One of the biggest challenges when it comes to tackling food insecurity in Missouri is understanding why it exists. On the surface, it seems counter-intuitive. Our unemployment rates are usually below the national average and our farmers are second to none when it comes to feeding the world. So why is Missouri’s food insecurity rate so often above the national average?

The answers are elusive. That’s why a concerted effort to find answers is so welcome and necessary. Bringing together experts from a variety of fields to closely examine the factors that contribute to Missouri’s hunger problem is a vital step towards solving the problem.

Such a proposal exists right now in the Missouri General Assembly. Senate Bill 441 and House Bill 597 would create the “Missouri Food Insecurity Task Force.” This group would be comprised of leaders from agriculture, food banks, business, academia, government, and other key areas with the purpose of examining hunger in Missouri, its causes, and potential solutions.

This is a no-brainer.

As we have outlined in this space before, food insecurity remains a troubling and persistent problem in Missouri. It is as problematic in rural areas as it is in our urban centers. Food Insecurity Task Forces are common in many other states. It’s simply a commitment to bring smart people to the table with the shared goal of understanding why some Missourians don’t have enough to eat.

We have long believed that the answers to Missouri’s hunger problems can be found here in Missouri. Missourians are resilient and compassionate. No one wants to see their neighbors struggle with putting food on the table. People across the political spectrum agree on this.

That’s why it’s time to pass these bills and get down to business on solving Missouri’s hunger problem. It can be done, if we make it a priority and the creation of the Missouri Food Insecurity Task Force is an important step in that direction. Please contact your state lawmaker today and encourage them to support this commonsense legislation.