncertainty, school closures and job losses, food insecurity, food bank use exploded. Research suggests that during lockdown in the UK, almost a fifth of homes with children went hungry and food insecurity quadrupled to 16% of the population (Loopstra, 2020). The Food Standards Agency (2020) suggested that one in 10 people in the UK were forced to use food banks during lockdown. Food insecurity was caused largely by a short-term shortage of basic foods in the shops, an inability to access shops because of self-isolation, sudden school closures, furloughing, inadequate benefits and financial insecurity (Loopstra, 2020; O’Connell and Brannen, 2020).

The upshot is that many women of colour, migrant women and white working-class women suffered from food poverty and food hunger during the pandemic in the UK. In addition, the economy’s dependence on precarious employment in sectors which shut down during lockdown created a new group of precariat experiencing food insecurity, including women working as key workers on zero hours contracts, disproportionately affecting women of colour (Barker and Russell, 2020). Not only are these women poorly paid but they lack financial safety nets and are more likely to be made redundant as a result of the pandemic. In a blogpost on food poverty, O’Connell and Brannen (2020) deconstruct the slogan of solidarity – “We’re all in this together” – to highlight that millions of households with children experienced coronavirus lockdowns dogged by food insecurity. Critically they stress that the longer term health and opportunities for these children are dire.

Pre-COVID, austerity politics created food and foodwork inequalities with impoverished mothers on low wages and benefits finding it hard to feed their families. Many foodwork practices are focused on health, and under these conditions, women compromise their own nutritional and eating needs (Koch, 2019; O’Connell et al., 2019).

Women experiencing poverty have to do extra labours to provision for their families, and/or children. They develop complex, detailed and extensive knowledge about budgets, brands, family preferences, special offers on food, minimising waste, shopping around and reducing transport costs (Beagan et al., 2008; Martin, 2018; O’Connell et al., 2019). In these ways, women’s knowledge often prevent hunger (van Esterik, 1999). In their study in the UK, pre-COVID, O’Connell et al. (2019) outline how mothers go to food banks, shop around in different supermarkets and locations to find better value food, an expensive and time-consuming approach. They cannot afford to bulk buy and live hand to mouth, cooking from basic ingredients and bulking out meals with cheap carbohydrate foods. They seek to protect their children by cutting back on their own food intake. As O’Connell explains in a recent webinar, getting hold of food, thinking about what to feed everyone, shopping around, buying what children will eat are all very difficult especially when you are short of money and time. Brenda Parker writes how austerity amplifies and intensifies the exhaustion what she calls the “energy-sucking” work of travelling to food banks, churches and endless waiting at agencies and clinics (Parker, 2017, cited in Kern, 2020, p. 50). Again this kind of energy-sucking labour will have amplified under lockdowns, social distancing and the pandemic.

But there are other dimensions to domestic foodwork. It is being transformed by intensified mothering ideologies around “eating right”: feeding children healthy, and now also eco-friendly food – what Barbara Parker (2020) calls eco-nutrionism – making women responsible for the planet’s health. These foodwork practices of doing good and eating right create new types of labour and inequalities, reinforcing heteronormative, gender, race and class hierarchies, all of which have deepened during the pandemic (Brenton, 2017; Parker, 2020; Perrier and Swan, 2019). Mothers are expected to keep their children and the eco-systems healthy and safe, and to produce healthy citizens, incited to buy healthy, organic and local foods, even though what these mean and the ethics of how they are produced are not so straightforward (Koch, 2019; Martin, 2018).

The stress, stigmatisation and burden of hegemonic food healthism and eco-nutritionism on women of colour and women on low budgets cannot be underestimated (Beagan et al., 2008; Koch, 2019; Jones, 2019; Parker, 2020). Foodworkers – processors, retailers, chefs, waitresses – themselves, often women of colour, pre-COVID often could not afford to buy fresh locally sourced food, a position made worse by the pandemic (Koch, 2019). Austerity had already forced many people, especially lone mothers, refugees and asylum seekers and other minoritised groups into seeking food aid, often from food banks, with the shame they bring, together with poor nutritional, environmentally sustainable and cultural food options. And as Power et al. (2020) have underlined, social distancing practices and anxieties in food banks may augment feelings of stigmatisation.

