A nutritious diet is pivotal for good health. It supports growth, productivity, and wellness, and it reduces the risk of diseases like diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. However, knowing what comprises a healthy diet is only part of the story—accessing and purchasing this food is another. In fact, healthy diets are unaffordable for more than 3 billion people worldwide (FAO). And for many, the nearest store or market with fresh, healthy foods may be out of geographic reach.
As champions of SDG2: Zero Hunger, food banks play a critical role in ending hunger and achieving food security and improved nutrition for all people by 2030. They also understand that a plate of healthy food may look different from one community to the next. Food banks are experts in recovery and distribution and understand the local contexts of their communities, so they serve as a bridge between dignified access to sufficient calories and healthy, culturally relevant diets.
Food banks strive to diversify the nutritious products they distribute to their communities. But their role in nutrition goes beyond offering product diversity; it also includes promoting healthy dietary choices through nutrition education and adhering to the highest food safety standards.
Here are just a few ways that GFN member food banks are addressing nutrition:
Foodbank Western Australia’s school feeding programs demonstrate an innovative approach to tackling child hunger by providing meals, as well as hands-on nutrition education to children in vulnerable situations across the region. The programs include school breakfasts, nutrition education, and cooking classes.
As more food banks establish or expand their nutrition policies, we’re investing in this area of our work, too. We provide both global and regional nutrition resources that are customized for local contexts; for example: