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Joel Berg
Joel Berg is author of the book All You Can Eat: How Hungry Is America?. He is currently executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, a nationally-renowned service and advocacy nonprofit organization that represents New York City's 1,100 soup kitchens and food pantries, and serves as the voice for the 1.4 million food insecure New Yorkers. The Coalition runs a national AmeriCorps VISTA program, the Anti-Hunger & Opportunity Corps, as well as a national volunteerism initiative, Ending Hunger Through Citizen Service. The Nation called NYCCAH, "One of the leading direct service and advocacy organizations on hunger and poverty in the nation." Mr. Berg is also a Senior Fellow with the Center for American Progress.

Before joining the Coalition in 2001, Berg served for eight years in the Clinton Administration in senior executive service positions at USDA. For two years, he worked as USDA Community Coordinator of Community Food Security, a new position, in which he created and implemented the first-ever federal initiative to better enable faith-based and other nonprofit groups to fight hunger, bolster food security, and help low-income Americans move from poverty to self-sufficiency.

He was USDA Coordinator of Food Recovery and Gleaning the previous two years, working with community groups to increase the amount of food recovered, gleaned, and distributed to hungry Americans. Also while at the USDA, he served as Director of National Service, Director of Public Liaison, and as acting Director of Public Affairs and Press Secretary. From 1989 to 1993, he served as a policy analyst for the Progressive Policy Institute and a domestic policy staff member for the President-elect Bill Clinton’s transition team.

Berg has published widely on the topics of hunger, national and community service, and grassroots community partnerships. A native of Rockland County, NY, and a 1986 graduate of Columbia University, Berg now resides in Brooklyn. He is the past winner of the US Secretary of Agriculture’s Honor Award for Superior Service and the Congressional Hunger Center’s Mickey Leland National Hunger Fighter Award.

Entries by Joel Berg

It's About Power, Not Food: The True Causes of World Hunger

(4) Comments | Posted May 27, 2015 | 4:55 PM

Some of the world's most agriculturally abundant nations are also the hungriest.

Take India, for example. Last year, according to the Indian government's Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority India exported 30 million metric tons of food, worth $23 billion in U.S. dollars. That included...

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Economic Happy Talk and the Politics of Denial

(1) Comments | Posted September 11, 2014 | 4:52 PM

Democrats can't seem to get their message straight about the economy. Is it soaring because of the visionary leadership of President Obama or failing because of the intransigence of Congressional Republicans?

Their answer depends on the day.

Earlier this year, Obama stated: "Since I have come...

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Feed Our Student-Athletes (and Their Classmates, Too)

(0) Comments | Posted April 23, 2014 | 4:23 PM

Sports fans reacted with shock earlier this month when Shabazz Napier, a star of the University of Connecticut's national champion men's basketball team, told reporters that he wasn't always getting enough to eat.

"Sometimes, there's hungry nights where I'm not able to eat, but I still gotta play up to...

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The Myth of the Magic Billionaires

(8) Comments | Posted October 2, 2013 | 6:21 PM

Some myths, no matter how false, persist. Many still believe that President Obama was born in Kenya, that immunizations cause autism, or that Bigfoot stalks hikers.

And others, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, still believe in trickle-down economics, which preaches that increased wealth for billionaires will magically seep...

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The Farm Bill's Auspicious Death

(4) Comments | Posted July 10, 2013 | 8:43 AM

When the House of Representatives recently killed the Farm Bill, it put a final nail in the coffin of the old-school coalitions that passed such bills for decades. Good riddance.

The measure defeated by the House was dreadful for farmers, taxpayers, and consumers -- and even worse for hungry...

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Wealth vs. Poverty: The NYT's Underreporting of Poverty-related Issues

(21) Comments | Posted February 14, 2013 | 11:39 AM

Recently, the New York Times ran an entire, stand-alone, special section entitled "Wealth." The section focused on how the rich can become richer; through smart investment strategies, retirement savings and avoiding looming tax increases (for the wealthy). That the Times will devote an entire section to the topic of wealth,...

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Mr. President, Keep Your Child Hunger Pledge

(3) Comments | Posted December 5, 2012 | 5:27 PM

Low-income voters had the president's back. Now is the time for him to have theirs.

From 2008 through 2011, the U.S. poverty rate rose by 16 percent. A staggering 46 million Americans are now poor, a reality that Obama steadfastly avoided addressing in the campaign.

Yet, according...

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Racism, Dr. King, and Food Stamps

(4) Comments | Posted January 16, 2012 | 9:36 AM

Recent statements by Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, which implied that African Americans were uniquely dependent upon food stamps, were only the latest episodes in a decades-long effort by the American Right to demonize social programs by giving the false impression that they are only used...

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Food Stamps Soda Ban: The Wrong Way to Fight Obesity

(21) Comments | Posted December 6, 2010 | 10:04 AM

Well-heeled conservatives and progressives always seem to unite on one issue: dictating that poor people should behave more virtuously than they themselves do.

Having failed to implement soda taxes in many states, which would only harm the non-wealthy, elites on both the Left and Right are seeking to ban the...

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To Prove Bi-Partisanship, End U.S. Hunger

(2) Comments | Posted November 24, 2010 | 1:34 PM

In a land not too far away and a time not too long ago (in the United States, in the 1970's, actually), Republicans and Democrats worked together to solve major national problems.

The massive effort to fight domestic hunger was a prime example of this bi-partisan cooperation....

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Turning Food Deserts Into Jobs Oases

(0) Comments | Posted December 8, 2009 | 12:30 PM

This holiday season we note the sobering reality that more than 49 million Americans live in households that can't afford enough food. Locally, according to a new study by the organization that I manage, New York City Coalition Against Hunger, there was a 21% jump this year in people forced...

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Missouri Child Hunger Denier Believes Life Ends at Birth

(12) Comments | Posted June 23, 2009 | 12:52 PM

Missouri State Representative Cynthia Davis, lambasted by Keith Olbermann last night (June 22, 2009) as a "Worst person in the World" for opposing summer meals for low-income kids based on her belief that "hunger can be a positive motivator," is, ironically, one of Missouri's leading pro-life activists.

While the organization...

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Progressives Should Stop Carping and Start Fighting

(0) Comments | Posted January 16, 2009 | 10:47 AM

Now's the time for progressives to put our actions where our big mouths are.

Now that President-elect Obama and the House leadership have teamed up to propose a economic recovery package that is the most far-reaching piece of major domestic legislation in a generation, it's time for bloggers and grass-roots...

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Dr. King's Other Dream: Ending Poverty

(12) Comments | Posted January 8, 2009 | 4:25 PM

Dr. Martin Luther King had more than one dream.

Of course, King dreamt of racial reconciliation, and January 20th's inauguration of Barack Obama demonstrates the nation's enormous, albeit inconsistent and incomplete, racial progress.

King also called for making service to others a centerpiece of American life, saying "Everybody can be...

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Voter Fraud and Food Stamps Fraud: Two Favorite Conservative Myths

(5) Comments | Posted October 30, 2008 | 10:33 AM

While American conservatives are busy abandoning one principle after another, they are sticking to their guns on one tried and true unifying concern: shafting poor people.

Keeping to their mantra that poor people are always to blame for whatever ails the nation, conservatives won't let go of their obsessive...

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