What you cook and eat dominates ideal of good mothering and wider cultural capital. DeVault’s original scholarship showed that domestic foodwork was performative, enabling hegemonic ideals of femininity and good mothering to be enacted. Making food choices and eating or resisting certain foods reproduce gendered, racialised and classed identities, subjectivities and hierarchies around “ethical eating” (Cairns and Johnston, 2015; Parker, 2020; Parker et al., 2019; Williams-Forson and Wilkerson, 2011; Jones, 2019). Discourses about healthism and eco-nutritionism reproduce “harmful, racialised ideas about who can know how to eat the right foods, who is healthy, controlled and civilized”, all of which intensified during the pandemic, consolidating the figure of the “unhealthy Other”, and hierarchies of racialised and classed privilege (Parker, 2020, p. 46; Flowers and Swan, 2012). Not having certain foods not only has brutal effects on women and children’s health and well-being but also affects their social and cultural inclusion (O’Connell and Brannen, 2020). Food insecurity then is about disempowerment as well as the lack of food on the table (Mengesha, 2016, p. 26; Van Esterik, 1999).

Food is multifaceted and not just about health and nutrition but also cultural and emotional well-being and women’s identity and sense of self (Stelfox and Newbold, 2019; Van Esterik, 1999; Ternikar, 2019). Hence, foodwork is central to cultural reproduction, and an expression of feminine solidarity, resistance and identity, a means through which women find meaning and power. In a groundbreaking study, Meredith Abarca (2006) explains how Mexican women use the kitchen and food to celebrate their skill, identity and resourcefulness and build relations and survival politics with other women. Cooking food “creates a locus for work, creativity and pleasure that transcend realms of human reproduction as shaped by the market, patriarchy and alienating labour” (Lewis, 2016, p. 6). Foodwork can enable highly valued cultural practices such as the preservation of traditions and collective ethnic identities, which furnish women with “culinary capital”, and spaces for racially minoritised women to build collective anti-racism (D’Sylva and Beagan, 2011; Nettles-Barcelón et al., 2015). But under COVID and austerity conditions, these skills and pleasures are replaced by feeling hungry, trying to make do and feelings of shame and guilt, and deprived of the power and resources to influence key aspects of their families’ lives (Van Esterik, 1999).

Conclusion

My aim in this article is to outline the emerging gendered, racialised and classed relations, hierarchies and politics of unpaid domestic foodwork during COVID-19 through an anti-racist feminist lens. It is clear that many women in the UK have been forced to shoulder extra unpaid care labour, their burdens in unpaid domestic labour, community work and paid frontline work escalating. Like women around the world, these labours have been imposed without consideration or the alleviation of their other responsibilities (McLaren et al., 2020).

My focus has been on unpaid domestic foodwork, a topic I argued which has been under-researched by food academics and commentators. Feminists repeat the historic call for a revaluing and recognition of such work as labour and argue that women’s preparedness to pitch in should not be taken for granted (Elliot, cited in North, 2020). As I sketched out, foodwork underpins ideals about good mothering, eating right, notions of healthism and practices of cultural reproduction which become impossible for working class white and racially minoritised women in the context of food poverty, work poverty, lockdown and under continuing pandemic consequences. These are also women doing the paid foodwork on farms, supermarkets and in hospitals and care homes, and community foodwork in food banks and community kitchens.

As I write, the pandemic is still with us. Everyone expects future waves. The negative racialised, classed and gendered effects will be felt for a very long time, including rises in gendered and racialised unemployment, poverty and precarity. Feminists caution that women’s care responsibilities, and new obligations under COVID, will worsen and their impact “endure well beyond the pandemic” (McLaren et al., 2020).

As we grapple with the best strategies to develop policies and practices, what is important is that we recognise the significance of women’s paid and unpaid work, and feminist and activist commentary about this work and its inequalities. Gender, race and class have not been taken account of sufficiently in interpersonal, societal and policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic (McLaren et al., 2020). Moreover, feminist analyses have received relatively little attention from those formulating responses to the pandemic (Social Politics, 2020). A call for papers for the feminist journal Social Politics (2020) insists,

[…] this is striking as measures to confront the crisis have relied heavily on an expanded role of care, of unpaid work and of families – all prominent areas in feminist thinking and activism.

