“This is a chance to do the big, transformative work we need to have a country where everyone can live a dignified, nourished life. A framework that is focused on dismantling structural inequities and ensuring broad based prosperity for all is essential.”
NEW YORK (August 30, 2022) – As the Biden Administration set the date of September 28, 2022 for the upcoming White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, Noreen Springstead, executive director of WhyHunger, issued the following statement on the conference goals and food insecurity in America.
“Ending hunger by 2030 is a tall order. The White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health set a high bar to do just that. However it’s still hard to tell if the intention for transformational change matches the plan. If the five pillars are any indicator, it will take a huge leap of faith to achieve the stated goals when only one pillar is dedicated to ending hunger by improving access.
We know that 50 years of chronic hunger in America demonstrates that this crisis is caused by low wages, worker exploitation along the food chain, structural racism, and policies that bend to big food companies. Too many people go hungry because they are working and don’t earn enough to afford food, let alone the nutritious food they need, especially with the strain of high inflation. Too many people of color live in redlined communities with no supermarkets and very little access to healthy foods. Too many children are not prepared to learn, grow, and thrive because healthy school meals are not universally available. We must not fall into the trap of focusing on behavioral choices rather than the systemic and structural issues that are at the heart of hunger. To end hunger we need a serious effort to address poverty and its root causes. A framework that is focused on dismantling structural inequities and ensuring broad based prosperity for all is essential.
Our hope is that the government’s multi-agency task force takes all of the stakeholder input into account in order to address wages, corporate accountability, transportation, access, and affordability. The Administration made an outspoken public effort to solicit input from a broad base of stakeholders – non-profits, like WhyHunger, individuals with lived experience of hunger, farmers, Indigenous Peoples, corporations, advocates, community leaders and more. The question remains how much of an influence this input will have and how it will be weighted in the eyes of those determining the final road map. While there are impactful recommendations publicly released that will have an immediate impact on curbing food insecurity, like the improvements to the federal nutrition program uplifted in the Tufts/Food Systems for the Future report, we at WhyHunger are joining those most impacted by the hunger crisis in pushing for even deeper, transformational change that goes beyond modifications and tweaks to our current systems.
More information on the White House Conference can be found here.
Founded in 1975 by the late Harry Chapin and radio DJ Bill Ayres, WhyHunger believes a world without hunger is possible. We provide critical resources to support grassroots movements and fuel community solutions rooted in social, environmental, racial and economic justice. A four-star rated charity by Charity Navigator, with highest ratings for excellence in fiscal management accountability and transparency, WhyHunger is working to end hunger and advance the human right to nutritious food in the U.S. and around the world. 91 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to programmatic work. Learn more at whyhunger.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.