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Rep. Pingree Applauds Biden for Announcing Plan to Hold 1st White House Food Conference in 50+ Years, Following Passage of Congressional Funding to Reestablish Summit

Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree championed the amendment in the FY 2022 Appropriations bill to provide $2.5 million for White House to convene 1st conference on food, nutrition, hunger, and health after a half century

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today welcomed the news that President Biden will hold a White House conference on hunger, nutrition, and health this September, following repeated calls from dozens of Democratic and Republican Representatives. Pingree, who also serves on the House Appropriations Committee, championed an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2022 omnibus spending bill that provided $2.5 million for a White House food conference. The White House says the conference will focus on ending hunger and increasing healthy eating and physical activity by 2030 to help cut down on the number of Americans suffering from diet-related diseases like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.

“The first and only national, government-led conference to address hunger was in 1969, which led to transformational legislation to combat hunger in America, creating crucial programs like SNAP and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, also known as WIC. But think about how much the world—and the hunger crisis—has changed since the year we put a man on the moon. As hunger and malnutrition rates continue to rise, we need a 21st-century, high-level conference that will once again spur whole-government action to ensure all Americans have reliable access to healthy food,” said Congresswoman Pingree. “Through my role on the House Appropriations Committee, I helped to secure $2.5 million in funding to make this long-awaited and much-needed conference a reality, and I’m thankful President Biden is seizing the opportunity and heeding our calls for action.”

Pingree, who is a cofounder of the bipartisan Food is Medicine Working Group, is an original cosponsor of the Medically Tailored Home-Delivered Meals Demonstration Pilot Act, which would pilot the delivery of nutritious, medically-tailored meals to Medicare recipients, and address the critical link between diet and chronic illness. 

In April 2021, Pingree reintroduced the Kids Eat Local Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill to support local and regional food systems and encourage healthy meal choices among school-aged children.

It’s estimated that 62% of U.S. adults over the age of 65 live with one or more chronic conditions. A poor diet contributes to COVID risks, especially for those with underlying chronic health conditions, and a growing body of research demonstrates that medically tailored meals can be a cost-effective strategy for improving health outcomes.

The number of undernourished people in the world has been on the rise since 2015 and has reached the levels seen in 2010. Prolonged conflict, extreme weather events, and economic slowdowns and downturns are key driving factors reversing the progress made for over a decade. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic made the path toward the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to achieve zero hunger by 2030 even steeper. 

Pingree launched the first-ever Bipartisan Food Recovery Caucus in 2018, andincluding provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill to create the first full-time food loss and waste liaison at USDA, a composting and food waste reduction pilot program, and the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) to reduce on-farm waste.

She has also introduced and cosponsored several bills to combat food waste and food insecurity, including the Food Date Labeling ActFIND Food ActSchool Food Recovery ActZero Waste ActCOMPOST ActAgriculture Resilience ActNational Food Waste Reduction Act, and Food Donation Improvement Act. Many of these initiatives were included in the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis’s first-ever comprehensive report on climate change.


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