The Biden administration is relying on a variety of private-sector partnerships to help fund and deliver on its ambitious goal of ending hunger in America by 2030.
U.S. President Joe Biden will host a conference Wednesday on hunger, nutrition and health, the first to be hosted by the White House since 1969. That conference, under President Richard Nixon, was the era. important points that have influenced the US food policy agenda for 50 years.
The conference, chaired by Nixon, a Republican, led to a major expansion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps, and the creation of the Women, Infants, and Children’s Programs. Children, serves half of all US-born babies by providing their mothers with parenting advice, breastfeeding support, and food assistance.
This year’s conference, chaired by Biden, a Democrat, focuses on his goal of essentially ending food insecurity for all Americans by the end of the decade. It also seeks to promote healthy eating, good nutrition and physical activity so that fewer people develop diabetes, obesity, hypertension and other diet-related diseases.
Before the conference, the Biden administration released a list of more than $8 billion in cause-and-effect pledges from private companies, philanthropic foundations and industry groups. These range from outright contributions to in-kind contributions to services and include:
- A $20 million commitment from pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk to improve access to healthy food and safe spaces for physical activity in marginalized communities.
- Commit $3.85 million from grocery chain Publix to feed local food banks and set up free mobile food stores.
- $22 million from food company Danone to fund a program to help “at least 300 million Americans build healthier eating habits.”
- Grocery chain Meijer is offering discounts of up to 10% to encourage users to buy fruits and vegetables under the SNAP program.
Some of the conference’s goals are reminiscent of former first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative to tackle childhood obesity and promote healthy eating, highlighting the need for access with better, healthier food and exercise.
While Biden is touting a successful buyback campaign from the private sector, some of the strongest potential obstacles to his proposals lie in the increasingly partisan Congress.
Proposed policy changes include expanding SNAP eligibility, expanding access to free school meals, and expanding summer meal benefits to more students. All of those changes would require congressional approval.