Notes from the Field


2022 Hunger Elimination Task Force Year in Review

Policy Recommendations For Rhode Island's Food System 2023-2030

Dear Hunger Elimination Task Force (HETF) Community, 

In 2022, many Rhode Islanders felt the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic ease. But for residents experiencing food insecurity and the organizations trying to support them, relief never came. Inflation, gas and food prices rose just as pandemic-era benefits like the Child Tax Credit, universal school meals, and American Rescue Plan Act dollars were declined. Few working in food systems were surprised when the RI Community Food Bank’s 2022 Status Report on Hunger indicated a growing demand for food assistance and increased levels of food insecurity. 

Just as it became abundantly clear that food access is not just about food, we learned that ensuring nutrition security for all Rhode Islanders also requires a holistic approach. The members of the Hunger Elimination Task Force represent our state’s most promising solutions. Across Rhode Island, partners in the HETF network are developing, scaling, and sharing innovative programs that feed both people and their broader community. In 2022, we heard from organizations using school based programs to nourish entire families, turning community gardens into spaces for food sovereignty and economic empowerment, and leveraging our healthcare system to support nutrition at every age. Many state nutrition benefit programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), will launch innovative updates like healthy retail incentives, expanded delivery services, electronic farmers market benefits, and programs that promote locally produced and harvested foods

In 2023, our network will be engaged to support an update to the Relish Rhody Food strategy, a statewide food security plan, and the implementation of millions of dollars of investment in local purchasing incentives. We will continue to leverage the knowledge and lessons learned in our small state to advocate for changes at the federal level through the 2023 Farm Bill process and opportunities presented by the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health.

We are grateful to all HETF partners who have shown up to the meetings and workgroups, and who serve as our eyes and ears on the ground, helping our network to harvest innovative ideas and make meaningful connections. 

As facilitators of this incredible group of students, educators, healthcare workers, food producers, community members and program leaders, we are grateful to you all for showing up and sharing your experiences, skills, knowledge and your valuable time. We hope you were able to take time to rest and recharge over the holidays to continue our collective impact work in 2023!