Federally-funded programs that encourage low-income people to consume more fresh produce are having a positive impact on dietary health and the economy, according to an evaluation published on Tuesday.
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.
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.
Congress traditionally enacts the farm policy bills covering the gamut from crop subsidies to food stamps at the urging of a coalition of farm, conservation and anti-hunger groups. A former USDA official said the 2023 farm bill could be in peril if there is a repetition of the political turbulence that temporarily derailed the omnibus legislation twice in the eight years.
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. …
Poor-quality diets are driving an expensive epidemic of obesity, diabetes and heart disease in America, a panel of physicians, researchers and policy experts told senators on Tuesday, calling for a national strategy to replace the mishmash of federal nutrition programs. "We are on a path to disaster," said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Tufts School of Nutrition.
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.
Food banks in Louisiana will receive up to 800,000 packages of shelf-stable food for distribution this month to people in areas struck by Hurricane Ida, said the USDA on Thursday.
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)
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 …