If you are reading this newsletter, you know that this September the Biden-Harris Administration will host a Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health – the first of its kind in over 50 years. Over 50 years ago, the interests of the various advocacy groups were likely a bit more at odds than they are today. Today food insecure adults are at higher risk of being obese and therefore at risk of multiple obesity-related illnesses; and with much more data on the relationship between poverty and obesity, we are more united in our efforts. Still, there are many competing constituents and we do not want to paint a picture that this will be a piece of cake (or a glass of kale smoothie), however… it is exciting to be on the frontlines of this work, part of the conversation and close to where the decision is being made.
As part of our ScratchWorks collective initiative, we have joined a Task Force on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health to support and inform the conference with suggested policy actions. This strategy group was formed by The Bipartisan Policy Center and given the range and depth of experience of this group, we are confident that our recommendations will be heard.
Closer to home and in conjunction with the task force efforts, our Executive Director Nancy Easton and National Program Director Marion Williams, joined a listening session at Gracie Mansion last month, hosted by NYC Mayor Eric Adams. The day at Gracie Mansion was not only inspiring, but also productive as small workgroups developed strategies for the White House Conference to end hunger, improve nutrition, reduce the prevalence of diet-related diseases, and promote equity throughout the food system. The workgroups were kicked off by motivating words by Mayor Eric Adams, U.S. Representative James P. McGovern, and an engaging panel discussion with Richard Ball (NYS Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets), David C. Banks (Chancellor of NYC Department of Education), Dr. Michelle McMacken (Executive Director of Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine, NYC Health + Hospitals) and Dr. Ashwin Vasan (Commissioner of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene), moderated by Marion Nestle.
A day of work at Gracie Mansion would not be complete without a private tour. Nancy and Marion took full advantage of exploring the iconic home of the NYC Mayor.