Leveraging the Power of Disruption for Low Income America

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It’s an exciting time for those of us working in hunger. Both new research and recent disruption in the private sector market have set up a host of new opportunities with the promise to upend not only the retail industry, but also some of the access challenges plaguing low income communities in need of more – and better – food options.

Surely you’ve heard that Amazon scooped up Whole Foods, setting up potential for new and different grocery delivery.

Then Nestle sold off its candy division in a play to shift the company’s work and reputation toward its healthier offerings.

Now the New Food Economy reports that consuming more fruits and vegetables is the leading path to reducing heart disease, according to a new study by Tufts University.

We’ve always known that eating our vegetables was good for us. We now know it’s likely that a 10 percent subsidy for fruits and vegetables “would result in more than 150,000 prevented or postponed” deaths due to cardiovascular disease by 2030.

The disruption in the private-sector market, coupled with both mounting market demand for healthier food options and new research on the power of produce, sets up a world of possibility – and a world of responsibility. We now have the burden of knowledge, and it falls on the shoulders of many.

Food banks must increase distribution of produce and other health-sustaining foods, and continue to forge partnerships with the private sector on delivery and other access models.

And private sector companies must recognize the pivotal role they can and must play in the health of low income America by stepping up and step into the food desert breech.

Rarely has the opportunity to bring new solutions to the old problem of hunger been so clear. We must together rise to meet it.