Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will vote this week on emergency legislation to relax some WIC regulations on infant formula, now in short supply, "so that we can get nutrition into the mouths of America's babies." Through WIC, the government buys about half of the infant formula sold in the country.
The rapid rise of food delivery and online grocery shopping, particularly among SNAP recipients, is both transforming the food system and raising new questions about how to measure and improve access to food and food security, according to two new reports from the Brookings Institution.
Around 193 million people in 53 countries and territories experienced acute food insecurity at crisis or worse levels in 2021, an increase of 40 million from the previous year. “The situation is expected to worsen in 2022,” said a report by the Global Network Against Food Crises on Wednesday.
A new report urges Congress to make reducing food waste a priority in the 2023 farm bill in order to address climate change and hunger while benefiting the economy. The U.S. wastes more than one-third of the food it produces and imports, according to the report, published last week by the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, the Natural Resources Defense Council, ReFED and the World Wildlife Fund.
With farm bill reauthorization coming up next year, the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing on Thursday focusing on SNAP, which accounts for nearly 80 percent of the bill’s budget. But foreshadowing what could be a messy process, Democratic and Republican lawmakers staked out familiar ground and sparred over the food assistance program.
Six countries in Africa and the Middle East will receive $670 million in additional food aid to mitigate severe food insecurity, said the Biden administration on Wednesday. The assistance will mean the complete drawdown of a USDA emergency fund for the purchase of U.S. commodities for donation to hunger programs overseas.
The Biden administration extended the Covid-19 public health emergency on Wednesday, keeping increased nutrition benefits for millions of families in place for the coming months.
The Biden administration is preparing to tap an emergency food aid fund because of the ripple effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on hunger in Africa and the Middle East, a U.S. Agency for International Development official told lawmakers on Wednesday. Hunger and poverty could exceed the global food price crisis of 2007-08, said Sarah Charles of USAID.
Food stamps had a greater effect in reducing poverty rates in rural America than in urban areas when viewed through the Census Bureau's Supplemental Poverty Measure, said an American Enterprise Institute newsletter. Northwestern University professor Diane Schanzenbach calculated that SNAP lowered the poverty rate in rural areas by 1.4 percentage points compared to a 0.8 point reduction in urban America.
Poverty, hunger and poor health are interlinked problems, ones that some doctors and medical systems are trying to address by screening patients for food insecurity, connecting them with food and other resources, and advocating broadly against inequality.(No paywall)
With increasing attention in recent years to the problem of food insecurity on college campuses, anti-hunger advocates have pushed to sign more students up for SNAP benefits. But many students still don’t realize that they may qualify for the program, said Michelle Fausto, a fellow with the Congressional Hunger Center.
When Covid-19 hit, intensifying hunger rates and limiting food access across the country, tribal communities drew on ancestral knowledge to mount a resilient response, said A-dae Romero-Briones, who directs Native agriculture and food systems programs at the First Nations Development Institute. “These long-buried behaviors would come up, and it was like honoring our ancestors,” she said. “To me, it was a renaissance.”
Nearly half of Native American and Alaska Native households experienced food insecurity during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new report from the Native American Agriculture Fund, The Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative and the Food Research & Action Center. The report urged “putting Tribal governments in the driver’s seat of feeding people” to create a more resilient food system.
As the Senate debates the National Defense Authorization Act, which funds the U.S. military, anti-hunger advocates say the bill would take an important first step toward addressing the long-standing problem of food insecurity among service members. The bill would boost the pay of the lowest-earning members of the military, giving them a so-called basic needs allowance to help cover the cost of food and other necessities. (No paywall)
The Biden administration boosted SNAP benefits by $36 per person per month in October in a move expected to help millions of Americans avoid hunger. “This increase helped close the gap between SNAP benefits and meal costs, but it did not close it for everyone,” says the Urban Institute. …
Maine enacted the country's first food sovereignty law in 2017 to encourage food self-sufficiency. Now, its voters will decide whether to declare a first-in-the-nation constitutional right to food "including the right to save and exchange seeds and the right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing."
The United States joined dozens of countries at a UN-sponsored food summit in pledging on Thursday to reduce world hunger. The Biden administration said it would put $10 billion into the effort, half of it to be spent domestically and half abroad.
The Covid-19 pandemic upended the food supply chain in 2020, but massive quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables from Mexico kept flowing into the border town of Nogales, Arizona. Not all of it made it to American tables, however, or even out of Nogales. Instead, as is the case every year, millions of pounds of misshapen or otherwise imperfect produce was diverted to the landfill. Despite the pandemic, Borderlands Food Rescue managed to keep up its longtime work of salvaging those less-than-perfect tomatoes, cucumbers, mangoes, and watermelons for people in need.(No paywall)