COLORADO SPRINGS — National leaders are concerned over a food shortage with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While the direct impact on the United States isn't clear yet, President Biden says there could be impacts on supply chain issues and impacts for Americans.
News5 spoke to Care and Share Food Bank about this, as well as a local rancher.
Care and Share Food Bank has relied on donated food for 50 years but right now, food donations have dropped on average 26% since the pandemic began.
“We’re competing with the rest of the world to get food to the people who need it,” said Lynne Telford of the food bank for Southern Colorado.
Telford says, while she doesn’t know the direct implications on the food supply as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the shortage in donations is still noticeable.
“We’re worried because a more severe reduction in the food that’s available is going to impact us as well,” said Telford. “Donated food hasn’t risen. Our food procurement department recently told me that there is nothing very nutritious or great out there to get donated at the moment.”
When donations were down during the pandemic, the food bank relied on federal funding and programs to help fill the need. Now, they’re not getting as much of that help.
Elin Ganschow is a rancher who owns Sangres Best — Grass Finished Beef in West Cliffe. When asked about a food shortage on the agriculture side, she said, “It seems like all of the information we get today is conflicting, and that that does leave us to not knowing and not understanding what’s going on.”
She grew up in the cattle business and says inflation and product costs are more so the issues today, rather than food shortages.
“The problem isn’t on the production side, there’s plenty, plenty of consistency on the land where the rancher is producing the products. Where it goes south is on its journey to your plate,” said Ganschow. “Inflation leaves no survivors. You know, inflation takes everybody down.”
Because of inflation, she’s had to raise prices on her products 10% to 15% over the past year.
So while there’s no direct answer on what the impact of the war in Ukraine is having on food, Ganschow her and Care and Share are working to connect people to more local sources.
“It’s a kind of tough time, we are strategizing, and we don’t really have a choice. We have to figure it out,” said Telford.
Another issue the food bank is running into is gas prices also impacting food supply. Even when they get a big truck of donated food, they have to pay more for those drivers and gas.
However, the growing season is just about here, and Telford will help alleviate some of the problems when it comes to food shortages.