The Alliance’s mission is to engage diverse institutions to build the public and political will to end hunger at home and abroad; and the 2013-2018 Strategic Plan highlights advocacy as an essential pillar to the Alliance’s work.
Below, you will find issue briefing papers and the Alliance’s current legislative priorities.
Alliance Advocacy Committee
The Alliance’s diverse membership realized that it was in a unique position to provide a long-term approach to advocacy. In addition to periodic meetings with Members of Congress and the Administration, the Alliance established a member-led Advocacy Committee. This Committee was tasked to compose common messages that underscore the connection between hunger and a variety of prominent political issues. Any members interested in participating in the Advocacy Committee should feel free to contact the committee co-chairs, Rick McNary and Nick Arena.
To date, three working groups of the Advocacy Committee have convened to draft messages that link the issue of hunger to agriculture, healthcare, and national security. Below, you will find the compiled briefings on the issues, as well as a basic “Hunger Overview.”
- Hunger Overview: Hunger is the inability to consume necessary amounts of food for daily sustenance because of the lack of funds and/or access to nutritional food. Hunger affects all 50 states, all 435 Congressional districts, and every country on earth.
- Hunger and Agriculture: 795 million people worldwide are considered “food insecure,” a challenge that is compounded by a population projected to grow by more than 2 billion by 2050, and limited availability of natural resources. To meet growing global food demand, farmers will have to increase agricultural production by 70%. The agriculture community has an important role to play in developing more just and efficient food systems.
- Hunger and U.S. Health: The relationship between eating well and good health is well known. We learn from an early age that “you are what you eat” and consuming fruits and vegetables is important. With the growth of the obesity epidemic, much of the attention on food consumption in America has focused on the volume, caloric density and fat content of food consumed, with good reason. What is often missing in our discussion of good health and food consumption is the tragic level of hunger in America.
- Hunger and International Health: Hunger and malnutrition are prevalent worldwide. Currently 795 million people are considered “food insecure”, with a population projected to grow over 2 billion by 2050. Of these, an estimated 3.1 million children under the age of five die annually due to under-nutrition. In the first 1,000 days of a child’s life—from conception to the age of two—over 40 vitamins and minerals are required for healthy development. The resilience of individuals, families, and communities therefore depends on adequate food intake and nutrition.
- Hunger and National Security: There are inseparable links between food security and national security, as well as pervasive hunger issues among our nation’s veterans that must be addressed. The Alliance Advocacy Committee is working to help raise awareness of the long-term relationship between hunger and security.
Current Legislative Priorities
Domestic – Farm Bill
The Alliance is prioritizing protecting and strengthening federal nutrition programs in 2017. We do not expect Child Nutrition Reauthorization to move in this legislative session and have turned our attention to the upcoming Farm Bill. However, we will continue to monitor all opportunities to advocate more generally in alignment with our Statement of Policy, including the FY18 budget and appropriations processes.
The current Farm Bill expires on September 30, 2018. The Farm Bill is the legislation that authorizes Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as a host of other nutrition, forestry, agricultural, conservation, trade and development programs. SNAP is the most widely accessed federal nutrition program. Described by the USDA as the “cornerstone of the Nation’s food assistance safety net,” SNAP provides a monthly allotment for the purchase of groceries, providing households with basic access to a nutritious diet.
Other programs that improve nutrition and access to healthy foods included in the Farm Bill are:
- The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) which supports food banks and food pantries;
- The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) which provides seniors (age 60 and above) nutritious USDA commodity foods;
- The Healthy Food Financing Initiative which supports projects that increase access to healthy, affordable food in communities where they are lacking; and
- The Hunger-Free Communities Grants which fund community collaborations to improve access to nutritious food through research, planning, and implementation of hunger relief activities.
Additionally, the Alliance has pulled together a helpful list of talking points that can be seen HERE.
International – Global Food Security Act
This legislation will authorize a comprehensive approach to global food security and nutrition, with a special emphasis on supporting women farmers and reinforcing whole-of-country ownership in food security, nutrition, and agricultural development. We urge Congress to secure a successful global food-security initiative through statutory authorization. Click here for a briefing paper.
You can also learn about upcoming events and committee meetings on our Events Calendar.