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 the Alliance’s current legislative priorities and issue briefing papers.
In addition to the issues below, we will continue to monitor all opportunities to advocate more generally in alignment with our Statement of Policy, including the budget and appropriations processes.
The Farm Bill was signed into law on December 20, 2018. The passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, commonly known as the Farm Bill, authorizes programs essential for the work of the anti-hunger community, notably the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps).
The final draft of the Farm Bill did not come easily. The House of Representatives’ version of the legislation – which passed the chamber in June – contained potentially damaging work requirement and eligibility changes in SNAP that would have ignored unique circumstances of many hungry people in the country. These SNAP provisions proved to be one of the final sticking points as the House and Senate went to conference to iron out differences. Ultimately, harmful cuts and policy changes to the program were not adopted.
Instead, the Farm Bill adds funding to SNAP Employment and Training programs, and targets funding for specific at-risk populations such as older Americans and people with disabilities.
The Farm Bill also made important improvements to programs directed at global food security. In both the Food for Peace and McGovern-Dole Food for Education programs, the legislation allowed the programs to exercise flexibility in implementation and procure commodities in local and regional markets.
Global Food Security Act Reauthorization
On October 11, 2018, the Global Food Security Act (GFSA) was reauthorized for five years.
The GFSA mandates the continuation of agriculture, nutrition, and food-reform programs that have proven their effectiveness in reducing hunger and malnutrition.
The Global Food Security Act, which was originally passed in 2016, authorizes a US Government Global Food Security Strategy, and codifies many aspects of the Feed the Future Initiative. The bill authorizes the development and implementation of a comprehensive, whole-of-government strategy to combat hunger and malnutrition in developing countries. The strategy focuses on increasing sustainable and equitable agricultural development; reducing global hunger; and improving nutrition – especially in the key first 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday. In addition to other valuable aspects of the law, the GFSA captures and improves upon progress made through the Feed the Future initiative.
Not sure who your Senators and Representatives are, or how to contact them? Start here:
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.
- Hunger and Race: In the United States, people of color are more vulnerable to hunger and poverty, experiencing hunger at up to two times the rate of white individuals. Ending hunger and poverty, therefore, is closely linked to racially equitable solutions. The Alliance Advocacy Committee is working to embed a racial equity lens in our advocacy work. Click here for an additional fact sheet with suggestions for anti-hunger organizations. For further background on this topic, please read Getting to Zero Hunger: Hunger, Poverty, and Race.
You can also learn about upcoming events and committee meetings on our Events Calendar.