New Orleans, Louisiana
358 attendees participated, including those working on the ground within local communities to solve the issues of hunger and food insecurity, as well as those from municipal offices, private industry including entrepreneurs, farmers and producers, grassroots leaders, academia including HBCUs, land-grant universities, and Tribal Colleges, and more.
Type of submission
The interactive listening sessions included discussion of: the inaccurate and insufficient nutrition research and data currently available; recommendations for the U.S. federal government to improve food security with increased investments; and recommendations for local, state, territory, and Tribal governments, private sector, nonprofit and community groups to better understand the lived experience of the hungry and food insecure.
Currently, the United States lacks data and information not only about what is nutritious but also what is culturally appropriate for its communities. Insufficient data is directly shaping food policy that fails to meet the needs of citizens.
According to participants, a lot of the standard research methodologies have been developed by white males, and many researchers lack experience in the field. This means that the findings influencing policy and resource allocation are driven by those without lived experiences on the ground within communities.
Recommendations for the U.S. federal government:
1. Participants agreed that food security is national security, and the federal government should allocate the appropriate resources to reflect that. The government must invest in cultivating a pioneering and innovative nature for our food system, bringing it to the top of its list of priorities.
2. The power of universal basic income to address poverty was noted multiple times throughout the discussion.
3. Multiple panelists also mentioned universal school meals as a simple yet powerful tool to create change—as well as teaching children how to cook as part of basic school curriculum.
4. Discussion on the federal government’s role in solving hunger and food insecurity focused on inclusivity, democratization of the food system, and trust in local communities. This means being
less prescriptive in policies, resources, and recommendations and allowing communities to solve for themselves.
Recommendations for local, state, territory, and Tribal governments, private sector,
nonprofit and community groups:
1. Throughout the discussion, panelists agreed that a transdisciplinary approach to nutrition data collection and research is critical. This means bringing in all voices to better understand the lived experience of the hungry and food insecure, as well as working across sectors.
2. Participants agreed that research needs to not only look at the number of hungry people but understand the other systems in place that hinder the ability to get nutritious foods.
3. Evidence such as storytelling is devalued in the broader conversation about how to address hunger and food insecurity, but panelists said that the nuances of conversation allow for open-ended opportunities to listen to what communities need.