Food Equality is On the Agenda at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health

August 7, 2022

The first day of school is an important milestone for every student. This September, the Biden-Harris Administration will mark a milestone of its own with the first White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in nearly 50 years.

The last conference of its kind, in 1969, resulted in crucial improvements to food access, including the expansion of school meal programs and SNAP benefits. This means the upcoming conference is likely to have a significant impact on food and nutrition policy—and access to healthy food for all Americans—for many years to come.

Food Equality for All

Thrive Market has been on a mission to make healthy living more accessible to every American since the company’s founding in 2014. We established our Food Equality Fund in 2020 with the goal of raising $10 million in healthy groceries by 2025 to help close the food inequality gap. (To date, we’ve raised $7.5 million.) Since then, we’ve been able to amplify our efforts and broaden its impact by working with key nonprofit partners.

One of those organizations is FoodCorps, which works to connect kids to healthy food and education in school systems nationwide. Their network of service members provides educational programming around gardening, cooking, and nutrition in schools; FoodCorps also supports policy initiatives aimed at improving healthy food access for kids.

By providing complimentary memberships and funding food education initiatives, Thrive Market has helped FoodCorps make an impact in schools around the United States, including Mississippi in 2021 and Arkansas in 2022. This year, Thrive Market and FoodCorps have reached 6,000 students in Arkansas and helped them experience 1,500 immersive, hands-on learning opportunities.

Access, Education, Empowerment

The ultimate goal of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health is to identify steps that governments, nonprofit organizations, community groups, and private companies can take to support access to healthy food, education, and other resources that contribute to overall better health throughout society. 

Five key pillars will determine the conference’s scope:

  • Improving food access and affordability, especially for people in rural communities
  • Integrating nutrition and health into efforts to address food insecurity
  • Empowering consumers to access and make healthy choices, particularly in schools and workplaces, with public messaging that is inclusive and culturally relevant
  • Supporting physical activity by improving access to safe places and increasing awareness about the benefits of movement
  • Enhancing nutrition and food security research, especially as it relates to equity, access, and disparities 

Building a Better Food Future

Thrive Market is supporting FoodCorps as they activate around the upcoming White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. Leading up to this event, FoodCorps conducted three regional listening sessions to hear from community and school partners about what policies are needed to improve their work in schools across the country. Their stories and insights support four core policy recommendations:

  • Prioritize food and nutrition education resources as an investment in our children’s health and well-being by placing dedicated food educators in schools.
  • Provide school meals for all and allow school nutrition professionals to focus on feeding children, not doing paperwork. 
  • Invest in school kitchen equipment upgrades, school gardens, and scratch cooking resources.
  • Create a talent pipeline to ensure our nation’s schools are attracting the next generation of school nutrition and food education leaders who reflect the cultures and identities of the communities they serve.

FoodCorps’ recommendations are aligned with the conference’s pillars and include specific legislative and administrative actions necessary to bring them to fruition.

How You Can Get Involved

By being a Thrive Market member, you’re supporting our efforts to raise $10 million in healthy groceries for a better food future. Your paid membership also helps provide a free one for an individual or family in need as part of our Thrive Gives program.

One of FoodCorps’ priorities surrounding the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health is to place food educators in every school in America. To support that effort, you can sign their petition here. To stay updated on the latest from FoodCorps, including policy updates, sign up to receive alerts here

This article is related to:

Food Policy, Thrive Gives

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Kirby Stirland

Kirby Stirland is a writer, editor, and New York transplant living in Los Angeles.

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