Wait, the White House is Talking About Food Equity?

By Faran Krentcil

3 min read

Stone Barns Farm Meal

We know plant-based eating can help end hunger, boost nutrition, and put nutrients and carbon back into our soil. The White House knows it, too, and this week, they’re doing something about it.

On Wednesday, September 28, President Biden launched the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. The goal? End hunger and food-related diseases—many caused by the lack of affordable, available plant-based foods—by 2030. (That’s in just 8 years!)

To do it, they’re investing at least $2.5 billion in startups “that are pioneering solutions to hunger and food insecurity,” with another $4 billion to philanthropic organizations that boost access to nutritious food and exercise programs. (Which, as we know, have even better outcomes when they happen outside!)

Here’s what’s really great: The White House is pairing with some purpose-based startups we really admire, because—like us—they’re fusing personal + planetary wellness for the good of all living things. 

Heidi Nel Chef Daniel Thomas White House

  •  BOWERY: Bowery, an indoor vertical farming company (with hydroponics!) that’s opening new spaces in Texas and Georgia, and growing over 10,000 lbs of organic, fresh produce for communities affected by food apartheid nationwide. (What’s food apartheid? Wild Advocate—and all around badass—AnnaSophia Robb explains it here.)

  • FOODCORPS: This national non-profit is spending $250 million to provide free, healthy school meals to half a million students. They’re also training 1000 emerging BIPOC leaders to make a difference on the frontlines of school nutrition through education programs, cultural food awareness, and community building.
  • NAYAK FARMS: A 200-acre farm in Illinois, this local agricultural hub will donate over 1 million (!) lbs of corn and 50,000 lbs green beans to families dealing with food insecurity.
  • RETHINK FOOD: Their goal is to “bridge the gap between food that goes to waste and food-insecure communities,” and they’re aiming to donate at least 2 million (!) pounds of delicious, nutritious food from restaurants, along with 10 million nutritious meals served free to communities in need, and a $10 million investment in restaurants owned by women and BIPOC entrepreneurs.

  • UNIDOSUS: Comprando Rico y Sano (“Buying Healthy and Flavorful Foods”) is a program that fights food insecurity among Latin American households through “culturally relevant nutrition education and enrollment assistance in federal food benefits.” They’re working to train nearly 2000 new community health workers to better serve and educate millions of people around the country. 
  • WELLORY: This startup centers “nutrition care”—the idea that food is part of our wellness and even medical routines. They’re pledging free one-on-one nutrition counseling sessions for up to 10 million uninsured Americans. 
  • ENVIRONMENTAL WORKING GROUP, the JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION, the PLANT BASED FOODS ASSOCIATION, the INDEPENDENT RESTAURANT COALITION, and CHEF ANDREW ZIMMERN: Can every restaurant in America offer at least one plant-based meal option on their breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus? This collaboration between America’s leading chefs and the EWG thinks it’s not just possible, but imperative. If it works, they’ll help save millions of carbon tonnes, just through plant-based eating alone!

  • FOOD, NUTRITION, and HEALTH INVESTOR COALITION: S2G Ventures and Food Systems for the Future will launch the Food, Nutrition, and Health Investor Coalition to catalyze $2.5 billion in private investment over the next three years into startup companies pioneering new ways of addressing food insecurity and improving nutrition and health outcomes through food. These investments will be used to bring novel, mission-oriented companies into the world as well as to support the scaling of proven technologies for reducing hunger and improving individual and population health.