Solutions Blog

Partners gather to increase access to food for low-income Minnesotans

August 09, 2013

Katie Bauer
Minnesota Department of Human Services

At the conference:
Jill Martinez
Hunger Solutions

PDF version of news release

For the second year, the Food Access Summit, Aug. 13 to 15 in Duluth, Minn., will continue to explore, expand and engage attendees in the discussion of food insecurity in Minnesota, focusing on the challenges of food access; sustainable production; and individual, community and government collaboration.

The 2013 summit will help develop leaders; provide food policy tools, training and action-oriented ideas; organize and mobilize participants to support local, state and national improvement efforts for low-income individuals and families.

“Last year’s summit was a great launching point for so many organizations in the private sector to join together to ensure hungry Minnesotans gain access to the food they need to put nutritious meals on their table each day,” said Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson, who will be speaking at the event Wednesday, Aug. 14.

“Since that time, we have partnered with other organizations to increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) outreach efforts to Latino communities, provided food to hungry summer school students and their families, offered coupons for fresh produce to SNAP participants, worked with farmers markets to increase the use of SNAP benefits and increased access to food through mobile food shelves,” she said. “We want to continue efforts like these by building on existing work and generating new ideas at this, and every, Food Access Summit.”

The 2013 summit includes presentations by featured speakers Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon; Dr. Ricardo J. Salvador, Food and Environment Program director and senior scientist of the Union of Concerned Scientists; Mark Winne, community food activist and writer; Pakou Hang, co-founder and executive director the Hmong American Farmers Association; and Nevada Littlewolf, director of the Rural and American Indian Leaders Project.

A variety of breakout workshops and panels will be available for attendees over the three-day summit. Dr. Salvador will address the question, “How much food is too much?” in his presentation, “Food Utopia from Food Dystopia: What Needs to Happen?” Hang and Littlewolf will share insights on what it takes to lead in the food policy arena during an interactive Women’s Leadership workshop.

A statewide effort, this year welcomes new and veteran sponsors, including the Minnesota Department of Human Services, AARP, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Emergency Foodshelf Network, Greater Twin Cities United Way, Hunger Solutions Minnesota, Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Department of Education, Minnesota Foodshare, Minnesota Department of Health, Second Harvest Heartland, Twin Cities Hunger Initiative and the University of Minnesota Extension. Many sponsors are also partners in the Nutritious Food Coalition, launched in 2012 by Lt. Gov. Prettner Solon.

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