Former first lady Michelle Obama is urging the public and industry players to “keep putting pressure” on the private sector to find a solution to help end food insecurity in America. Obama made the comments in conversation with Nancy Roman, president and CEO of the Partnership for a Healthier America, at the Pass the Love Virtual Summit, which will be streamed today.
Addressing the need to find a solution for food insecurity in America, Obama said:
“If the private sector really put its head together and thought through how to take this abundance of food and get it into the hands of more families in this country that we could do it. But we’ve got to keep putting pressure on them, we’ve got to keep encouraging the partners who are here at this summit to reach out to their competitors even, to the people in their networks and to urge them to step up and find a solution.”
Food insecurity, also known as food scarcity, is a global problem from which America is not immune. It refers to the ability of people to access the food needed to meet their nutritional needs. And it’s not just referring to any food, but food that has the proper nutritional balance for a healthy lifestyle. According to 2019 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 13.7 million households in America were food insecure at some point during the year. That’s 10.5% of the country.
Food insecurity can not only affect a person’s physical health but their mental health as well, due to their inability to accurately forecast when and where their next meal might come. In 2019, those 13.7 million American households contained 35.2 million Americans living with food insecurity, with 5.3 million of them being children.
As you can see in the exclusive clip below, the former first lady is urging private industry to step up to help end food insecurity in America. That insecurity is caused in part by the massive food waste among restaurants, grocers, and households in America. The USDA says that between 30-40% of America’s food supply is wasted at the consumer and retail level each year. However, issues such as logistics (how close someone lives to food outlets) and economics (a person’s ability to afford food) also contribute to food insecurity.
To see Obama’s full comments on the matter, including how the private sector can contribute to help bring about food equity, you can check out her conversation at the Partnership for a Healthier America’s Pass the Love Virtual Summit from 1 p.m. today, May 12 here. Also as part of the summit and in conjunction with Obama’s Netflix series Waffles + Mochi, the former first lady will announce an initiative that will see 400,000 fresh, healthy meals be distributed to food insecure families across the country, with Atlanta and Cleveland being among the first partner cities.