Here’s what will happen at the first White House hunger summit since 1969: NPR


President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden pack boxes of food while volunteering at the Martin Luther King Day of Service in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 16, 2022.

Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images


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Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images


President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden pack boxes of food while volunteering at the Martin Luther King Day of Service in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 16, 2022.

Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden will lead the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health on September 28, unveiling his plan to fulfill his pledge to end hunger and diet-related diseases by 2030.

The conference, planned for the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, will feature panels and working group sessions involving hundreds of advocates, educators, health professionals, lawmakers, cabinet officials and ordinary Americans.

Doug Emhoff — Vice President Harris’ husband — will also speak at the conference, the White House said. Other featured speakers include Chef Jose Andres, known for his work feeding people after disasters, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra.

This will be the first conference on hunger, nutrition and health since 1969. This Nixon-era conference led to the creation of major programs supporting the U.S. hunger response, such as food stamps and child nutrition assistance.

Food, hunger and nutrition advocates are closely watching the release of the White House’s new strategy, which many hope will be as transformative for food and health as the first conference’s plan.

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What’s on the agenda

The conference will open with panels covering topics such as food as medicine, promoting physical activity, childhood nutrition, public-private partnerships and equity.

During smaller working group sessions, participants will “collaborate and determine the actions they will take individually and collectively to help achieve the goal of ending and reducing diet-related disease,” according to the White House.

The White House and agencies have spent the past few months holding listening sessions to prepare for the summit, talking with representatives from corporations, health, conservation and environmental groups, hunger and nutrition groups, and school and education groups. They have also taken recommendations from organizations, individuals and legislators.

The brief recommendations reviewed by NPR include a wide variety of policy proposals such as expanding universal free school meals and school cafeteria resources, strengthening nutrition assistance programs, and improving outreach to immigrants, Native Americans and other marginalized communities.

Food and nutrition advocates have raised concerns about whether the administration will be able to meet the high bar set by the last conference.

Many will weigh the success of the conference on how the White House’s final recommendations are implemented — executive action, partnerships with companies and nonprofits, and in upcoming legislation like the 2023 farm bill.

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