Food insecurity grows by a third due to pandemic

Some 1.2 billion people do not get enough to eat to sustain a healthy and active lifestyle in 76 countries monitored by the USDA for food insecurity, an increase of 291 million people, or 32 percent, caused by the pandemic. "The economies of the countries ... sharply contracted in 2020 due to the widespread pandemic, resulting lockdowns and other controls impacting business activity, employment and incomes," said the annual International Food Security Assessment.

SNAP falls short of meal costs in 41 percent of U.S. counties

Anti-hunger groups routinely report that food stamp benefits are inadequate and run out before the end of the month. An Urban Institute analysis says Congress narrowed the gap when it increased benefits by 15 percent because of the pandemic, but they do not cover the average nationwide cost of …

First decline in global food prices in a year

Sharply lower prices for vegetable oils, down nearly 10 percent in a month, contributed to the first decline in the Food Price Index since last May, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization on Thursday. The index fell by 2.5 percent in June, although it was still about one-third higher than a year ago.

Ongoing delays in P-EBT slow rollout of Biden’s summer food programs

More than two months since the Biden administration announced the most ambitious summer food program in U.S. history, the USDA has approved benefits distribution plans for just 18 states — even with school out of session across the country.

USDA-FDA bill is blank check for SNAP, says GOP

The government is forecast to spend twice as much on SNAP this fiscal year — $114 billion — as it did before the pandemic, and the lead Republican on the House Appropriations Committee said Democrats wrote a blank check for food-stamp spending in the new fiscal year. Majority-party Democrats, meanwhile, said they wanted to make sure SNAP recipients receive their benefits.

Food insecurity eases, but remains stubbornly high for Black and Latino households

Food insufficiency remains above pre-pandemic levels for all Americans, but among Black and Latino households the problem is particularly acute, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey.

In New York City, gig workers facing food insecurity are fighting back

Demand for couriers grew during the pandemic, yet their conditions only deteriorated. Lockdowns cut into their hours, leaving many workers struggling to pay bills and feed families. Eighty percent of gig workers surveyed in the summer of 2020 by the University of California, Los Angeles, Labor Center said they weren’t making enough to meet household expenses. A third did not have enough for groceries.(No paywall)

USDA announces major expansion of emergency food networks

The USDA announced on Friday that it will invest up to $1 billion to expand emergency food networks, bolstering the ability of food banks and local organizations to serve in-need communities. 

Fear of reprisal kept immigrants from accessing federal aid in pandemic

Fear, fueled by the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies, kept many low-income immigrant families from accessing non-cash benefits and other federal assistance programs they were eligible for in 2020, even as the pandemic deepened economic hardship, according to two new analyses released today from the Urban Institute.(No paywall)

World Food Prize goes to developer of fish-based food systems

Shakuntala Thilsted, who spent years proving, and then promoting, the value of fish grown in backyard ponds to improve the diets of poor families in Asia and Africa, was the 2021 winner of the $250,000 World Food, the sponsoring foundation announced on Tuesday. In Bangladesh, her pond-polyculture approach supports 18 million people and turned the nation into the world's fifth-largest aquaculture producer.