Earlier this month, City Green's Director of Food Access Lisa Martin joined Senator Cory Booker, General Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, and other New Jersey anti-hunger advocates, state officials, and agricultural stakeholders in advance of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health scheduled for next month.
The roundtable discussion highlighted food insecurity and hunger in New Jersey, the need to reform our nation’s food system, and the rising incidence of diet-related diseases. A recent report found that one in 12 New Jersey households 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.
“As food system practitioners, our team at City Green is excited to have the opportunity to share our priorities at the listening session hosted by Senator Booker and Speaker Coughlin,” Lisa shared. “We’re grateful to work with leaders who are dedicated to hearing from frontline organizations like ours, and to share the importance of investing in programs like Good Food Bucks, which make healthy food more affordable for people who use SNAP and support local farmers and businesses.”
In 2019, there were 762,530 New Jersey residents — including 192,580 children — considered “food insecure,” according to state and federal data. They are defined as people who reported in federal surveys that they worry their food supply will run out, they cannot afford a balanced meal, or skipped meals for an entire day because they did not have enough money to buy food.
“Right now, far too many in our country and across the great state of New Jersey grapple with food insecurity. More than a governmental obligation, we have a moral obligation to make sure people are able to access healthy and nutritious foods which in turn empowers them to lead successful and fulfilling lives,” said New Jersey Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin. “Addressing the challenges of food access caused by food deserts, strengthening critical federal food aid programs like school meals, and supporting emergency feeding organizations and food banks in their work to sustain communities are just some of the comprehensive and multidimensional strategies we have employed as a state to ensure people’s most basic food needs are met. There is more work to do and, by sharing New Jersey’s perspective and successes in this area, it is my hope we help ignite the conversation at the national level to produce a blueprint for meaningful change and action toward food security.”
A portion of the listening session is available to view here.