“A Fight Over Agriculture Secretary Could Decide the Direction of Hunger Policy”

12.03.2020

In response to The New York Time's article "A Fight Over Agriculture Secretary Could Decide the Direction of Hunger Policy."

To the Editor:

Having both worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for 8 years and headed an anti-hunger nonprofit for 19 years, I believe it's misguided to claim that the department needs to choose between better aiding rural America or more effectively fighting hunger.  The department can – and must – do both.

Many of the hungriest counties in the United States are rural. Moreover, one of the best ways to boost rural America is to enable more urban and suburban consumers to obtain affordable food directly from farmers and to bolster regional food processing. The department must also do much more to eliminate its long-embedded racism and to improve the lives of farm workers.  Given that diet- related diseases are now one of the top causes of early death in the U.S., USDA must prioritize improving nutrition for all Americans.

For the next USDA Secretary to be successful, she or he must implement bold anti-hunger, agriculture, nutrition, and job creation policies that significantly aid every part of the nation. USDA must work equally hard to ensure racial, economic, and food justice for all.

Sincerely,

Joel Berg
CEO, Hunger Free America