Biden Aims At Food Insecurity In First Hunger Conference In 50 Years

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Food Insecurity

For the first time in over 50 years, the White House is hosting a conference on food insecurity. High inflation and the end of pandemic assistance programs have combined to put pressure on vulnerable households. As a result, the Biden administration has pledged to end hunger by 2030.

In Summary:

  • The administration has set a goal of eliminating hunger by 2030 and reducing diseases linked to poor nutrition. President Joe Biden will be speaking at the event.
  • The last food conference, hosted by Richard Nixon in 1969, was a watershed moment in American food policy, resulting in the expansion of food stamps.
  • It aims to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour and to close the Medicaid coverage gap.
  • The strategy also aims to cut diet-related diseases by, among other things, making it easier to get healthy food and exercise.
Food Insecurity
The Hungry Monk pantry is one of many in New York facing cutbacks of around 75 percent. Pandemic Food Reserve Emergency Distribution Program (P-FRED) is scaled down. The pantry aims to address food insecurity and homelessness by distributing free food and medical supplies.[Ed JONES / AFP]

Biden Intends To Tackle Food Insecurity And End Hunger By 2030

The administration wants to eliminate hunger by 2030 and reduce diseases associated with poor nutrition. Biden will speak at a related event.

The last food conference, which Richard Nixon hosted in 1969, was a watershed moment in American food policy. It led in the expansion of food stamps and the creation of the Women, Infants, and Children program, which provides parenting advice, breastfeeding support, and food assistance to the mothers of half of all babies born each year.

Food Insecurity
Despite slowing inflation and falling gas prices in August, US shoppers felt little relief as higher food bills forced many to recalibrate their spending patterns.[Matthew Hatcher/Bloomberg/Getty Images]

Biden Targets Food Insecurity In A Wealthy But Hungry United States

In 2021, one in every ten poor households struggled to feed their families. This was an extremely high level of food insecurity in the world’s richest country. Despite rising economic inequality and welfare cuts, the rate has remained relatively stable over the last two decades.

Food insecurity in the United States remains stubbornly high, and has not changed significantly since 2021. However, things have changed dramatically since 2020, when the Covid shutdown and widespread layoffs forced a record number of Americans to rely on food banks and food stamps to survive.

The conference is taking place at a cost when food prices are rising due to double-digit inflation and recession fears. Groceries cost 13.1% more in July than the previous year, according to the Consumer Price Index. Cereal, bread, and dairy products all increased in price.

Families are under more strain as states reduce financial aid tied to the pandemic, such as free school lunches for all children and child tax credits. Many states are reducing food stamp benefits.

According to Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, director of Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research, real-time data from the US Census survey “suggest that food insecurity in families with children has been steadily rising this year.”

Despite the fact that the United States has the world’s largest economy and is one of the wealthiest countries, many Americans struggle to feed their families on a daily basis. Today, the Biden administration will host the first summit in 50 years to try to change this trend, with the goal of ending hunger by 2030 and reducing diseases linked to poor nutrition. Joe Biden is scheduled to speak at the event.

The Main Aspects of Administration’s Strategy On Food Insecurity

It has a lot of big ideas but few specific plans. This is because the plans rely on the support of a divided Congress. So far this year, Congress has refused to extend the child tax credit and universal free school meals, both of which led to historic improvements in food security following the pandemic.

Food Insecurity
Parents and caregivers advocate for the Child Tax Credit in advance of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. The conference will be held September, 2022 in Washington, DC.[Larry French/Getty Images/SKDK]

According to the plan, the administration is committed to “pushing Congress to permanently extend the expanded, fully refunded child tax credit and the expanded Earned Income Tax Credit.” To raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, close the Medicaid coverage gap, invest in affordable, high-quality child care, and expand the Housing Choice Voucher program.

The strategy also aims to reduce diet-related diseases by making it easier for people to eat healthy foods and exercise. This is because new data show that more than 35% of people in 19 states and two territories are obese, which is more than double the number of states in 2018. Furthermore, one out of every ten Americans has diabetes.

It includes plans to change the way food is packaged, set voluntary goals for the food industry to cut salt and sugar, and work to provide more people on Medicaid and Medicare with access to obesity counseling and nutrition.

According to Andy Fisher, a researcher and author of Big Hunger, the strategy has many good ideas, but it absolves the food industry and fails to address how racism, sexism, and the climate crisis affect food inequality.

“What they don’t realize or say is that hunger and health disparities are built into our political and economic system and require far more than these technocratic policy reforms.”

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