Furthermore, women need to be involved in further crisis assessments, resource allocations, recovery responses and planning and their care labour acknowledged in policy and academic research (McLaren et al., 2020; Mlambo-Ngsuka and Ramos, 2020). According to McLaren et al. (2020), women have immediate practical and strategic needs, and the rise in mutual aid reveals a lack in government services which women should not have to fill.

Turning to food more specifically, food activists and academics call for the government to address food poverty properly and support a socially just and sustainable food system that moves beyond food charity. As Barker and Russell (2020, p. 868) write,

The COVID-19 crisis has brought the shortcomings of UK food welfare policy, the central role of the voluntary sector, and the major dependence of the UK on philanthropy into sharp relief. Much of the government response was piecemeal and driven by pressure groups and charities. It sought populist plasters rather than address the deep causes of food insecurity through proper planning.

Food charity and emergency aid is a “safety valve” that is not transformative of the inequalities, stigma, shame and unsustainability of the food system (Poppendieck, 1998). Women and children are likely to bear the brunt of the effects of food insecurity, as well as COVID-19-associated health system disruptions, with long-term social, cultural and economic consequences for individuals and society (Power et al., 2020).

In this short article, I have not been able to address the inequalities and dangers experienced by food workers in paid domestic and public foodwork during the pandemic. Coronavirus poses an occupational health risk to food system workers including farmers/producers, grocery store workers, emergency food system staff and volunteers, all of whom have provided essential services that support food consumption and safeguard food access (Parks et al., 2020). Nor have I been able to discuss the link between the pandemic and industrialised agriculture, livestock production, deforestation and capital’s relentless exploitation of nature, and feminist and critical race studies of these (Fernando, 2020).

What is required next is an intersectional feminist analysis of actually existing foodwork practices during the pandemic. This needs to move away from noticing gender, to outlining an analysis of food and systemic systems and relations of power, gender, race and class (Hovorka, 2013; Parker, 2020). Future research can explore how women of colour, frontline workers and paid foodworkers have been affected by foodwork responsibilities and obligations and the coping and innovation practices they have developed. Feminist studies must also examine how to support frontline food system workers to keep them safe and well (Parks et al., 2020).

Moreover, it is not clear yet exactly how race, class and gender underpinned the need for, and the provision of, community foodwork through emergency food aid and food support. To combat the challenges of COVID-19, Morrow and Parker (2020) argue we need to amplify anti-racist feminists’ experiments in food initiatives such as cooperative and co-housing; worker co-operatives; community kitchens, fridges, and daycares, all of which are acts in imagining and design cities that facilitate care, commoning and collectivity. In their call for a food justice approach to racial disparities during COVID-19 in a US context, Alkon et al. (2020) stress that racial capitalism affects the production, distribution and consumption of food, and structural racism and workplace exploitation of people of colour and other minoritised groups, all of which impacted their food insecurity and vulnerability during the pandemic. They insist that food justice address the cultural whiteness of health promotion itself. North American food activist, LaDonna Redmond, argued for “Food Justice 2.0”, an approach in which people of colour and other minoritised groups who have faced food inequalities lead the food movement (Parks et al., 2020). Speaking of the UK, Dee Woods argues that the pandemic reveals just how “threadbare” the UK’s food system is (Howell, 2020).

Rather than food reform then, we need to develop not only food justice which attends to gendered, classed and racialised power dynamics, identities and hierarchies embedded within the food system, food policies and food practices but also food activism, and significantly for those of us in academia, studies and research on food. As Julier (2019, p. 20) puts it, we need to see the construction of race and gender as a “defining feature of the production and consumption of food”. Hopefully we can start to address COVID-19 food justice intersectionally before any future waves, and stop the emotional, embodied, economic, social and cultural harm that the pandemic wreaks indirectly and directly on women through burdens of unpaid carework, including the labours of domestic, frontline and community foodwork (Fortier, 2020).

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Further reading

MacKendrick, N. and Pristavec, T. (2019), “Between careful and crazy: the emotion work of feeding the family in an industrialized food system”, Food, Culture and Society, Vol. 22 No. 4, pp. 446-463.

O’Connell, R. and Brannen, J. (2016), Food, Families and Work, Bloomsbury. New York, NY.

Corresponding author

Elaine Swan can be contacted at: E.Swan@sussex.ac.uk

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