By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - US President Joe Biden sought to focus the nation's attention Wednesday on food insecurity and health dangers posed by diet-related disease, unveiling a plan to end the phenomena by 2030.
The president's hunger conference is the first since 1969 when former US President Richard Nixon hosted a similar gathering. Biden's meeting included hundreds of policymakers, farmers, advocates and business leaders.
"The task before this conference is the important work of fellows meeting this inflection point by nourishing the soul of America," said Biden. "In America, no child should go to bed hungry. No parent should die of disease that can be prevented."
The president acknowledged that there are "a lot of food deserts" in America where people have extreme difficulties accessing nutritious fresh foods, and said many Americans lack proper education on what foods they should be consuming for their health.
The conference comes as the US faces the prospect of recession as the Federal Reserve attempts to correct soaring inflation that has a particularly strong effect on grocery bills.
To reach the president's ambitious goals, the White House said $8 billion had been committed from the public and private sectors, including $2.5 billion that will be used to invest in start-up companies seeking solutions for hunger and food insecurity.
About $4 billion will be used for philanthropic endeavors to improve access to nutritious foods, helping people make healthier choices and improving exercise.
Other components of Biden's plan include increasing the food-assistance Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), expansions of "medically tailored" meal programs and expanding research on the elderly's access to SNAP.