White House Has First Hunger Conference in 50 Years

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The Biden administration is hosting a one-day conference today on hunger, nutrition and health, bringing together advocates, researchers and activists, as well as leaders in business, philanthropy, faith groups, and communities. 

Just before the conference, the administration launched its strategy aimed at ending hunger in the U.S. by 2030. It includes plans to expand benefits and access to healthy food. 

The strategy and conference are aimed at making “America truly a stronger, healthier nation”, President Joe Biden said. The conference marks the first time the White House has had a hunger conference in half a century. 

It comes through at a difficult time for many households. Pandemic support measures are falling away while rising food prices and record inflation squeeze budgets. The cost of groceries in July was up 13.1 percent compared with last year. 

The conference comes as the cost of food is soaring due to double-digit inflation, and amid fears of recession. The midterm elections in November are also quickly approaching. 

The last food conference was hosted by Richard Nixon in 1969. It marked a pivotal moment in U.S. food policy and led to the expansion of food policy. 

That conference directly led to the expansion of food stamps and gave rise to the Women, Infants and Children program that today provides parenting advice, breastfeeding support and food assistance to the mothers of half the babies born each year.

Just how bad is hunger in the United States right now? One in 10 households struggled to feed families in 2021 due to poverty. Food insecurity is stubbornly high in America. It is an extraordinary level of food insecurity in the richest country in the world.

Over the past two decades, the rate of hunger has barely budged. There has been only a deepening in economic inequalities and welfare cuts. 

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