Joel Berg is a nationally recognized leader, and media spokesperson in the fields of domestic hunger, food insecurity, obesity, poverty, food-related economic development, national service, and volunteerism. He is executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger and a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. He is also author of All You Can Eat: How Hungry Is America?, the definitive and most well-reviewed book on American hunger of the last decade. Since 2001, Berg has led the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, which represents the more than 1,100 nonprofit soup kitchens and food pantries in New York City and the nearly 1.5 million low-income New Yorkers who live in households that cannot afford enough food. The Coalition works not only to meet these residents’ immediate food needs but also to enact innovative solutions to help society move “beyond the soup kitchen” to self-sufficiency. The Coalition recently launched pilot national service projects in 17 states from coast to coast, making the work of the organization national in scope.
Prior to his work with the Coalition, Berg served for eight years in the Clinton Administration in senior executive service positions at USDA. For two years, he acted as USDA 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 out of poverty. Berg has published widely on the topics of hunger, national and community service, and grassroots community partnerships, including recent papers on childhood hunger and poverty, obesity, and practical solutions to end hunger as a Visiting Fellow for the Center for American Progress. He has also recently published papers on creating food jobs and other topics for the Progressive Policy Institute. A native of Rockland County, NY, and a 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 (one of the Department’s highest honors) and the Congressional Hunger Center’s Mickey Leland National Hunger Fighter Award.