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2023 Food Access and Nutrition Security Legislative Agenda

Father and daughter grocery shopping

Background

Voices empowers children, youth, and families disproportionately impacted by inequitable outcomes as agents in the creation of policy solutions to ignite change in their communities. Through our direct engagement with youth advocates and hearing from the professionals serving families, Voices embraces a variety of perspectives to create trauma-informed and healing centered spaces for advocates to share their stories and reconcile trauma through systems change.

For far too long, policies in our country and Commonwealth have perpetuated racism interpersonally, institutionally, and systemically, known as structural racism. The impact of historical racism and trauma show up in disparities in access and outcomes, including income and wealth, educational opportunities, and health. Our young people today still face the impact of historical racism within the systems they encounter and the communities they live. To ensure all children in Virginia have the opportunity to thrive despite race, geography or income, we must focus on the root causes that have produced inequitable distribution of resources, eliminate barriers to fair and equal participation and dismantle social and institutional biases.


Food Access and Nutrition Security

Young people can learn and thrive when they are fed and have access to healthy and nutritious foods.

While significant efforts to improve food security have been in place during the pandemic — such as expanded SNAP benefits, Pandemic EBT, and universal school meals — one in ten children in Virginia are considered food insecure and may face hunger. Policy solutions must include increasing economic access to nutritious, healthy, and culturally appropriate foods by investing in retail infrastructure and initiatives to combat areas of food insecurity.

Food Access and Nutrition Security Priorities

  1. Preserve funding in the budget to help local school divisions eliminate the cost of breakfast and lunch for students who are eligible for reduced-price school meals.
  2. Preserve funding in the budget for Virginia Fresh Match, which ensures access to healthy and nutritious foods and boosts the buying power of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for fruits and vegetables at farmers markets and food stores.
  3. Support proposals to fund Universal School Meals to ensure that children have access to school breakfast and lunch at no cost.

Voices is a member of the Virginia Food Access Coalition (VFAC).

For more information, contact Emily Moore.