U.S. pledges $10 billion at food summit, half for domestic programs

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.

Q&A: Yolanda Soto says Covid-19 helped boost the market for imperfect produce

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)

ERS report: Despite pandemic, U.S. food insecurity remained flat in 2020

One in 10 U.S. households were food insecure in 2020, the same level as a year earlier, the USDA's Economic Research Service reported Wednesday. The flat rate of food insecurity provided evidence that government and charitable programs during the Covid-19 pandemic tempered a rise in hunger despite the deep recession.

IUCN Congress dispatch: A paradigm shift for the food system

In the face of climate change, biodiversity loss, and growing global food insecurity, conservationists, farmers, and policymakers called for a “paradigm shift” in global food production at the IUCN World Conservation Congress on Tuesday. To get there, they urged the expansion of agroecology as a way to build a food system that can help protect and restore the environment while feeding the world.(No paywall)

U.S. hunger rate is lowest since start of pandemic

After cresting at 13.7 percent at the end of 2020, the U.S. hunger rate is now the lowest, 7.8 percent, since the pandemic began in early 2020. Analysts say the expanded child tax credit, coronavirus relief programs and rebound from recession all helped. Among families with children, the hunger …

New pandemic aid program encourages dairy donations to food banks

To reduce food waste and help feed hungry Americans, the USDA will spend an estimated $400 million to reimburse dairy organizations for donating products to food banks, said Deputy Agriculture Secretary Jewel Bronaugh on Wednesday. The donation program was the second component of pandemic relief to dairy farmers that would total $2 billion this year.

SNAP increase of 40 cents a meal means $20 billion a year for public nutrition

The government will spend an additional $20 billion a year on food stamps, a 27-percent increase in SNAP benefits from pre-pandemic levels, after updating its figures on the cost of a healthy diet, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday. Anti-hunger groups said the additional 40 cents a meal per person would help millions of Americans avoid hunger.(No paywall)

Biden administration announces largest increase ever in SNAP benefits

The Biden administration will increase SNAP benefits by an average of 25 percent on Oct. 1 — the largest increase in the history of food stamps — based on a reassessment of the cost of a nutritious diet. Analysts and anti-hunger advocates said on Sunday that the increase would improve the diets of millions of poor Americans.(No paywall)

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 …