USA TODAY NETWORK today launched a series about America’s food chain to tell the stories of the people who are working to keep America fed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through a series of intimate portraits, Gannett journalists will shine a light on the lives and work of the people who pick the oranges, slaughter the pigs, truck the goods and cook the food, so our nation can continue to eat amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The first story published in the series is about a worker at a large meat processing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota – the state’s largest city with a population of 180,000 where Gannett’s Argus Leader newsroom is located. The in-depth piece spotlights John Deranamie, who came to the United States from Liberia during the civil war, has worked at the Smithfield plant in Sioux Falls for over eight years and contracted COVID-19 as part of his job.
Over 40 Gannett journalists from more than 10 newsrooms across the country are contributing to this series led by USA TODAY consumer editor Michelle Maltais and Des Moines Register politics editor Rachel Stassen-Berger. New stories in the series will continue to roll out over the coming weeks.
“Food workers have faced great risks to keep America fed, and we wanted to focus a spotlight on some of the people in the food chain,’’ said Jeff Taylor, USA TODAY’s executive editor for news. “The collaboration for this series represents the strength and reach of our national news network.’’