Food Equity

Ensuring Food Equity: Helping Families Find Affordable, Healthy Food

Every family in America should have access to good food - food that is nutrient dense, sustainable, high-quality and culturally relevant.

Mom and daughter eating apple At PHA, we believe that there is no true equity in society without health equity, and that there is no health equity without food equity. Our vision is for every family in the United States to have affordable access to good food. This is food equity.

Unfortunately, some Americans have access to an abundance of good food while more than 38 million other Americans, primarily those with low-income and people of color, live somewhere that good food is either too hard to reach, too expensive, or the produce for sale is scarce or nonexistent. As a result, millions suffer from preventable, diet-related diseases with devastating and expensive personal, family, community and national consequences.

PHA envisions a world where every person has a fair chance at education, employment and well-being - each supported by access to good food. There is no true equity in society without health equity; there is no health equity without food equity.

Why Food Equity is Important

Too many communities have limited access to healthy, affordable food and an overabundance of access to cheap, highly processed food. A USDA report released in June of 2021 found that 88% of families participating in SNAP faced barriers to eating good food over the course of the month. The most common barrier was price. Families said they could not afford the foods that are recommended as part of a balanced diet. A lack of affordable good food had the largest impact on whether or not families were food insecure.

Food is both a primary contributor to poor health and an essential tool for preventing, slowing, or, in some cases, reversing the development of diet-related disease. Ten food categories - eating too much or too little - are at the root of nearly half of US deaths from heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes each year.

Food equity graph from Tufts

Source: Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy

Only when all Americans have access to high-quality, nutrient-dense foods on a consistent and affordable basis will we be able to end food insecurity and its companion problems - obesity and diet-related disease.

We must work together to improve affordable access to good food - food equity - or else families in communities across America will continue to experience the harmful impacts that a diet lacking in essential nutrients brings.

What PHA is doing to improve Food Equity

At PHA, we know that good food is the foundation for the things we value most, like education, jobs, health and equity. That’s why we’re taking action to transform our food system every day through our programs and partnerships, all in pursuit of food equity.

  1. Through programs like Pass the Love and Good Food for All, PHA helps provide fruits and vegetables to families who lack affordable access to good foods.

  2. We seek out, incorporate, and elevate the voices of families who lack access to good food to leaders in their community and in business, and PHA’s programs.

  3. PHA works with companies, other nonprofits (including more than 50 food banks), foundations and civic society to close the gaps in our food system to meet the demand for good food that we know is there.

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