Biden Administration Hosting Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health Says Rep. Pingree (D)


Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) at a Recent EPA Distribution Press Conference on the Portland Waterfront.

On Wednesday, September 28, the Biden Administration will host the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, according to a press release issued by the office of Chellie Pingree (D) today.  It’s the first and only national, government-led conference to address hunger since 1969, which led to transformational legislation to combat hunger in America, creating crucial progress like SNAP and WIC.

Pingree (D) is urging the Biden Administration to incorporate “food is medicine” proposals in the White House’s platform in the upcoming Conference.  Pingree along with Representatives Kim Schief and Derek Kilmer, detailed the important role that food is medicine interventions play in addressing hunger and improving nutrition and health.

“Poor diets are a leading contributor to the development of chronic illness, often with a disproportionate impact on disadvantaged and rural communities.  Numerous studies have shown that interventions to improve access and affordability of healthy, nutrious foods are effective, improving health outcomes and lowering health care spending,” the three wrote.

“This Conference, the first of its kind in over 50 years, represents a signifant opportunity to spur whole-government action, engage with partners across the country and ensure that all Americans have reliable access to healthy food,” they continued.  “We urge you to incorporate food is medicine into the White House’s platform for the Conference.  We appreciate your leadership as we strive  to enact policies that will end hunger and improve both nutrition and health across the nation.”

“The increase in food insecurity is not about a sudden wave of joblessness as it was when the economy ground to a halt in 2020 in the first wave of the pandemic.  It is about inflation – higher prices for housing, gas and especially food,” according to an in-depth article in the business section of “THE NEW YORK TIMES,” August 8,  “More Americans Are Going Hungry.”  “….the cost of food increased 10.4 percent from a year earlier, the largest 12-month increase since 1981.” Food banks are trying to meet these needs while coping with decreasing donations and, in some cases, increased awareness among people who need help that food banks are an option.”

“There was a big charitable response at the beginning (of the pandemic).  There was a very robust government response as well,” said Elaine Waxman, an expert on food insecurity and federal nutrition programs at the Urban Institute in Washington.  But the end of enhanced unemployment, stimulus checks and monthly child tax credit payments, combined with inflation, means that problems are starting to creep up again.  This time donations are down just as the need is rising again,” the article continued.