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President Joe Biden will lead the White House conference on hunger, nutrition and health on September 28, revealing his plan to fulfill the promise of ending hunger and diet-related disease by 2030.
The conference, planned for the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, will feature panel and breakout sessions involving hundreds of advocates, educators, health professionals, legislators, cabinet officials and everyday Americans.
Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Harris, will also speak at the conference, the White House says. Other featured speakers include Chef José Andrés, known for his work feeding people after disasters, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.
It will be the first conference on hunger, nutrition and health since 1969. That Nixon-era conference led to the creation of the great programs that underpin America’s response to hunger, like food stamps and nutrition assistance childish.
Advocates for food, hunger and nutrition are awaiting the launch of the new White House strategy, which many hope will be as transformative for food and health as the plan from the first conference.
what’s on the agenda
The conference will be open with panels covering topics such as food as medicine, promoting physical activity, child nutrition, public-private partnerships, and equity.
During smaller breakout group sessions, participants will “collaborate and identify actions they will take individually and collectively to help achieve the goal of ending and reducing diet-related disease,” according to the White House.
The White House and agencies have spent the past several months hosting listening sessions to prepare for the summit, speaking with representatives from corporations, health care, conservation and environmental groups, hunger and nutrition groups, and school and educational groups. They have also taken into account the recommendations of organizations, individuals and legislators.
The recommendation summaries reviewed by NPR include a wide variety of policy proposals, such as expanding universal free school meals and school cafeteria resources, boosting nutrition assistance programs, and improving outreach to children. immigrants, Native Americans, and other marginalized communities.
Food and nutrition advocates have raised concerns about whether or not the administration will be able to match the high bar set by the last conference.
Many will weigh the success of the conference on how the final White House recommendations are implemented: executive actions, partnerships with businesses and nonprofits, and upcoming legislation such as the 2023 farm bill.