New Brunswick, NJ – Today, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and New Jersey General Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin hosted a listening session with New Jersey hunger advocates, state officials and agricultural stakeholders ahead of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health scheduled for next month.
The roundtable highlighted the food insecurity and hunger in New Jersey, the need to reform our nation’s food system, and the growing incidence of diet-related illnesses. A recent report found that one in 12 households in New Jersey experienced food insecurity from 2018 to 2020, and that chronic health conditions resulting from food insecurity cost New Jersey about $1.3 billion each year. Nationally, the number of people under the age of 20 living with type II diabetes increased by 95% from 2001 to 2017, with the largest increases seen among black and Hispanic youth.
Earlier this year, Booker successfully fought to secure funding for a second White House conference on hunger, nutrition and health.. The first such conference was held over 50 years ago in 1969, resulting in the creation and expansion of programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program. The aim of the second conference is to take a whole-of-government approach to ending hunger and tackling nutrition insecurity, featuring diverse stakeholders such as independent family farmers and ranchers, health professionals and advocates of the fight against hunger.
“The second White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health offers us the opportunity to create a roadmap to reform the failing US food policies that have left Americans without access to affordable and nutritious food and have caused an explosion of diet-related illnesses,” said Senator Booker. “To be successful, it is critically important that we bring together stakeholders from diverse backgrounds who are on the front lines of the twin hunger and nutrition crises affecting millions of Americans. I am grateful to the government leaders, hunger campaigners and healthcare professionals who shared their insights in today’s listening session. Their experiences are vital ahead of next month’s White House conference, and I look forward to integrating them as I work with President Biden and the White House to develop comprehensive solutions so that all have equitable access to options. healthy food.
“Right now, far too many people in our country and in the great state of New Jersey are struggling with food insecurity. More than a governmental obligation, we have a moral obligation to ensure that people can access to healthy and nutritious food, which enables them to lead successful and fulfilling lives,” said New Jersey Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin. “Addressing food access challenges caused by food deserts, bolstering essential federal food assistance programs like school lunches, and supporting emergency food organizations and food banks in their work to support the communities are just some of the comprehensive, multidimensional strategies that we have employed as the state to ensure that the most basic food needs of the population are met. There is still work to be done, and by sharing New Jersey’s perspective and successes in this area, I hope we will help ignite the conversation at the national level to produce a plan for meaningful change and action for food safety.
“I am proud to be part of today’s Hunger Listening Session with President Coughlin and Senator Cory Booker,” said MP Roy Freiman. “Hunger has long been a growing crisis in our state, affecting many New Jersey families and seniors in every community. Today, with experts, advocates, and lawmakers gathered around a table, we worked to uncover the next concrete step we can take to end hunger in New Jersey.
“Rutgers is pleased to welcome our state and federal partners in efforts to address food and nutrition issues,” said Jonathan Holloway, president of Rutgers University. “The leadership of Sen Booker and President Coughlin on these issues is as significant as it is impressive. These are critical issues as we all work to make New Jersey one of the best places to live, work and learn.
Additional quotes from participants in today’s listening session can be found here.
Last month, Booker invited New Jersey residents to share their comments for the next White House conference. More than 60 New Jersey hunger advocates, state and local officials, medical professionals, direct service providers, family farmers, agricultural actors, and people who have personally experienced the impact of hunger, food insecurity or diet-related illness submitted comments that Booker directly shared with the White House.
Today’s event was also part of Booker Jersey Summer Road Trip 2022, a series of judgments outlining the priorities he continues to fight for in the U.S. Senate on behalf of state residents. The road trip will highlight Booker’s ongoing commitment to serving New Jersey veterans, his efforts to secure Congressional-directed spending for critical New Jersey projects and organizations, and his support for businesses and industries. local, among others.