This week, President Joe Biden will travel to Pittsburgh to unveil his economic recovery package, which will include his multi-trillion-dollar green infrastructure pitch.
With this announcement, the president will lay out his budget and policy priorities (both domestic and international) for the year. With the country still facing uncertainty amid the COVID-19 pandemic, President Biden’s plan for our nation’s recovery — one that will hopefully address the pandemic’s devastating impacts on communities of color and underserved households, particularly those with young children — is long-awaited.
President Biden has continuously reinforced his vision outlined in his American Rescue Plan and the corresponding relief package Congress just passed. He has also touched on the themes that will continue to be the focus of his administration, which included:
- Financial well-being and food security for struggling families.
- Schools promoting whole-child development.
- Sustainable economic opportunity to support our communities, which included additional funding to promote and support national service.
- Solutions to address disparities and dismantle systemic racism across health, education, the economy, the environment, agriculture and more.
FoodCorps believes that school food is an integral part of our school system, our communities, and our economy. With the release of the FY 2022 budget, President Biden has the opportunity to reverse his predecessor’s mandate of harmful cuts to programs families and communities rely on, and invest in areas that can further support his administration’s priorities:
- Promote School Food in Child Well-Being: President Biden can build on congressional action to extend free school meals through the end of this academic year by making this move permanent. Free school meals for all ensure daily nourishment for kids at schools and yield lifelong return on investments for children’s educational outcomes.
- Address Family Food Security: Rising hunger and food insecurity have been a devastating outcome of the pandemic. President Biden can ensure households have access to a critical safety net by further supporting nutrition assistance programs, like SNAP, in his budget.
- Expand Food Education in Schools: Food educators support schools by delivering outdoor education in school gardens, supporting kids in these traumatic times with social-emotional learning, and helping kids and families access nourishing food. Increasing the number of food educators in schools also creates new job opportunities in communities hardest hit by the pandemic.
- Modernize Our Nation’s School Cafeterias: The pandemic has also exposed the need for more and better investment in our nation’s infrastructure. With schools projected to re-open in the fall, they need to find ways to safely produce and distribute healthy meals to kids — a daunting task for schools with outdated kitchens and cafeterias.
- Support Black and Other Farmers of Color: President Biden and his administration can restore opportunities for BIMPOC farmers, who have been historically ignored and denied assistance by the USDA. The administration can help strengthen economies and advance racial equity by providing BIMPOC farmers and producers access to consistent and stable markets, further supporting The American Rescue Plan’s $4 billion in direct debt relief to Black farmers.
With the Senate confirmed to move forward with child nutrition reauthorization this year, the Biden administration can leverage this moment and collectively push forward on these policy opportunities.
With the right federal priorities in place, FoodCorps believes we have the opportunity to further strengthen the state of our union — one that places focus on nourishing kids’ minds and bodies, and ensuring workers’ livelihoods, local economies, and the environment.
Together with communities, FoodCorps connects kids to healthy food in school so that every child—regardless of race, place, or class—gets the nourishment they need to thrive. Our AmeriCorps leaders transform schools into places where all students learn what healthy food is, care where it comes from, and eat it every day. Building on this foundation of direct impact, FoodCorps develops leaders, forges networks, and pursues policy reforms that in time have the potential to improve all of our nation’s 100,000 schools. For more information, visit foodcorps.org. The