Lorraine Dufour Lorraine is a freelance Canadian copywriter for sustainable businesses.

The 2022 WH Conference on Hunger and the Significance of Mobile Market Programs

5 min read

The Open Door: Mobile Markets Reducing Barriers to Stop Hunger

 

If you’re a fan of healthy food access like we are, then you’re likely aware the White House recently held a monumental conference on hunger, nutrition, and health.

For both anti-hunger and food access advocates, it was a pretty big deal. It was also the first conference of its kind in over 50 years.

It was a chance for individuals, non-profits, public sector, and private sector stakeholders to come together, share ideas and collaborate. The goal of the conference was to create a national strategy and spur collective action to end hunger in America by 2030.

Seems like a pretty lofty goal, doesn’t it? But The Farmers’ Truck believes that those who dream big dare make the seemingly impossible possible.

So, what came out of the conference that got us excited? (Lots!)

Do mobile markets have a role to play in ending hunger by 2030? (Yes!)

If you’re committed to helping end hunger and are looking for a proven solution, you’ll want to read on.

Just How Significant Was This Conference?

For many of us, this was the first conference of its kind in our lifetime. The last conference on hunger was in 1969.1 And of course, the world has changed drastically since then. So, it should go without saying that this conference was long overdue.

A conference like this can bring about monumental change as long as everyone involved is fully invested in making an impact. And such change did happen back in 1969.

That conference was the catalyst for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the school lunch program, and other significant legislation on food and nutrition. It helped to improve food access for millions of Americans.

So, there’s nothing to say that this conference on hunger, nutrition, and health can’t be any less game-changing than its predecessor.

In fact, this year’s conference secured over $8 billion in commitments toward ending hunger by 2030.2 And that’s not just in government spending, but from the private sector as well. Everyone from big corporations to non-profit organizations pledged their commitment (and their money) to achieve this goal.

But why bother? Why is ending hunger and improving Americans’ nutrition and health so important?

Because as a country, we’re spending $50 billion annually on healthcare costs associated with poor nutrition alone.3 So, you see, we can’t afford not to take action.

Our Contribution to the Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health

Conference organizers encouraged people, organizations, and companies to come forward and offer their stories and ideas. The aim was to create a national strategy that, “calls for a whole-of-government and whole-of-America approach to addressing the challenges we face.” (Biden-Harris Administration National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. September 2022.)4

As a champion of increasing healthy food access, The Farmers’ Truck was more than happy to have the opportunity to share our thoughts and ideas. Our CEO, Fred Laforge, submitted a video to the conference with his thoughts on increasing access to healthy food. Check out Fred’s video here.

In anticipation of this historic conference, we also created a special in-depth report, titled “Exploring Mobile Market Programs”. In it, we showcase the value of these programs and how they’re a proven, effective, and cost-efficient means of increasing healthy food access at the community level.

We submitted our report to the conference to showcase the amazing successes of mobile market programs. And to show people how they can implement these programs in their very own communities.

Conference Takeaways We Went Bananas For

To achieve its goals, the Biden-Harris Administration identified five key pillars of action. Needless to say, The Farmers’ Truck was more than excited when mobile market programs were named in two of those pillars.

“Improving Food Access and Affordability” is Pillar 1 of the new National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health.4

This pillar identifies mobile produce markets as programs that the private sector should invest in when looking to serve underserved communities. It also calls on state, local, and territory governments to support mobile produce markets in areas with low food access.

The idea behind Pillar 2 – “Integrate Nutrition and Health”, is something that our company – and our customers – strongly believe in. The link between diet and health can’t be ignored, seeing as it costs our economy billions of dollars each year.

Increasing access to nutrition-related services is a key part of pillar 2. The National Strategy states that Veterans Affairs will implement and evaluate certain food programs to meet veterans’ needs and increase access to nutrition-related services. Of the programs listed, mobile food pantries are one.

We’re happy to see mobile market programs recognized as playing such an important role in the health of millions of Americans over the next decade, and beyond.

What Makes These Key Points Game-Changers

So, why did the White House National Strategy name mobile markets as a solution to ending hunger and improving nutrition?

Mobile markets work well because they are primarily community-driven. And they’re adaptable to the unique needs of the communities they serve. It’s a win-win when the community has a say in the food that’s provided by them for them.

Being financially sustainable is also important. And mobile market programs offer communities an efficient and cost-effective means of addressing low food access. They manage to succeed in delivering healthy food options in areas where other food retailers fall short.

The acknowledgment of mobile market programs as a tool to increase food access and affordability is a big step in the right direction. Add to that the $3.85 million promised by Publix coming out of this conference to establish new mobile markets.2

We are confident that mobile markets will continue to have a positive influence on the health of millions of Americans.

The Farm Bill

The Farm Bill is another important piece of the food security and nutrition puzzles. It provides the funding for SNAP and shapes all aspects of our nation’s food and agricultural food systems. It is set to be renewed in 2023.

With hundreds of billions of dollars set to be allocated within the Farm Bill, there is a lot of potential funding that will work in concert with the commitments arising from this conference.

What Needs to Happen Next

Our mission, as a champion and provider of mobile markets, is to increase healthy food access to underserved communities.

Now, with support from the federal government and other stakeholders, our mission has never been clearer.

The Farmers’ Truck plans to be a major player in providing mobile market vehicles to organizations as part of this National Strategy. We are also committed to providing ongoing support to these programs. This will help them strike that balance between financial sustainability and social impact.

There are other tools, technologies, and services that go hand-in-hand with mobile market programs that we are continually exploring. For example, rural and urban communities have a very different set of challenges.

We work hard to help organizations find the best solutions to food access in their communities. Mobile market programs are one piece of the puzzle. But we want to explore others too.

This is all part of our vision for working toward 2030. And we are excited at all the possibilities.

How Will Success Be Measured?

As we work towards the goal of ending hunger by 2030, we must measure the impact that all mobile market programs are having along the way. It’s about collaboration and improvement as we work towards a shared vision, as a society and as a nation.

From which programs are seeing the greatest success to which ones might need more support, financial or otherwise. To the impact at the household and individual levels. How is having access to a mobile market improving their lives and those of their family members?

These are important metrics to keep in mind. And, to always be open to adapting our programs and services in ways that best meet the needs of underserved communities.

To us, as it is most likely to you too, it’s not just about providing fresh, healthy food. It’s also about strengthening communities and encouraging everyone’s well-being. Because healthy communities benefit us all.

Investing in Mobile Market Programs Means Investing in the Future

Curious to learn more about the work mobile market programs are already doing across the country? Looking for ways to contribute to the National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health? Funding and supporting mobile market programs is a smart investment in our nation’s future.

Start your journey by downloading our impact report: “Exploring Mobile Market Programs – The Value of These Community Wellness Initiatives at Increasing Healthy Food Access Across the United States” today.

Resources:

  1. White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health | health.gov 
  2. FACT SHEET: The Biden-Harris Administration Announces More Than $8 Billion in New Commitments as Part of Call to Action for White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health 
  3. Cardiometabolic disease costs associated with suboptimal diet in the United States: A cost analysis based on a microsimulation model | PLOS Medicine 
  4. BIDEN-HARRIS ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL STRATEGY ON HUNGER, NUTRITION, AND HEALTH | The White House
Lorraine Dufour Lorraine is a freelance Canadian copywriter for sustainable businesses.

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