How Food Banks are Advancing the Right to Food Movement
FOOD BANK NEWS – Two years ago, Maine introduced legislation that endeavored to do something that has never happened in the U.S. — formally recognize the human right to food. The bill proposed a ballot measure for voters to decide whether the state constitution should establish a right to food and “freedom from hunger.”
Unfortunately for the Maine Senate candidate who introduced the bill, Craig Hickman, and the measure’s supporters, the bill died in late 2020. But the effort marks the emergence of a movement to recognize the right to food in the U.S. From Maine, to West Virginia, to Washington state, anti-hunger advocates are championing the right to food, and foresee food banks playing an important role in getting it recognized.
The right to food captures the idea that all people should have access to sufficient food that is safe, nutritious, and culturally appropriate, and that the government ought to ensure that access. “It recognizes that the government has an obligation to make sure that everybody has physical and economic access to food,” said Christina Wong, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at Northwest Harvest, an independent food bank and the third largest in Washington state, according to Food Bank News’ listing of the top 100 food banks.