Will taxing sugar-sweetened beverages help feed Rhode Islanders?

On Feb. 24, ‘Examining Food Insecurity in Rhode Island’ will explore solutions to Rhode Island’s hunger problem

Media Contact: Dawn Bergantino, 401-874-4147 |

KINGSTON, R.I. –Feb. 16, 2021 — On the heels of its most recent Rhode Island Food System Summit, the University of Rhode Island, together with the Rhode Island Public Health Institute and Grow Smart Rhode Island, will host a follow-on event Wednesday, Feb. 24, from 10 a.m. to noon, that will examine the causes of Rhode Island’s high rates of food insecurity.

Examining Food Insecurity in Rhode Island will feature two virtual panels designed to explore potential methods to help alleviate this growing public health problem. Panel One will examine whether a 1.5 cent per ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages used as a funding mechanism enabling SNAP recipients to receive a 50% reduction on the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables in retail grocery stores might serve to address food insecurity in Rhode Island by helping recipients stretch their food budgets further.

Panel Two will look at issues of equity related to food access and transportation, highlighting current challenges, past successes and how equitable public transit can play a role in ensuring all Rhode Islanders have access to healthy food.

WHO:   The Rhode Island Food Center at the University of Rhode Island, together with the Rhode Island Public Health Institute and Grow Smart Rhode Island.

WHAT:  Examining Food Insecurity in Rhode Island

                        Panel One: Sugar Sweetened Beverage Taxes as a Funding                                               Mechanism for the Retail SNAP Incentive Program

                        Panel Two: Food Access & Transportation: An Equity Intersection

WHEN:    Wednesday, February 24, 2021,  10 a.m. – noon

WHERE:   Examining Food Insecurity in Rhode Island will be held virtually. Advance registration is required.