Topics: Advocacy, News, Press

Assembly Committee Says California Needs to End Hunger

Sacramento, CA – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Western States Council, GRACE/End Child Poverty California, and the California Food and Farming Network applauded the Assembly Agriculture Committee for passing AB 1961 (Wicks), which will develop, for the first time in state history, a strategic masterplan to end hunger in California. 

“California is the nation’s fifth-largest food supplier, yet the agriculture workers who grow our food and the grocery workers who sell our food go hungry,” said Amber Parrish, executive director, UFCW Western States Council. “In Fresno, one of the top agriculture producers nationwide, over 20% of residents live in food deserts and cannot easily access fresh, affordable food. AB 1961 will establish a broadly inclusive task force that will tackle the inequalities that exist in our current food system, and ensure our agricultural workers and grocery workers can put fresh, healthy, culturally relevant food on their table each night.”

“Sadly ironic, hunger is felt disproportionately across people that work in the food and farming system,” said Beth Smoker, Policy Director, California Food and Farming Network. “Food workers face higher levels of food insecurity than the rest of the U.S. workforce with 72% of agricultural workers reporting trouble paying for food, 62% of small farmers experienced food insecurity in a survey of 120 CA farmers, and over three-quarters of workers at a large grocery chain were found to be food insecure. We have a lot of work to do if the people growing, harvesting, and serving our food cannot put adequate food on their own tables and AB 1961 is one important step toward correcting these inequities.”

“Nutrition programs are proven as some of the most effective at helping lift children and families out of poverty, by making sure families have the resources to purchase groceries and take pressure off rent, utilities and other basic needs,” said Shimica Gaskins, President & CEO, GRACE/End Child Poverty California. “Despite recent progress California still has work to do to maximize and augment the federal nutrition programs, including the Summer EBT program, the first new entitlement in a generation. We also saw recently the shameful but predictable rise in food insecurity from the end of many pandemic era expansions that drove hunger to historic lows. The time is now for a comprehensive plan to ensure access to food and build pathways out of poverty through California’s vital food and farming economy.”

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April 24, 2024

Contact: Jenna Thompson, UFCW Western States Council, 949.246.1620, [email protected]