White House Announces Food Insecurity Conference For First Time In 50 Years

(PresidentialInsider.com)- In September, the White House will host a food insecurity conference, aimed to improve nutrition and end hunger across America. The country has seen much higher rates for food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This will mark the first time in 50 years that such a conference was held. That one happened in 1969, when the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition and Health was hosted by then-President Richard Nixon.
That conference ended up leading to the country expanding the school lunch and food stamp programs, improving labeling on food regarding nutritional ingredients, and creating the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.
The White House told media outlets earlier this week that they hope the September conference will end up resulting in some plan that could reduce Americans’ rates of hypertension, obesity and diabetes at the same time as ending hunger.
The timing of the conference is pertinent, as grocery prices are skyrocketing while the supply chain issues are exacerbating issues that already existed in terms of food insecurity and access to healthy foods.
In a video he created to announce the upcoming conference, President Joe Biden said:
“Too many families don’t know where they’re going to get their next meal. Too many empty chairs around the kitchen table because a loved one was taken by heart disease, diabetes or other diet-oriented diseases, which are some of the leading causes of death in our country.”
He added that the pandemic has been “a stark reminder of the need for urgent, sustained action. As more Americans experienced hunger, we saw diet-related diseases heighten the risk to severe COVID. It’s time we make real change.”
Food insecurity has been affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, too, as that has caused the supply chain to be disrupted even more than it was before. The leader of World Central Kitchen, humanitarian and chef Jose Andres, said recently that his team has been working hard to feed Ukrainians that are feeling their country due to the war.
The war there has caused prices of food to skyrocket across the globe, including staple ingredients such as wheat, vegetable and corn oils, and soybeans.
As Andres explained:
“America, the most powerful country in the history of mankind, has the tools to make sure that no children are hungry, that no family should be feeling shame by not being able to feed themselves. The federal government must be here to be the wind behind the sails to move the ship forward.”
In April, Biden signed a law sponsored by Democratic Massachusetts Representative James McGovern to contribute $2.5 million in federal funding to host the upcoming food insecurity event.
When he signed the bill, the president said the conference could potentially be “truly transformational,” much as the last conference held during the Nixon administration was.
While the full attendees haven’t been set yet, leading government officials as well as food and humanitarian advocates such as Andres are likely to be a part of the discussion.