hunger

Biden pledges to ‘combat hunger and improve nutrition for every American’

In a White House video, President Biden said on Wednesday that the administration would “lay out our plan to combat hunger and improve nutrition for every American” at the hunger, nutrition, and health conference set for September. More than 10 percent of Americans were food insecure and hunger rates spiked during the early months of the pandemic.

White House to hold conference on ending hunger in America

With more than 38 million Americans food insecure, President Biden announced on Wednesday the White House will hold a conference on hunger and nutrition in September. It will be the first hunger conference since 1969 and would launch a national plan on ending hunger in the United States, said the White House.

New report outlines opportunities to use the farm bill to cut food waste

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 emergency SNAP benefits ending, a ‘hunger cliff’ looms

"Anti-hunger advocates worry that the nation may be approaching a 'hunger cliff,' as some states are ending emergency SNAP benefits even as demand at food pantries—and Covid case numbers—are rising again," writes Bridget Huber in FERN's latest story.

War in Ukraine may trigger severe world food crisis — USAID

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.

SNAP lowered rural poverty by 1.4 percentage points

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.

Doctors and health systems find novel ways to address hunger and its causes

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)

Free school meals will end with the school year, lawmakers decide

Pandemic-fighting waivers that allow schools to serve meals for free to all students will expire on June 30, House and Senate appropriators agreed on Wednesday, despite a campaign to continue universal free meals in the upcoming 2022-23 school year. An anti-hunger advocate said that millions of children will “face a hunger cliff when they lose access to summer and school meals.”

Passage of new bill would ease hunger among military families

A bipartisan bill, introduced on Tuesday by Sens. Tammy Duckworth, Lisa Murkowski and 12 other senators, aims to make it easier for servicemembers to receive SNAP benefits. As many as one in five members of the U.S. military experience food insecurity, but many are unable to get SNAP benefits because they receive housing allowances that are counted as income, which puts them over the limit for eligibility.

School food programs rely on USDA pandemic waivers

Nine out of every 10 schools are providing meals for free to all students under USDA waivers that are an unexpected issue in congressional budget negotiations this week. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is a strong opponent of extending the waivers, issued to help schools cope with the pandemic, into the 2022-23 school year.

Food insecurity rises among disabled people, but solutions exist

Even before Covid-19 hit, disabled people were at greater risk of food insecurity because of higher rates of unemployment, lower earnings, and transportation and accessibility barriers. The pandemic only exacerbated these disparities. In 2020, disabled adults were twice as likely to be food insecure as adults without disabilities.

Food insecurity rose sharply among Native Americans during pandemic, report says

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.

Demand for food aid stays high in second year of pandemic

The pandemic sent millions of Americans to food banks for help last year and the crush continues this year, said a food bank leader at a House hearing on USDA food donation programs on Wednesday. Feeding America, the largest food bank network in the nation, asked for a 45 percent funding increase for The Emergency Food Assistance Program, which buys U.S.-grown food and gives it to food banks to alleviate hunger.

Military spending bill could help ease hunger among service members

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)

Voters to decide constitutional ‘right to food’ in Maine

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."

Pandemic brought 17-percent drop in school meals

Federal waivers that allowed schools to hand out "grab and go" meals to students, and that made meals free to all students, were powerful tools in blunting the impact of the pandemic on food insecurity among children, said USDA economists. Although the number of school meals declined 17 percent in fiscal 2020, because of the waivers 1.7 billion meals were served from March-May 2020 "that may have otherwise not been distributed," they said in a Covid-19 working paper.

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)

Leaders of all House committees call for hunger conference

In a letter to President Biden, the leaders of every House committee said on Wednesday that the pandemic had revealed the extent of hunger in America. "We call on you to convene a national conference on food, nutrition, hunger, and health ... to design a roadmap to end hunger in America by 2030," they wrote.

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