Advocates pushing for creation of “Food Bill of Rights” to help guide policy decisions

NATION — The Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution guarantees several rights like owning a gun and freedoms of religion and speech.

Now there’s a new movement to establish a different set of values.

“If national security has been based on being able to think about the rights to bear arms, well how are we arming ourselves with good nutrition and education, and healthy access to food in our country,” said Tambra Raye Stevenson, CEO of Women Advancing Nutrition, Dietetics and Agriculture (WANDA).

Stevenson is one of the women behind the push for a national “Food Bill of Rights.”  She said this effort would help guide food policy decisions and programs at the state and federal levels.

“Do we believe that everyone should have access to good food? Do we believe that there should be an eradication of division of who has good food, who does not?” she explained.

The effort also comes as new USDA data shows 13.5 million households were food insecure last year alone and for many minorities, hunger isn’t the only health concern.

“Right now, we’re having our zip codes predict our life expectancy over our genetic code - that is a result of structural barriers,” said Stevenson.

Stevenson said creating a “Food Bill of Rights” goes beyond adding more grocery stores. She said it’s about shifting how we all participate in the food system.

“Making sure we have quality nutrition education, nutrition dietetic professionals as well as equipping them to connect with everyday food retailers and farmers that are growing the foods that really keep us as a healed nation,” she said.

Stevenson said she’s planning to discuss the “Food Bill of Rights” at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health next week.

You can learn more about the “Food Bill of Rights” here.