This week the Retaaza team participated in The White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. The last time this conference was held was in 1969. It led to the inception of WIC and expansion of SNAP, the national school lunch program, and also updated nutrition fact labels.
This year’s conference was full of panels and conversations from a diverse range of industries including farming, activism, education, medicine, government programs, Congress, nonprofits, as well as others. In President Biden’s opening remarks, he shared that 1 in 10 American households do not have enough access to food and called to end hunger by the year 2030. His plan of action includes five pillars: Improve food access and affordability, integrate nutrition and health, empower consumers to make and have access to healthy choices, support physical activity for all, and enhance nutrition and food security research. Biden announced $8 billion in commitments from the private and public sectors.
Our biggest takeaway from the conference was the bipartisan effort and synergy amongst stakeholders to achieve the proposed pillars. Conversations happened between organizations about where they overlap and how they can work together. For example, eradicating diet-related diseases such as heart disease and type II diabetes through nutrition, using food as medicine. Mayor Eric Adams shared a powerful story reflecting on his diabetes diagnosis saying, “it was never my DNA, it was my dinner.”
We look forward to the implementations from this historic day. Being an organization that works directly with Georgia farmers and with Georgia's hungry, we offer access to the local food that is being called for and seek to empower the communities we serve by bridging the gap. We are eager to see what kind of incentives will come for local growers and are inspired to learn from our communities, keeping them at the core of what we do.
Lazarus Lynch’s closing remarks from the Making Healthy Choices Easy panel left us motivated to keep working on our piece of the hunger puzzle. He asked, “How can we all just do what we can? Do wherever we are because every little bit counts. Everything that we can do makes a difference.”
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