The Right to (Healthy) Food in a Pandemic

woman shopping in a grocery store in the produce section by a pineapple display

With one in nine Americans already struggling to put food on the table, food insecurity and lack of access to healthy food are problems in the best of times.

Now, the COVID-19 pandemic is stretching an already inadequate social safety net to the breaking point.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to pass emergency food aid now and then work to realize the Green New Deal’s goal of “building a more sustainable food system that ensures universal access to healthy food.”

I hope you and your family are well. (For information on how to stay healthy and prevent viral infections, including coronavirus, click here.)

Even if you’re feeling fine and making the most of time at home, it’s hard not to worry.

You don’t have to be low-income or food-insecure to be concerned about how to prepare to feed your family three meals a day, for weeks at a time when grocery stores with empty shelves drastically cut their hours.

But if you’re already low-income, or relying on school meals or food assistance, or if the coronavirus epidemic has reduced your income or put you out of work, access to food is as much of a concern as avoiding COVID-19.

School meals and food pantries are unable to serve all who currently rely on them.

Need grows each day as the coronavirus crisis puts new strains on families’ finances.

There is no Right to Food under the U.S. Constitution. Internationally, Trump’s ambassadors have announced that “we do not treat the right to food as an enforceable obligation,” as they pulled the U.S. out of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The Green New Deal resolution is the first proposal in Congress to state that it is the duty of the Federal Government to secure healthy food for all people of the U.S. for generations to come. The resolution proposes to do so “by building a more sustainable food system that ensures universal access to healthy food.”

On Saturday morning, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a coronavirus stimulus package that includes $1 billion for food security programs aimed at bolstering food assistance during the pandemic, but the Senate might not pass the bill as is.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to pass emergency food aid now and then work to realize the Green New Deal’s goal of “building a more sustainable food system that ensures universal access to healthy food.”

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