Highlights from the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health
How JBF contributed to this historic eventJBF Editors
September 29, 2022
On Wednesday, over 500 people gathered at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health to discuss achievable strategies to end hunger and reduce diet-related diseases by 2030. The James Beard Foundation participated in the conference and curated the meals, highlighting chefs who support their communities far beyond their dining rooms. The conference agenda was built around five pillars that are proven to result in meaningful change: (read more about the pillars in the White House's newly released strategy):
- Improve food access and affordability
- Integrate nutrition and health
- Empower all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices
- Support physical activity for all
- Enhance nutrition and food security research
The James Beard Foundation is committed to that fight, in no small part because of how directly it touches our industry: 16.6 percent of this country's 13 million restaurant workers and 30 percent of farm workers live in poverty. As CEO Clare Reichenbach stated during her remarks at the conference, “From farmers and farmworkers, to fishers and meat processors, to cooks, dishwashers, and cafeteria workers, we believe that all people who choose to work within our food system should be able to have successful, lifelong careers where their contributions and work are valued and allow them to never go hungry.”
In addition to direct advocacy, the Foundation has been training chefs to become advocates for their causes and communities, notably through our Chef Bootcamp for Policy and Change, established in 2012. For over a decade, hundreds of chef-advocates from the JBF community have successfully lobbied their local, state, and federal representatives to provide nutritious school meals, protect SNAP recipients, support American fisheries, reduce food waste, and fight for safer, more regenerative food production across the United States, among other efforts.
JBF also joins the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the Plant Based Foods Association, the Independent Restaurant Coalition, and James Beard Award winner Andrew Zimmern to call for chefs, restaurant owners, and operators to offer at least one plant-based or vegetarian option on their dinner menus. EWG will track and report progress on a quarterly basis. This commitment was highlighted by the White House among $8 billion in various commitments to end hunger and reduce diet-related disease that business, civic, academic, and philanthropic leaders made for the conference.
Thanks to the generosity of our partners Chobani, Google, Instacart, Kroger, and Oatly, attendees enjoyed dishes from Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership alum chef Adrian Lipscombe, James Beard Award nominees Crystal Wahpepah and Erik Bruner-Yang, and Ronald Reagan Building executive chef Houman Gohary. Read more about their dishes and their passion for sustainability and food systems changes below:
Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Alum Adrian Lipscombe, 40 Acres Project and Sweets & Grace
Smoked Barbecue Chicken; Collard Greens; Jalapeño Macaroni and Cheese; and Tea Cake
“To create a food system where everyone has access to nutritious, affordable, sustainable, and delicious food, I use my power as a chef to "bring people from all walks of life around the table to celebrate history, culture, and diversity. Becoming involved in national food policy as a chef will empower me to promote stronger communities and regional food systems that will encourage economic vitality, public health, ecological sustainability, social equity, and food sovereignty."
James Beard Aware Nominee Crystal Wahpepah, Wahpepah’s Kitchen
Three Sisters Veggie Bowl with Heirloom Corn, Quinoa, Squash, Tepary Beans, Greens, and Maple-Olive Oil Dressing; Braised Bison with Smoked Cedar Salt; and Heirloom Blue Cornbread with Mixed Berry Compote
“To create a food system where everyone has access to nutritious, affordable, sustainable, and delicious food, I use my power as a chef to understand the deep and potent role that food has in our lives. I use it as a bridge to connect others within the communities that are important at Wahpepah’s Kitchen, where we acknowledge the Indigenous inhabitants of the land upon which we currently live.”
James Beard Award Nominee Erik Bruner-Yang, Maketto
Roasted Cauliflower with Sesame Dressing; Plant-Based Chili with Rice and Soy Sauce Egg; Mochi Beignet with Lemon Glaze, featuring Oatly
“To create a food system where everyone has access to nutritious, affordable, sustainable, and delicious food, I use my power as a chef to connect communities by sharing our journeys through food.”
Host Chef Houman Gohary, Ronald Reagan Building
Ginger–Soy Plant-Based Tuna Poke on Butter Lettuce; Quinoa with Coriander Leaf and Pickled Ginger; Late-Summer Vegetables
“To create a food system where everyone has access to nutritious, affordable, sustainable, and delicious food, I use my power as a chef to introduce new foods and global flavors, prepare dishes using seasonal and local products, and educate others about the simplicity and joy of cooking whole foods.”
To optimize sustainability at the conference and highlight the central role of climate change mitigation to the overall strategy, lunch was served in reusable OXO lunchboxes that were gifted to attendees at the end of the day.
At the James Beard Foundation, we know that chefs are uniquely positioned to advocate for a better food system and nutrition security for all members of their communities, using their voice and their menu. Build your advocacy skills by joining us January 29-31 for the Chef Action Summit in Houston, Texas (registration information coming soon).
Food is on the ballot this November: the new Congress will be tasked with designing the 2023 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill regulates matters of food security, trade, energy, healthcare, and conservation, among others, that touch every element of food we grow, cook, and consume in this country. Make your voice heard around the issues that matter to you by voting.
See if you’re registered to vote here.
Learn more about our advocacy efforts and get updates on the upcoming Chef Action Summit by signing up for the Industry Support newsletter.
In compliance with our 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, the James Beard Foundation is a nonpartisan, non denominational, and unaffiliated organization.